Teachers will be able to can create, edit, manage and share course materials with their students directly from Apple's iPad following an update to its iTunes U software.

The update will negate the need for a computer so that teachers can create and manage whole courses right from the tablet. Students can then access the material from their own iPads, including lectures, assignments, books and quizzes.

Apple has also added group chats to the iTunes U's feature set. Notifications will let students know when classmates have responded to their comments, or if a new conversation thread has been started. Teachers can take part in these discussions and moderate discussions by removing off-topic messages or replies.

The updates help position the iPad as a valuable educational resource and familiarises students with the tablet from a young age. Currently thousands of educational institutions use iTunes U to host 7,500 public courses, claims Apple.

Courses can be created using iTunes U in 69 countries and educational content can be accessed from 155 countries. Good Gear Guide is awaiting response from Apple on the software's adoption in Australia.

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Apple will push its iTunes U update to compatible iPads next week on 8 July.

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