iTunes U

LQ: 9.1


Brain grade: 9.8
Fun score: 8.4

Platform/Console: , , , LWK Recommended Age: 6+ Thinking Skills Used: Academic Skills Used: ,

iTunes U is a powerful tool for accessing an enormous database of free educational lectures, videos, books, and courses. Users can also browse available courses from universities and high schools around the world. In order to access specific resources, users search by keyword to find relevant content materials. They can then look at available courses and browse resources, such as videos, class notes, Podcast lectures, and more. Users can also follow certain courses, taking notes as they go, and gaining access to additional available course materials. iTunes U has a wide range of content to explore, with online lesson plans for learners from kindergarten through college. Due to the wide range of applicable content and ease of use, iTunes U is recommended for anyone ages 6+.

iTunes U can help your child practice Self-Awareness, Reading, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.


Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.

Online learning demands a bit more motivation from students than the traditional classroom environment. Rather than relying on a teacher to set deadlines, create work loads and convey lesson material, students using iTunes U must regulate these factors on their own. Furthermore, it is important that they commit wholly to the subject matter they undertake, following the lesson plans closely, and through to completion. Students who commit to undertaking lesson plans through iTunes U that are able to sustain effort throughout long-term tasks stand to get the most out of the experience, and will be rewarded with an expansive library of information that covers a vast range of academic topics and is easily accessible


Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.

iTunes U is an excellent app for users who struggle with a particular subject in school, or are simply curious with a desire to learn more. With this app, users can search for learning materials by school, by subject, or by grade level. Access to thousands of lectures, documents, videos, and books lets users delve deeply into a new interest, brush up on old content, or get ahead of their class in school. Developing an expertise in an area of interest can be an excellent way for users to practice their Self-Awareness thinking skill. Using iTunes U can help users develop a better understanding of an area of interest, or discover passions they never knew they had.


iTunes U offers a wide selection of academic notes, articles, and how-to guides. By searching for a keyword that relates to a school subject, or a subject your child just finds interesting, he will be exposed to a variety of written resources, in addition to the video and audio resources. Every article is an opportunity to practice informational reading.


iTunes U offers an enormous variety of resources for math students at any grade level. Included in the application are mathematics lessons from grade one through college. Users can subscribe to a specific course, gaining access to recorded lectures, videos of example problems, quizzes and tests, nightly homework assignments, and text books. iTunes U  can be an excellent way to practice math from the comfort of home without the time restraints or pressures of the classroom. For help in a specific area of mathematics, users can browse the iTunes U library by using key word searches.


iTunes U has a wide assortment of resources for users studying different fields in science. From astronomy to biology, users can browse textbooks, lectures, and videos in varying difficulties, from grade school to university level. Students can search for specific topics, using keywords, or find courses on a more general facet of a particular science.

Social Studies

Users will find iTunes U selection of history courses and materials extremely helpful no matter focus. From lectures given by experts in the field, audio recordings of famous events and speeches, or textbooks and news articles from the period, this application can supplement material from school or satisfy the curiosity of a history enthusiast. Additionally, iTunes U contains sources from around the world, allowing students to study history and culture from perspectives they may not otherwise see in their own classroom. Studying alternate perspectives in history can be an effective way to develop a more broad understanding of a particular place, time, or culture.

iTunes U is an excellent option for practicing Self-Awareness, Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and a host of other school subjects. Below are a few ideas to get started. Share your own ideas in the comment box at the bottom of the page. 

Focus Activity

Lead by example. Don't just leave it up to your child to pick a topic to explore by following along with him through a lesson plan. By joining in the learning process, you can help your child become accustomed to this digital approach to learn, while helping to ensure he sees it through to the end. Try finding a topic that interests both of you, if you can, browsing through the subject matter and discussing what it is that fascinates you about different subjects. Examples could include historical events, geographical locations or science and outer space. Once you find a subject to explore, work together to see it through to the end, discussing what you've learned before moving on to more content.

Self-Awareness Activity

Encourage your child to be open about his strengths and weaknesses. He should try to accurately evaluate his areas of weakness by thinking about the homework that takes him the longest, the lowest test grades, or report card grades.  Your family can also collect feedback from teachers to establish goal areas for improvement. Once he has targeted at least one or two areas that need work, he should figure out which type of resources would be helpful. Does he want an overall explanation of the topic? A specific model for how to complete a multi-step problem? Or, does he just need some notes on a topic that he missed when he was absent? Once he knows what he needs, he can search and click accordingly.

Encourage your child to scour iTunes U for education content that he finds interesting. This can be anything from the history of the Vikings, to the scientific concepts of the universe. Whatever it may be, learning is not limited to the classroom, and your goal should be to instill a natural curiosity for learning. Your child can even "enroll" in an iTunes U course, taking notes or saving interesting articles and videos as he learns.


Use iTunes U to find articles that you think your child and family may find interesting. Make time each week to sit down together and share articles. Your child will likely discover very different articles than you do, and this will make for a great time sharing and summarizing what you have read individually.

Mathematics / Science / Social Studies

No matter what content area your child is struggling with, the steps for finding and using relevant resources are essentially the same. Below are a few ways to use iTunes U to accommodate for specific areas of weakness:

  • Getting a "sneak peak" can be a helpful way for students to feel more confident when being introduced to a new unit in the classroom. For example, if your child is beginning a unit on Imperialism, and he has never even heard the term before, he may experience anxiety, or lack the background knowledge that could help him follow along more easily. Have him search for the term imperialism days before the unit begins, and watch a video or read an article about the term so that he has a head start!
  • Use iTunes U to review concepts that need re-teaching. If your child fails a quiz or test, figure out which types of math problems, or which concepts seem most challenging. Then, search for these content areas, and watch or read an explanation on the topic. Go through the assignment one question at a time, and correct the answers based on what has been learned on iTunes U.
  • If you are the parent of a high school student who has no idea if they want to go to college, or what they want to college for, you can use iTunes U as a way to "test drive" certain courses. While the environment will be very different at each college, your child can at least get exposed to videos of lectures and see how information will be given and what types of subjects are covered in different majors.

iTunes U is a unique resource, but there are a few similar tools. Check out the resources below and let us know which one works for you in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is an online database of videos, lectures, and other academic resources. Users can search by keyword or explore various categories to access relevant information. Find out more on our Beyond Games page for Khan Academy.

Just like the name sounds, specializes in mathematics instruction only. This site offers a good range of math-related video tutorials designed to help students with homework or extra help with particular math topics. It is easy to search and use, find out more here.

LearnersTV covers all sorts of topics, similar to Kahn Academy. This site offers video lectures, animations, notes, and other resources for learners and teachers. Find out more here.



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