Apple recently released a new section of the wildly popular iTunes Store available through their iTunes software. This new section is called iTunes U, and collects podcasts from numerous universities and colleges to make them available for free download to your iPod or other mp3 player, mobile/cell phone, etc.
One of the sub-sections of iTunes U is (note: you need iTunes for this link to work) specifically for languages and language education - yay!
Currently there are 60 podcasts (probably more by the time you read this) available regarding both learning foreign languages as well as general topics regarding language in general. Many of these podcasts are called OpenCourseWare, considered Open Learning materials released in the Public Domain. This means they can be used truly freely by teachers and educators without worries about copyright issues - a big plus! Be sure to look at the license for each podcast to make sure of the licensing.
The podcast-based current courses available through iTunes U are English (Medieval and ESL), French, German, Greek, Japanese, Hebrew (various), Italian (Language and Theater), Romanian, Spanish (various) plus Language Technology and Lectures, Interviews, Clubs, Lectionary at Lunch and Storytelling Colombian Style. There are many more, too.
This is really exciting to see at this professional education level. Of couse, add this to the 982 language podcasts in the "regular" (non-iTunes U) iTunes store and that makes over a whopping 1,000 language-related podcasts for download through iTunes - all free. :)
Watch the iTunes U intro video below to learn more about this new feature:
From iTunes U
iTunes U puts the power of the iTunes Store to work for colleges and universities, so users can easily search, download, and play course content just like they do music, movies, and TV shows.
Always in session.
iTunes U delivers easy, 24/7 access to educational content from hundreds of top colleges, universities, and educationally focused organizations across the country. And it’s accessible to anyone with a Mac or PC.
Learning to go.
Students can sync iTunes U content with any iPod or iPhone, so they can go right on learning while they grab a meal, walk to class, or work out at the gym.
Keeps them motivated.
Engaging students on their home turf, iTunes U offers audio and video that make subjects more vivid than any printed page ever could.
iTunes U lets schools open all or part of their content to the public, from parents to alumni to anyone with a love of learning.