Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Connect. Collaborate. Risk. Innovate.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Collaborating with Apple Canada: Creating iTunes University Courses

Before: Pristine Agenda
After: Numerous scribbled notes!
     Typically, as teachers, we are bombarded with a wide variety of prospects for professional development. But recently, one of these numerous emails caught my eye: an opportunity, along with some of my Surrey School District colleagues, to collaborate with Apple Canada to create a course for iTunes University. And so, for the past two days, I have been immersed in learning an entirely new skill set. My experience on Day 1 was analogous to the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In other words, the learning didn't initially come easy!

     Overwhelmed and befuddled by the immensity of the task at hand, I couldn't quite wrap my head around the wealth of technical and detailed information that was being presented by the immensely talented and helpful Apple support staff. However, as endless resources and procedures were rattled off, I gradually began to digest and process the information. We were carefully led through the steps to first register as an iTunes U instructor, creating a profile and description of our course. For me, English 8. Then, we began to familiarize ourselves with the features of the iTunes U Course Manager.
     By the end of Day 1, I had begun to construct an Outline for my course, first in a Word Document and then eventually transferring this information onto the Course Manager site. Ultimately, the goal is to link valuable digital resources to each aspect of the Course Outline. As well, each aspect must connect to a specific Prescribed Learning Outcome. Speaking for myself, it has been a good many years since I have taken a close look at the PLOs for Language Arts.
      By Day 2, what began as an insurmountable task, became an exciting and somewhat addicting scavenger hunt for resources and materials to support my course. Luckily, having already begun the journey of integrating digital learning into my classes this year, I had experimented with various Apps, such as iMovie, iBooks, iBook Author, Puppet Pals and Book Creator. I am supplementing these resources with links to sites such as freerice.com and Quizlet as well as with my own activities and assignments. Fuelled by good food, much coffee and the support of my colleagues, I managed to complete a good chunk of my course by the end of Day 2, and even loaded a preview of my course onto my iTunes U book shelf. What a great feeling of accomplishment!
The lounge at Apple Canada in Richmond.
     I will have the opportunity to meet again, for two additional days, towards the end of August with Apple and Surrey District staff to trouble shoot any issues and continue to build my course. The intention is to submit it for approval and publication on iTunes U by the end of September. Despite the immense amount of work that needs to be done between now and then, I am grateful that through this collaborative Pro D opportunity, I am well on my way to developing a new and exciting set of skills that will not only be of benefit to my students, but ultimately to teachers and students worldwide!
My colleagues hard at work on Day 2.
Below is a video that provides an overview of my English 8 iTunes U course:

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