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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Collaborating with TASA and iTunes U for free course content

Four Mansfield ISD teachers are in Austin this week for the SXSWedu Conference and Festival to share presentations and help announce an initiative of the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) to help train teachers to create course content for iTunes U.

The following Mansfield ISD teachers participated in the project launch with TASA: (pictured above from L-R) Michael Fore, pre-calculus teacher, Summit HS; Chrissy Boydstun, English teacher, Mansfield HS; Catherine McGuinness, social studies teacher, Legacy HS; and Jessica Crain, chemistry teacher, Timberview HS.

TASA joins iTunes U, offering free course content to transform Texas teaching, learning
The Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) today announced the launch of TASA on iTunes U to help transform Texas teaching and learning by providing course content for classroom teachers in the four core subject areas of mathematics, science, social studies and English language arts.

With more than 1 billion downloads, iTunes U is the world's largest online catalog of free educational content that helps educators create courses, including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and syllabi. iTunes U is made available at no cost by Apple. The courses created by TASA will be available not only to Texas schools but also to millions of iOS users around the world.

The exponential increase of iPad implementations in Texas school districts (including MISD's high school iPad implementation this year), coupled with the need for educators to redesign instruction that empowers students, facilitates their understanding, and creates engaging experiences, prompted TASA to launch this initiative.

In the first phase of this initiative, to be completed by June 1, TASA on iTunes U will provide course content for a set of 18 high school courses that are fully aligned to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), free and accessible anywhere. This content — designed by teachers, for teachers — will foster creativity, collaboration and critical thinking skills in an engaging, digitally rich learning environment for Texas students, with special emphasis on high priority learning standards.

“I use iTunes U as a platform for teaching my courses and I love the way it offers a road map of what we will be doing in class but also gives students resources at their fingertips to facilitate learning,” said Mansfield High School teacher Chrissy Boydstun.

Last week, Apple announced that their iTunes U content topped one billion downloads. (That's billion with a "b.")

Earlier today, TASA shared a link to course content via Twitter that our teachers helped develop:

A total of 58 classroom teachers and content specialists, across 14 Texas school districts, are collaborating with TASA in the course and content development. TASA on iTunes U will make it easy for teachers to find and include high quality digital content from the App Store, iBookstore, and iTunes Store, as well as videos and other web based sources that align with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.