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Texas Launches iTunes Education Channel

Yesterday's announcement that Texas' department of education is launching a free iTunes education channel is another in a recent trend of government initiatives—both state and federal—to organize existing digital education resources.

The free channel, which the Associated Press reports will allow teachers to upload class material and expand upon their research, and students to download podcasts, videos and other multimedia lessons, comes after a nearly year-long effort by the state to gather the best of existing teacher training videos and programs for students. Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, told students at a Houston high school yesterday that the program "will really consolidate" existing content.

iTunes U, primarily a repository for postsecondary digital content, has hosted a K-12 focused channel since 2008, an effort resulting from collaboration between the State Education Technology Directors Association, or SETDA, and several state education agencies.

PBS, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Archives are partners on Texas' initiative. The Smithsonian is also a partner with the U.S. Department of Education in its work to create a national Online Learning Registry that was announced last month. While its format is still unclear, its aim will be similar: to take already-existing digital education material from federal agencies, and organize and centralize it for easy access.

We're still in an age of technological evolution—see the iPad—and will likely continue to be for the foreseeable future. But I've noticed an increasing shift from "What can we create with technology?" to "How can we organize what we've already created?" during my time on this beat.

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