Gone are the days when iPods were strictly limited to playing music. Since iTunes launched iTunes U in 2007, iTunes and iPods have become powerful tools for community college students, teachers, and lifelong learners of all ages. Students can select from a wide variety of video and audio lectures to download and then play these lectures on their computers, iPods, or other mp3 players.
Best of all, all iTunes U content is available to the public free of charge. You may not have realized it, but your iPod can become a learning resource that will improve your grades
at community college!
ITunes U, which Apple
describes as “possibly the world’s greatest collection of free educational media,” is a section of the iTunes store in which research universities, four-year colleges, and community colleges can post audio and video files. Apple’s website lists the current number of audio and video educational files at over 200,000, and the number continues to grow as more and more colleges begin podcasting their most popular courses.
iTunes U and Community Colleges
Community colleges are rapidly joining the ranks of iTunes U participating institutions – and with good reason. Community college students often work in addition to going to school, and the ability to make learning more mobile
is often highly coveted. A recent article in Community College Week
noted that although it is unlikely that a community college will have the funds to give every student an iPod as Duke University did in Fall 2004, some community colleges have begun stocking iPods in their libraries so that students can borrow them.
How Your iPod Can Make You Smarter
If your community college is one of the many institutions participating in iTunes U, you may be able to download audio or video versions of lectures you’ve attended so that you can review material at your own pace. You may even decide to preview lectures from courses for which you are considering registering. However, even if your community college is not yet a part of iTunes U, you can still use the power of iTunes and your iPod to supplement and enhance your educational experience.
Use Your Preferred Learning Style
Many students find that they learn better when they can see or hear information, rather than when they read it in a book. For such audio or visual learners, listening to or watching a lecture on iTunes U can be a valuable way to supplement the knowledge you gain from reading your course textbooks.
Gain a World-Class Education from the Comfort of Your Home
Some of the most prestigious universities in the world have thriving iTunes U websites. Anyone with an internet connection can download lectures and other course materials from schools such as Stanford, MIT, Yale, Duke, and Cornell. Try browsing around the iTunes U home pages for these institutions. Chances are that you’ll find a course that is related to your current studies and that can provide your education with an added boost.
Brush Up on the Basics
Many students also turn to iTunes U to find lectures on topics or skills in which they feel they need a refresher course. Pennsylvania’s Harrisburg Area Community College
, for example, offers a series of videos on grammatical issues, such as using commas appropriately and understanding the difference between commonly confused words. Students can pick and choose among these videos to target the areas of their writing that they want to improve.
Learn a Second Language
instructors often tell their students that the best way to learn a foreign language is to try to gain as much exposure to the language as possible. Search the iTunes podcast directory for free podcasts in the language you are learning. Many of these podcasts are only 10 or 15 minutes in length, and you can easily enhance your language learning during your morning commute.
Listen to Audiobooks
If there is a classic work of fiction that you’ve always meant to read, you may be able to find a free audio version of the text that you can download to your iPod and listen to at your convenience. LibriVox
is one of several websites that offers free audio versions of books that are in the public domain. Downloading one of these books to your iPod or other mp3 player can be a great way to broaden your literary horizons.
Stay Informed About Current Events
While you’re exploring iTunes and the many ways that it can help you achieve your academic and personal learning goals, make sure to check out the number of free, high-quality podcasts available through the iTunes store. The New York Times
, for example, offers a number of regularly updated podcasts
on current events, world news, book reviews, and the business world, among other topics.
There has never been a better time to be a student. No matter your educational background or life circumstances, if you have a computer with Internet access, you can gain access to a wealth of educational resources that will enhance your learning, boost your grades, and enrich your life.