Apple Announces Major Update to iTunes U App with Creation, Discussion Features for iPad

In a press release, Apple today announced version 2.0 of iTunes U for iOS, which will launch on July 8 and introduce new creation and discussion features for teachers and students on the iPad. In the update, teachers will be able to “create, edit and manage entire courses directly on iPad for the first time”, while students will “have everything they need to fully collaborate with their classmates and teachers”.

The new in-app updates to iTunes U give teachers full course creation capabilities on iPad, with the ability to directly add rich content and learning materials from iWork, iBooks Author or any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad. Taking advantage of the built-in camera on iPad, teachers can also capture photos and videos to incorporate real-world subject matter into any course, making relevant content available to all students in an instant.

Apple quoted Fraser Speirs, who rolled out the world's first 1:1 iPad program at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland, previously featured by Apple.

“iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad,” said Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland. “By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.”

With iTunes U 2.0, students will get a new Discussion area in the app to discuss topics with classmates, set up notifications for specific topics and replies, and interact with teachers, who will be able to act as moderators in the private forums.

iTunes U for iPad was originally launched in January 2012. Over 750,000 individual learning materials are available in the iTunes U app, and educators can create iTunes U courses in 69 countries.