Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lifelong learning at the touch of a key

Did you know you can take classes right in the comfort of your own home from schools such as Yale University or the USC Thornton School of Music? And many of them don't cost a dime. Welcome to iTunes U.

You can go into iTunes, enter the iTunes store and then iTunes U. You can now browse the great array of classes available to you through iTunes U. Classes cover just about anything you can imagine.

Have you always wanted to play the piano? You can take free video online piano lessons. Do you work in the field of youth counseling services? There is a lecture discussing the prevention of conduct problems in at-risk youth. Or how about a class on endangered sea turtles from the University of New England? Maybe you've heard about the best selling book, Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell and want to know more about it. There are audio book reviews available. Some of the classes offered are video classes. Others are audio.

My initial thought might be that I could download these onto my iPod and listen to a class whenever I a car, on an airplane, or maybe while sitting in the jury duty assembly room. But I was also thinking about other possibilities.

What about people recovering from an illness or surgery who are confined at home? Daytime TV gets pretty mundane after awhile. And home schoolers can study astronomy, physics or biology via a high school science video class on their laptops. Do you want to study about Italian history before you take a trip to Florence? How about using the classes to brush up on a subject you'll be tested on for entry into a new job field? The possibilities are endless.


P.S. Once you enter iTunes, make sure when you "search" you specify "iTunes U" under the "Results" dropdown menu. That way you won't get iTunes songs mixed into the classes that come up in your specific search.

Photo: Daniel Wiedemann/

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