10 Killer Downloads from iTunes U

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Want to walk on the wild side? Head over to iTunes U, a treasure trove of hidden gems where you’ll find stuff that’s so much fun, you’d never know it had anything to do with education.

It’ll probably surprise you to learn just how much crazy cool stuff is available in iTunes U (that “educational” arm of the iTunes Store that nobody ever talks about and you’ve probably never looked at). I mean, isn’t that stuff supposed to be just for college students? I offer a resounding no! I also bet it will surprise you to learn that everything in iTunes U is free.

Whether you’re addicted to learning, or hate thought, I guarantee there’s something in iTunes U that will pique your interest, whatever your hobbies and interests. Here are 10 amazingly cool downloads from iTunes U — video college lectures, professionally made documentaries, ebooks — representing just a cross-sectional taste of the riches available there.

Developing Apps for iOS

Format: Video
Provided by: Stanford
Ever wanted to create your own app for iPhone or iPad? This course from Stanford professor Paul Hegarty takes you through 25 lectures that explain how iOS code works, down to even the smallest of details. For a 25-hour investment, you could be the next great app developer. Lectures include plenty of visuals and even HD video. Ready to innovate?

Download It Here

Fun With Physics

Format: Video
Provided by: Virginia Department of Education
These five videos were produced as teaching tools to interest kids in the world of physics, but kids of all ages will get a kick out of them. They’re very brief, each one showing a high-speed recording of some common action (like lighting a match or popping a balloon), so that it plays ultra slow.

Download It Here

Hasbro Toys & Games


Format: Video
Provided by: Duke University
Every child of the 70s and 80s will go nuts with nostalgia over this collection of almost 200 classic Hasbro toy commercials. You’ll find old ads for G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and tons more. I dare you to watch and not smile.

Download It Here

Human Spaceflight


Format: Video
Provided by: NASA
A treat for any fan of NASA or the human exploration of space, this video is filled with personal stories as told by individuals involved with every American space program from Mercury to the International Space Station, and incredible imagery.

Download It Here

Masters of Photography

Format: Video
Provided by: National Geographic Live
Renowned photographers and photojournalists share their tricks of the trade in this 13-part video series. Amateurs and professionals alike will be utterly enthralled.

Download It Here

National Book Festival 2010

Format: Video
Provided by: Library of Congress
D.C.’s annual National Book Festival is catalogued by the Library of Congress each year, and LoC has started making videos of the various events available online. On iTunes U, this translates as prominent authors conducting personal readings of their own work before an audience, captured on film. I’ve already found several of my favorite authors here, and I’m sure you will too. Be sure to look through the LoC archives on iTunes U for the 2008 and 2009 festivals, for more author readings.

Download It Here

Social Marketing


Format: eBook
Provided by: The Open University
Got a product or a brand (or maybe even yourself) to market? Learn why social marketing online is one of the most important marketing tools you can use, and how to use it well.

Download It Here

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy


Format: Video
Provided by: MoMA (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
This seven-part video series explores the art of the superhero costume by looking at movie costumes, avant-garde fashion, and even modern sportswear. Latter episodes feature panels of popular comic book writers and artists.

Download It Here

The Tolkien Professor


Format: Audio
Provided by: Washington College
For fans of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, these 27 recordings are like milk sent down from Heaven, exploring numerous aspects of Tolkien’s life and works. And they’re great fun, too.

Download It Here

Working In the Theatre


Format: Video
Provided by: American Theater Wing
Whether you’re interested in becoming an actor, producer, director, or stage hand, or you’re simply fascinated by Broadway culture, you won’t find a better guide than this terrific series. It’s comprised of more than 200 hour-long (or longer) panels featuring professionals working in modern theatre, including lots of actors you’ve actually heard of. It’s like Inside the Actor’s Studio for the theatre set.

Download It Here

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