Private School To Make Lessons Available On ITunes

One of the UK's top private schools is making its GCSE and A-level lessons available as free downloads via iTunes.

The Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, a £5,135-a-term independent school which boasts some of the best exam results in the country, has uploaded reams of course material onto iTunes U and iBooks, where they can be accessed for free by teachers and students at other schools.

iTunes U is an app developed by iTunes to share academic lectures and classes. It has already proved popular with universities including Oxford and Harvard, but the Stephen Perse Foundation is one of the first high-profile UK institutions to upload content aimed at school-age children.

The dozens of classes currently available for download cover a wide range of GCSE and A-level subjects, with units on topics as diverse as drainage basins, the Vietnam War and the poetry of Thomas Hardy.

The lessons take the form of an digital text-book, with traditional written information accompanied by interactive elements such as video and audio, as well as links to other online material to further enrich the learning experience.

Since March this year, the Stephen Perse Foundation has been replacing paper textbooks with the new online courses, with headteacher Tricia Kelleher suggesting that within a couple of years, printed textbooks may be a thing of the past at the school.

Anyone will now be able to download GCSE, A-level and International Baccalaureate classes taught at the school, which has pioneered online learning by giving every pupil their own iPad.

Simon Armitage, a geography teacher at the school, told the BBC that the new initiative was a sign of the increasingly reciprocal relationship between educators and the internet.

"Teachers have taken information from the web for years," he said. "This is a chance to put something back which could be interesting and useful to other teachers, schools and students."