So, I really like to learn new stuff, I especially like to learn complicated things. But, my favorite thing is learning complicate things from extremely intelligent individuals who know how to teach.
While I have grown up with the classroom environment as my primary source of instruction, I can certifiably say that my life’s greatest learning moments did not happen in the classroom. My most valuable learning experiences happened during times that I pursued a topic that interested me and the only motivation I had to continue learning was my curiosity. I think most people are that way.
If this is true, then why does the world continue to instruct young people and adults in the same way they always have, in the classroom? Perhaps I am speaking out of place here, maybe others thrive in the classroom environment, perhaps the majority do, but I know that I don’t.
I am extremely excited and grateful for a couple of learning opportunities that I can pursue without sitting in a classroom. Opportunities that I can take at my own pace.
First of all, iTunes U. This database of free (and paid) course work is absolutely amazing. It is constantly growing and contains some of the brightest minds teaching some of the not interesting topics. I highly recommend browsing the contents of iTunes U.
Second, Khan Academy. They too offer free courses in topics like math, humanities, science, test prep, and more. Unlike iTunes U, Khan academy produces all of its own content so it can ensure that there is continuity from one topic to the other.
Lastly, free university courses from schools like MIT. The open courseware at MIT is amazing! You can watch ever lecture, read almost every handout and assignment, and in some cases, see exam questions and answers, for an entire collage curriculum. That is from freshmen year to graduation. That is so amazing!! The best part? It’s all free!!
I suppose the only downside to these programs is that you don’t receive a diploma for finishing a course of developing a skill. But there are certainly paybacks for enhancing your skills and knowledge that are far more valuable than a paper you frame on your wall.
Did I mention they all can be used on an iPad? Super cool!