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Apple’s education event is underway at New York City’s Guggenheim Museum, where Eddy Cue, the company’s vice president of Internet Software and Services, told the audience how Apple is “going to help teachers reinvent the curriculum.” Noting that Apple has seen 700 million downloads from iTunes U, Cue took the wraps off a brand new free software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Aptly named iTunes U, the app makes it “simple for anyone to take courses anywhere.”

Indeed, adorned with the beautiful mahogany bookshelf graphics, the app is akin to iBooks in many respects. It is aimed at teachers and supports many interesting features, including the ability to customize topics, provide students with office hours, post messages to the class and give assignments. With this app, content can be downloaded for later consumption or streamed directly to students on-demand. More information is available after the break and at Apple’s freshly updated web site.

Teachers can also manage syllabus and assignments, and iBooks notes are integrated. Many universities pledged to use the iTunes U app, Cue said while noting that K-12 schools can also sign up. Over a hundred courses have already been created. The iTunes U app is available today as a free download on the App Store. Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing head, wrapped up the presentation by arguing, “Apple knows you can empower people through learning,” and he reminded the audience of one of Steve Jobs’ favorite lines: “Apple exists at the intersection of liberal arts and technology.” We’ve included release notes for your convenience at the end of the article below.

Check out our full coverage of Apple’s education event and additional assets:

ARTICLELiveblog: Apple’s education-focuse media event in NYC
ARTICLEUpdate on business metrics from Apple’s education event
ARTICLEApple releases iBooks 2, a brand new textbook experience for iPad
ARTICLEApple to price new iBook textbooks at $14.99 or less
ARTICLEApple announces iBooks Author, free Mac app for authoring textbooks
ARTICLEApple launches iTunes U, free iOS app for educators to take courses anywhere
ARTICLEApple releases iTunes 10.5.3 with support for textbook syncing to iPad
ARTICLEHeartwarming clip of teachers and students Apple played at the presser
ARTICLEAn overview of publishing and distribution for iBooks Author
VIDEO - Gallery of elements that can be used for interactive iBooks
VIDEOThe iBooks Textbooks promo
PR - Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad
PRApple unveils all-new iTunes U app for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch
SUPPORT - iBooks Author: Best practices for using 3D models
SUPPORT - iBooks Author: Use iPad-safe fonts when authoring books
SUPPORT - iBooks Author – How to make your iBooks accessible
SUPPORT - iBooks Author – Add video to your iBooks
SUPPORT - iBooks Author – Publishing and distribution FAQ
CHANGELOGiTunes 10.5.3 for Mac
CHANGELOGiTunes 10.5.3 for Windows (64 bit)
APP STOREiBooks Textbooks section in iTunes
APP STOREiTunes U for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
APP STOREiBooks 2 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
APP STOREiBooks Author for Mac

iTunes U release notes

The iTunes U app gives you access to complete courses from leading universities and other schools — plus the world’s largest digital catalog of free education content — right on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Whether you’re majoring in molecular biology at a university, taking Spanish in high school, or just interested in European history, you now have a valuable tool to help you learn anytime, anywhere.

Free courses in a wide array of subjects

• Take free courses created and taught by instructors from leading universities and other schools
• See all assignments and updates from the instructor in one place, and check off assignments as you complete them
• Take notes and highlight text in iBooks and see them consolidated for easy reviewing in the iTunes U app
• Access course materials, including audio, video, books, documents & presentations, apps, and new iBooks textbooks for iPad

The world’s largest catalog of free education content
• Choose from more than 500,000 free lectures, videos, books, and other resources on thousands of subjects from Algebra to Zoology
• Browse collections from education and cultural institutions in 26 countries — including Stanford, Yale, MIT, Oxford, UC Berkeley, MoMA, the New York Public Library, and the Library of Congress

Requirements:

• iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 5 or later
• An Apple ID with an iTunes Store account
• iTunes 10.5.3 or later is required to sync with a computer
• The selection of courses, collections, and availability of content linked from within a course may vary by country

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