iTunes U — Learning outside the classroom

As I was making my education blog rounds, I stumbled upon Alexander Russo’s This Week in Education and took a lesson on iTunes U, which launched last spring.Basically, it’s a bunch of free podcasts and videos from colleges, universities and educational organizations around the world, covering a wide range of topics. They offer lessons and awesome explosions (the chemistry section is where it’s at!), and get this — they’re free! Who says nothing in life is free?Apple offers an introduction to iTunes U.So, as a perk of my job and the blog-writing it entails, I spent some time browsing through the videos and I found some sweet ones. All I’m saying is that it’d get me learning again. Now, you can browse by category (anything from literature to language, teaching and education to health and medicine) or by university. So, obviously, I checked to see if KU or the old alma mater, Northwestern, was in on iTunes U yet.Answer? No. But, there are some great vids out there. For example, a woman at Cambridge University does 8 minutes of cool experiments, including putting a diamond in with a bunch of fakes to show how the real ones are easier to spot with a light behind them. All I can say is, she’s lucky it worked because I’m definitely not risking losing any of my diamonds in a batch of fakes (not that I have any, but hypothetically speaking. Diamonds are my best friend). The coolest videos are with things that blow up (obviously.) Check out “Ice Bomb” in the Chemistry Comes Alive! series. And, really, the whole series involves explosions.The things you can learn from iTunes U include a variety of specialties — you can learn how to paint, speak Japanese, improve writing and studying skills (I’d be lying if I didn’t say I watched the writing one), and even tutorials on Photoshop. Pretty sweet.Plus, kids love their iTunes, so it’s just another way to build their brains. What do you think about iTunes U? Check out some videos and share your favorites with the rest of the class.