Using iTunes U in the Social Studies Classroom

By Monica Burns 12.15.2014 blog

A handful of great learning management systems exist for students in one-to-one programs. If you use iPads with your students, you might want to check out iTunes U as a way to organize course content and promote discussions in your social studies classroom. iTunes U allows teachers to act as content curators and allows students to access videos, PDF files, Keynote presentations and so much more.

What is iTunes U?

iTunes U is an platform designed to use with iOS devices (iPads and iPhones). Teachers can create and manage a course from a web browser on a computer or the app on an iPad. They can set a course schedule and organize content as they see fit. Students can enroll in the course and complete assignments. The app does a great job of showing which items have been opened and read and which still need your attention. Teachers can store multimedia including web links to different sites and direct links to the App Store to help students easily download an app required for class. Courses can be set to private, and students will need a code to enroll. If your whole school gets on board, iTunes U will create an institutional page to share your courses with the world.

How can it support social studies instruction?

iTunes U makes it easy to connect to informational text, primary source documents and multimedia. Teachers can assign video clips to watch or reading passages to explore. iTunes U also has a platform for students to participate in discussions, perfect for getting ready for in-class work or whole class debates on a particular topic. One day, you might decide to send students to the National Archives website with the task of finding a primary source document related to a unit of study. Another day, you might ask students to watch a short documentary and respond to what they viewed in a discussion thread. iTunes U gives teachers the power to click, drag and drop content into one place that students can access during and after school hours.

Where can I see it in action?

The iTunes U app has great examples of teacher-created courses at all levels. You can search through K-12 institutions as well as courses created by universities like Harvard or Ohio State. Not only will the public courses in the iTunes U catalog inspire you to get started, you may decide to join a course yourself and get a firsthand look at what it feels like to be a student in an iTunes U course!

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.


  1. zane

    I like it !


    I think iTunes U is a great way for you to learn while using hand-on materials. I hope that classes will start using iTunes U so that students have a different perspective.

  3. Jackson Kuntzleman

    I need that to stay in touch with my dog Ruby

  4. hunter rose

    cool though

    • harry

      good music

  5. hunter rose

    I like it but I don’t have a ipod no more

  6. Sixpakal


  7. Sixpakal

    I think that I Tunes U is a great idea to help kids in the classroom and at home so they can study all on their Phone and or tablets!

  8. Grace

    At first, I thought it was a music app, because it said iTunes. They should rename it.

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