It’s a Monday, it’s summer, and my brain is still working to wake up. So much of what you’ll read below is from an official Apple press release concerning the recent update to the mobile iTunes U app.

My own words on the subject?

If you have Apple devices in your building, you need to be using iTunes U as an instructional and learning tool. It’s a great way to push content out to students and, now with the recent update, pul content in from kids.

iTunes U – together with the free iTunes U Course Manager – helps you create courses including lectures, assignments, books, quizzes and more for your face-to-face students as well as students outside your classroom. With over 750,000 individual learning materials available on the iTunes U app, iTunes U is the world’s largest online catalog of free educational content from top schools and prominent organizations. You can access the work from thousands of educational institutions hosting over 7,500 public courses.

The new in-app updates to iTunes U give teachers full course creation capabilities on iPad, with the ability to directly add rich content and learning materials from iWork®, iBooks® Author or any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad. Taking advantage of the built-in camera on iPad, teachers can also capture photos and videos to incorporate real-world subject matter into any course, making relevant content available to all students in an instant.

iTunes U is the most powerful destination for bringing the entire educational experience to life on iPad,” said Fraser Speirs, head of computing and IT at Cedars School of Excellence in Scotland. “By freeing teachers to create and organize courses right on iPad, educators can be better focused on enabling student participation both with the content and one another.

Students using iPad and enrolled in private iTunes U courses will now have everything they need to fully collaborate with their classmates and teachers. With Discussions in the iTunes U app, students can automatically follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up push notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can participate in forums too, and have the ability to moderate discussions by removing any off-topic messages or replies.

Discussions in iTunes U puts the potential for thoughtful exploration and collaboration into the hands of every one of our students,” said Larry Reiff, a teacher from Roslyn High School in New York. “iPad and iTunes U continue to provide students with the tools they need to build knowledge and demonstrate their learning.

Get more info about the course manager here. And even more ideas, examples, and resources on my Social Studies Central page.

Update your app in the conventional way on your device. Get the app itself here.