Day 28 – Updating and iTunes U

Day 28 – Updating and iTunes U

iTunes U is a fantastic way in which to create courses and differentiate the curriculum for pupils. As our school is small with job shares and part time staff, you may think that it is not worth investing time in this method of delivering the curriculm. But, it is an ideal way to ensure that the teachers are catering for all the learners.

  • iTunes U is a powerful, collaborative teaching tool which allows students to personalise their learning.
  • Students can access it on multi devices
  • Work can be seen at the convenience of student or teacher.
  • General or personalised discussions with tutors or between students.
  • Link multi media assignments  with ebooks, podcasts, time specified videos, text, note taking ability, grading if desired…

I could go on so what’s the drawback?  The whole school needs to be on board and commit to this method of delivery for it to truly succeed.

Why I have chosen to introduce iTunes U.
As a catalyst for change it enables the preparation of inspirational resources whilst enabling an institution to reach learners at their own level. Providing achievable differentiation with graded tasks being handed in is possible to achieve a holistic approach to work flow
So far,  the computing courses are the only ones available to the children but as a advocate of digital fluency, it’s important to my role to model good practice in the classroom & for others to see its influence and effectiveness. The reason why it may not be taken up quickly in schools’ is the initial overwhelming amount of text on the page. Any future updates to iTunes U I feel, would benefit from a little more of an image friendly interface. Perhaps icons depicting the inevitable imperative verbs of watch, read, write so that younger users are encouraged to navigate posts easily.
I have one cautionary warning, if your school has a set of managed iPads under the newest Apple iD free version, then enrolling onto a course means that you have to create a generic Apple iD for your learners to access to course.
So how well have the courses been received in class today? 
Year 5&6 – the pupils were excited (and slightly impressed) that they could view their whole years course at one go. For all you teachers that have just fainted at the thought of that… the course  doesn’t have to be populated by all your resources at the beginning. With a skeleton of the LO’s written in as posts, I like to work a half term in advance, which also allows me time to source rich content for my learners. As they develop, so does my choice of resources which is the flexibility that I require to be an effective teacher. It also allows those who are keen to look ahead and perhaps dabble in areas that take their interest…remembering that I have the ability not to release tasks until I am ready ensures that I have control on pace and exposure to the learning materials.
Year 3&4 – the pupils reacted with their usual acceptance in seeing the course. They did need additional guidance through locating posts but allowing the time to learn new procedures and discover new ways of working is essential to moving on in our mindset and not, in my mind, wasted time. The pupils are used to Showbie, so the fact that they could download their resources quickly was not new. However, the fact that they could chose the level of demand of their task was. This is the area that will reap the highest benefits, as the pupils develop their self confidence and begin to push the boundaries of what they expect of themselves, this will be the true measure of progress and self evaluation. Learning with no limits is achievable.
Year 1&2 – the course has been built specifically to allow the youngest students to participate but I’ll have to update you on the success if this as it is not as yet been trialled.
What Have I used in the classroom today?
1. iTunes U – introduced the computing aspects of the curriculum (see above)
2. Explain Everything – to illustrate how to make a net of a 3D shape with voice overs and video excerpts for additional tutorials.
3. Notes – to support writing a recount text to reinforce algorithms with inexperienced pupils with no prior knowledge of the under pinning skills now required by the computing curriculum.
4. Book Creator – to gather together the self assessments of the children’s Shang Dynasty games, referencing how to improve and the sticking points encountered by the pupils.
5. Flashcards – to make a collaborative class set of cards based on 2D and 3D shapes.
Flashcards [⁛] by NKO Ventures, LLC
6. Beebot – first steps into programming to reinforce algorithms

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