TASA on iTunes U Expansion Timeline
To support the digital integration facet of MISSION: School Transformation, TASA has engaged educators in Texas High Performance Schools Consortium school districts and others to curate TASA on iTunes U, a library of digital learning resources that teachers across the state may access free of charge.
The Original 18 Collections – High School Basics
The process began in fall 2012 with 58 teachers and content specialists from 14 Texas districts. They spent several months developing the original resource collections, taking care to include only resources that are fully aligned to Texas’ curriculum standards — the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) — and that engage students in a digitally rich learning environment while fostering creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills. In spring 2013, the first 18 collections in high school-level English language arts, math, science, and social studies were made available via TASA on iTunes U.
The First Expansion – College Prep
In spring 2014, in response to a House Bill 5 requirement that school districts partner with at least one institution of higher education to develop and provide college preparatory courses in math and English language arts for certain 12th-grade students, TASA launched its first expansion of TASA on iTunes U. This effort engaged teachers and content specialists, along with higher education faculty representatives, to develop a collection of digital content resources that Texas districts could use to meet the new requirement. The framework of the collections is based on the Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) and aligned to TEKS.
Middle School and CTE Additions
In summer 2014, TASA engaged an additional 60 Texas educators to curate digital resources for middle school core subjects, additional high school subject areas, and various career and technical education (CTE) and advanced academic areas. Following a nearly three-month design process, these curated resource collections were made available free of charge to Texas districts through TASA on iTunes U in September 2014 and include such CTE offerings as Anatomy & Physiology, Principles of Health Science, Professional Communications, and Principles of Arts, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications.Also in summer 2014, TASA — in partnership with the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) — worked with Texas educators to align two SREB-developed college- and career-readiness courses with the TEKS and Texas College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). SREB developed two readiness courses, one in math and one in disciplinary literacy, Math Ready and Literacy Ready, to help underprepared students reach college- and career-readiness benchmarks before high school graduation.Elementary Core-Content Areas
In fall 2014, TASA engaged content curation teams of 130 teachers and content specialists to identify and develop collections of TEKS-aligned digital resources in elementary core content areas at both the early (grades K-2) and intermediate (grades 3-5) elementary levels, as well as new middle school and high school courses in core academic and CTE areas. The teams also updated the original high school core subject courses to provide a more engaging experience for educators.Algebra I and II and Geometry Collections Aligned With the Revised Math TEKS
On August 11, 2015, TASA announced the addition of a new Algebra I digital resource collection, the first of three new high school math resource collections aligned with the new TEKS for math (revised in 2012), to be added to TASA on iTunes U for the start of the 2015-16 school year. New Algebra II and Geometry collections were posted later that month.
TASA on iTunes U in the Blogosphere
In fall 2015, Mansfield ISD Educational Technology Trainer Catherine McGuinness, an Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Education Trainer, and the social studies content lead for the TASA on iTunes U project, blogged about the ever-expanding library of digital resource collections that she and other Texas educators have worked to curate for the benefit of their colleagues.“The idea is whether you are a novice teacher or a veteran teacher that you will be able to find content, lessons, and ideas that can be implemented in your classroom,” she writes. “The content — created by teachers for teachers — aims to foster creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills in a digitally rich learning environment.” Read the blog post.