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iTunes U is one of my favorite educational tools. It boasts a high quality storage space, that allows for quick downloads, and easy communication. This well known tool over went an update a few weeks back, and I want to make sure you are in the loop with these changes.

Since iTunes U came out, they have been trying to compete with other LMS's such as Schoology, and Edmodo. They consistently fell short because they lacked one key feature, grading. The recent updates answer that, and much more! I will highlight a few of the ground shifting changes that have taken effect.
  • Grade Book
    • The update now allows you to quickly create assignments, and collect and grade them on the fly. You have a sleek, easy to use dashboard that displays each individual turn in by your students, allowing you to quickly scan for completion, then dive into the work to grade.
  • Annotations
    • This is by far my favorite feature. Before this, you would need to give students a link to a PDF, have them download it, then open it in notability, then fill in their work, then convert it back to a PDF, then hand it in to you. That's a lot of steps! Now you can attach your PDF to the assignment, and have students fill in, and turn in their work right within iTunes U. There is no more navigating in and out. Quick, easy, and slick!
  • File Collection
    • You as the teacher have the ability to make any assignment open to collect any file type. Since this is an apple product, you have the ability to preview, and grade Keynote, Numbers, and Pages files right within iTunes U. This makes grading fast, and easy for you as you don't have to go in and out.
  • Private Conversations
    • Apps such as Classflow, allow you to message individual student, as if you were a 1 on 1 tutor. This is not a foundational feature in iTunes U. Message students regarding late work, answer homework questions, or simply clarify an answer.
The goal of all these new updates is two fold. First, to become a formidable LMS within the apple driven school districts. I can tell you, that these changes are certainly in the right direction, and demonstrate the promise and forward thinking of the apple engineers. Second, to make your mobile device as powerful, or more powerful, than your computer. Again, these updates allow your iPad to take over your grading, assignment creation, and communication purposes just as easy as if you were on your computer.