A World Class Education … For Free

July 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Your seat is waiting in lecture halls and classrooms all over the world.   The 21st century classroom is networked and global, with universities leading the way in breaking down the traditional barriers to entry.

Among the leaders are MIT Open CourseWare and Open Yale Courses.  Still more content can be found on iTunesU and lectures from PBS and NPR’s Forum Network.  Finally, TED Talks offers a chance to watch lectures by the world’s thought leaders on a wide variety of topics: technology, sustainability, globalization, music, and even tying one’s shoes in a properly innovative fashion

Perhaps most germane to your high school experience are enrichment courses offered by Khan Academy and HippoCampus, both designed to provide a series of videos explaining concepts from topics like Algebra, Calculus, Chemistry, History, Physics, and even SAT Prep.

Sure, you could continue to see the internet as purely a social vehicle, and a time waster.  While the internet is very good at providing a platform purely for entertainment, the emergence of video content provides the potential for more robust educational experience, informed by the same traits we seek in our diversions.   The keys to the world’s libraries are in your hands; use them!

UPDATE (10/18): Mind/Shift offers up “10 Open Education Resources You May Not Know About (But Should)” in honor of the OpenCourseWare Consortium’s celebration of 10 years of OpenCourseWare.  Check it out! 

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Summer Reads!

July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

(Mortsan/ Flickr)

July 4th, that most quintessential of summer holidays, has come and gone.  For me, this is the point in my summer when I finally feel the grip of school start to loosen, and take up the projects I have neglected for the previous nine months of the year.  Among them is the decadent luxury of reading –at length–for pleasure.

I hope you’ll settle in on the porch, at the beach, or even at a local coffee shop with great book for an afternoon or two this summer.  

Looking for titles?  Check out these lists:
NPR’s Summer Reads 2011
The Guardian (UK) “1000 Novels Everyone Must Read”
NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) “Summertime Favorites”

My favorite independent book shop, The Harvard Bookstore, also maintains user friendly lists: check out their slick Top 100, and Staff Fiction Suggestions.  Their homepage, complete with interactive store window display, is an engaging example of a bricks and mortar business adapting to the new 21st century landscape of digital bookselling.  Not to be too preachy, but remember to buy locally, and support the businesses that make your community a unique place to live.

Read on, readers!

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