Do you know how an atomic force microscope works? Have you ever wondered how it is used for research in the semi-conductor and life science industries? You can satiate your curiosity and impress your friends by watching a few 5 minute videos in a 4-episode course called Engineering Small Worlds: Micro and Nano Technologies from Open University (UK), available for free at iTunes U.
But, don’t stop there. iTunes can be used for more than downloading tracks of Destination Unknown and The Cure. The OpenCourseWare movement to bring educational information free to the masses has succeeded at becoming mainstream through the educational arm of iTunes, called iTunes U. You can watch real lectures given by university professors from MIT or Oxford, the University of Tokyo or the Universidad de Chile. Freshen up your Linear Algebra or watch the development and competition of Sumobots going head-to-head.
In addition, there are a variety of entertaining and educational podcasts available for almost any topic you can think of. Some are professionally done, others… not so much. Personally, I like WNYC Radiolab and The Naked Scientists, but I’m always interested in finding out about more.
The variety of freely available educational content is expanding quickly, and iTunes/iTunes U is just one way to easily access it. What are you listening to?