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iTunes U Expands

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We covered the launch of iTunes U in May, pointing to a body of free educational content delivered via the iTunes Store. Recently, iTunes expanded "beyond campus" to feature content from partners including Smithsonian Global Sound, KQED, American Public Media, and the Museum of Modern Art.

The new content is accessible from the iTunes U landing page (this is an iTunes link -- if you want to access it from your own iTunes program, just click the iTunes U link in the upper left corner of the iTunes Music Store home page). There's a bunch of free content here, much of which may be useful for teachers -- some content includes downloadable discussion points and transcripts. Students (and general lovers of learning like readers of this blog...) will find lots of great lectures on a broad range of topics.

Some best bets: KQED Science Coverage (lots of video and audio), American Public Media - Einstein's Ethics from Speaking of Faith (also check out the larger APM Philosophy & Ethics section), and David Lynch on Creativity, Consciousness, and the Brain.

There's even some great free musical content on iTunes U. From Duke's "Student Life" section, there's an album of jazz covers of popular songs (including songs by Radiohead, James, and Britney Spears) performed by The Pulsar Triyo. See also: The Folkways Collection from the Smithsonian.

Do you have favorite educational content on iTunes U, or elsewhere on the web? Post tips in the comments!

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Tulane University Offers Free Semester to Students Affected by Hurricane Maria
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As Puerto Rico continues to assess the damage left by Hurricane Maria last month, one American institution is offering displaced residents some long-term hope. Tulane University in New Orleans is waiving next semester’s tuition fees for students enrolled at Puerto Rican colleges prior to the storm, Forbes reports.

From now until November 1, students whose studies were disrupted by Maria can apply for one of the limited spots still open for Tulane’s spring semester. And while guests won’t be required to pay Tulane's fees, they will still be asked to pay tuition to their home universities as Puerto Rico rebuilds. Students from other islands recovering from this year’s hurricane season, like St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are also welcome to submit applications.

Tulane knows all too well the importance of community support in the wake of disaster. The campus was closed for all of the 2005 fall semester as New Orleans dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time, schools around the world opened their doors to Tulane students who were displaced. The university wrote in a blog post, “It’s now our turn to pay it forward and assist students in need.”

Students looking to study as guests at Tulane this spring can fill out this form to apply.

[h/t Forbes]

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Pablo, a Groundbreaking New BBC Series, Teaches Kids About Autism
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BBC

Autism spectrum disorder affects one in 68 kids in the U.S., but there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the nature of the condition and what it feels like to have it. As BuzzFeed reports, a new British children’s program aims to teach viewers about autism while showing kids on the spectrum characters and stories to which they can relate.

Pablo, which premiered on the BBC’s kids’ network CBeebies earlier this month, follows a 5-year-old boy as he navigates life with autism. The show uses two mediums: At the start of an episode, Pablo is played by a live actor and faces everyday scenarios, like feeling overstimulated by a noisy birthday party. When he’s working out the conflict in his head, Pablo is depicted as an animated doodle accompanied by animal friends like Noa the dinosaur and Llama the llama.

Each character illustrates a different facet of autism spectrum disorder: Noa loves problem-solving but has trouble reading facial expression, while Llama notices small details and likes repeating words she hears. On top of demonstrating the diversity of autism onscreen, the show depends on individuals with autism behind the scenes as well. Writers with autism contribute to the scripts and all of the characters are voiced by people with autism.

“It’s more than television,” the show’s creator Gráinne McGuinness said in a short documentary about the series. “It’s a movement that seeks to build awareness internationally about what it might be like to see the world from the perspective of someone with autism.”

Pablo can be watched in the UK on CBeebies or globally on the network's website.

[h/t BuzzFeed]

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