Learning Tools

THE INTERNET is simply the most powerful learning tool ever known in the history of humankind.

The trick is learning how to use it. It's pretty new, so everyone is still learning how to use it. It just takes some hours of experimentation and exploration to get your bearings and get your "net learning skills."

The great thing about learning using the Internet is that it supports any learning style. You like reading? You got it. Learn better by watching video? Do it. You like audio best, you say, with your iPod while traveling or being outside? No problem.

The critical thing is to learn how to learn using the Internet, and that will be different for different people. Take the time to explore the tools, experiment and discover what works for you. Then, apply those learning techniques to everything you do. Aim to learn something everyday. It's the 21st-century way.

Here are some great learning tools and resources to include on your journey.


Learning Tools

  1. Wolfram-Alpha

    "The Computational Knowledge Engine." A good place to start is the examples page.

    Suggestion: Have two browser windows open at the same time: one to Google and one to Wolfram Alpha. Try several different queries and keywords in both, putting the same term in both and seeing how the results differ.

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  2. [web site] Succeed at Spanish

    This web site has a lit of nice features and lets you do a lot for free! A word-of-the-day in the side panel, lists of words like Colors, free audio to listen and repeat, and much more.

    Go have some fun at this site and see if it fits the way you like to learn language, or if your bored with your current Spanish lessons or course, take a break and get a fresh take.

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Learning Resources

  1. YouTube

    Just when I was ready to dismiss YouTube as the place for short, home-made clips of people's cats and teenage pranks, Google buys YouTube and adds a host of features, improved indexing, cleans up the copyright management, and now adds new, functional viewing page features (March 2010).

    YouTube has exploded into a living encyclopedia of culture and knowledge. To get an idea of what you can learn on YouTube, check out Kahn Academy's channel, filled with chemistry. statistics, physics, algebra, money & banking, GMAT study, brain teasers and much more. For an awesome list of learning videos from multiple channels, check out the YouTube EDU Partner Playlists page!

    Channels like Khan Academy are organized by people. To see the search-engine power of learning using YouTube, try search for a few topics in the YouTube search field. You'll probably need to go through pages and pages of results, and you'll need to learn how to filter out the junk, but it is amazing the depth and span of information and presentation available, for free, 24x7. It is incredible. We have entered a new epoch of society and being human.

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  2. Lectr.com - free education for you

    UPDATE: Sept 12, 2012: site seems to be out of service.

    Recorded lectures from professors at various universities. Categories include chemistry, history, maths, biology, sport, law, crime & forensics, physics and psychology. Also, a topic tag cloud.

    In June 2010, they announced they are working on a full site redesign, which should help clean up the navigation and interface. (While not terrible, it isn't great).

    Relatively small site (compared to MIT, for example), but has some interesting stuff. Keep an eye on this one.

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  3. Yale University Courses (free)

    Playlists of full lecture series for dozens of courses.

    Departments with content here include:
    Astronomy
    Biomedical Engineering
    Chemistry
    Classics
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Economics
    English
    History
    History of Art
    Italian Language and Literature
    Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
    Music
    Philosophy
    Physics
    Political Science
    Psychology
    Religious Studies

    See also the Open Yale Courses web site, which opens with:

    "Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn."

    The lectures are also available on iTunes U.

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Free Courses

  1. More free college: Open Yale Courses

    From the Yale web site:

    "Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn."

    Course areas include astronomy, biology, chemistry, economics, English, history, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology and religious studies.

    See also:
    Yale Courses YouTube Channel

    The Open_Yale_Courses Wikipedia entry

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  2. Yale University Courses (free)

    Playlists of full lecture series for dozens of courses.

    Departments with content here include:
    Astronomy
    Biomedical Engineering
    Chemistry
    Classics
    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Economics
    English
    History
    History of Art
    Italian Language and Literature
    Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
    Music
    Philosophy
    Physics
    Political Science
    Psychology
    Religious Studies

    See also the Open Yale Courses web site, which opens with:

    "Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. The aim of the project is to expand access to educational materials for all who wish to learn."

    The lectures are also available on iTunes U.

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  3. Learn Now

    Here are some great online places you can take courses right where you sit! Learn to expand your professional skill set, learn for fun, learn to keep your brain sharp, or go "meta-learn": explore and experiment to discover how you learn best.

    Whatever the reason, these offer you unprecedented opportunity at the lowest cost ever in history (most are free). Carpe Diem!

    Stanford Online

    The top school of Stanford was one of the first big schools to offer free online courses, and they are rapidly getting better at their online teaching with better courses, better content, and better materials. Check out their current offerings and see if there is something there you would enjoy.

    UGotClass Courses

    These are not free courses; rather, they are live-instructor led courses aimed at professional development and continuing education. Curated by the good folks over at LERN, these courses are offered through quality universities all over the country. Certificates are always included. They are popular, receive high praise and ratings, and cover modern, high-demand topics that can be difficult to find elsewhere.

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Collections & Round-ups

  1. 50 fascinating lectures about the brain

    If you are interested in the brain, brain development, neuroscience, neurobiology, brain anatomy, psychology and the brain and/or brain health, you are sure to find something interesting in this collection of videos brought together by AssociatesDegree.com. I don't know the people or focus behind this site, but I appreciate this round-up of videos that have done.

    Following the links to these videos will also link you up with other learning resource sites: various lecture and class archive sites from different universities, libraries and more. Explore!

    A great way to spend your learning time.

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  2. Learn Now

    Here are some great online places you can take courses right where you sit! Learn to expand your professional skill set, learn for fun, learn to keep your brain sharp, or go "meta-learn": explore and experiment to discover how you learn best.

    Whatever the reason, these offer you unprecedented opportunity at the lowest cost ever in history (most are free). Carpe Diem!

    Stanford Online

    The top school of Stanford was one of the first big schools to offer free online courses, and they are rapidly getting better at their online teaching with better courses, better content, and better materials. Check out their current offerings and see if there is something there you would enjoy.

    UGotClass Courses

    These are not free courses; rather, they are live-instructor led courses aimed at professional development and continuing education. Curated by the good folks over at LERN, these courses are offered through quality universities all over the country. Certificates are always included. They are popular, receive high praise and ratings, and cover modern, high-demand topics that can be difficult to find elsewhere.

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All I can say is that if I had had these tools and resources when I was 11 years old, not only would my teacher have been out of a job*, I would have been completing college by age 15. The impact of the incredible learning power and speed of the Internet on earth and society hasn't even been imagined yet. It is a completely new paradigm for learning - and we have barely scratched the surface of what we can do with it.

The 21st century is going to look very, very different than the 20th century. Get learning!

 
 

...more to come!

"Science vessel. I've got 500 years of learning to catch up on." -- Dr. Gillian Taylor from the movie, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"

 

*My teacher as she was teaching then, that is. Teachers have a huge role in 21st-century education, much bigger and better than they ever have had before. Less babysitting, less teaching-to-the-middle (and leaving out the edges), and less lecturing (human tape-recorder function is not using teachers to their highest level). For more about how 21st-century teachers get to do more of what they love while moving kids ahead faster and better than ever before, read up on the Flipped Classroom concepts.

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