Friday, April 30, 2010

Superintendent Cox Launches GaDOE iTunes University Site

State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox unveiled today the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) iTunes University site. At an event at Rutland High School in Bibb County, Superintendent Cox demonstrated how this free technology will allow teachers, students and parents to download many different resources directly onto an iPod or other portable device.

“In these tough budget times, we can all use more help and more resources, especially when those resources are free,” said Superintendent Cox. “The GaDOE continues to seek out innovative and cost-effective ways to help make teachers’ jobs easier, and iTunes University is one more tool to do that.”

The GaDOE recognizes how important it is to use technology to enhance education. The iTunes University site creates a base of digital educational content where users can easily download and access audio and video content for use in the classroom, at home or while driving to work. Visitors to the site can find content on everything from mathematics instruction to parent involvement videos.

“This is an innovative and interactive way for students to learn,” said Tony Jones, Bibb County’s Teacher of the Year. “It will allow students the luxury to learn at their own pace using technology that most students are familiar with already.”

Jones was also a recipient of a GaDOE Advanced Placement (AP) Handheld Technology grant. In November, 56 high schools in 46 school systems received AP Handheld grants. These grants provide teachers the resources to purchase any handheld device, which allows students to access educational material developed by the teachers, including instructional podcasts, activities, and assessments. These resources may also be made available on the GaDOE iTunes University site for other teachers across the state to use in their classrooms.

The iTunes University site is the latest teacher technology tool offered by the GaDOE. In September 2009, Superintendent Cox launched two online teacher tools, PBS TeacherLine and Verizon Thinkfinity. PBS TeacherLine offers low-cost, high-quality professional development classes to teachers so they can build content knowledge and earn the Professional Learning Units needed to maintain their certification. The Verizon Thinkfinity tool provides more than 55,000 lesson plans, activities and other resources for classroom teachers.

Student Contest
The GaDOE iTunes University site is one that students will be able to use to take digital content with them, but also give them an avenue to demonstrate their own creativity. Superintendent Cox announced a student contest today that will encourage students to develop short movies that can be uploaded to the iTunes University site. There will be three category themes:

1. Elementary School: Theme – “Reading For Me!”

2. Middle School: Theme – “Monumental Math Moments!”

3. High School: Theme – “Making It Happen!”

Complete contest details can be found by visiting http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/ts.aspx?PageReq=TSContest

“Today’s students have grown up surrounded by technology,” said Superintendent Cox. “It is my hope that this contest will spark their creativity and demonstrate how they can integrate technology into the classroom and share with other students.”

Winners of the contest will be featured on the GaDOE iTunes University site.

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