Get Your Learn On

People always seem to never ask me how is it that I know at least a little nugget about so many different things. In a nutshell it’s easy and it’s free. I spent some time in college and taking courses but always seemed to learn more and faster doing things myself. From the moment I watched my first episode of Outer Limits on a television set to the moment I made a space shuttle fly across the screen on a Tandy using BASIC, I knew I was wired for a more interactive level of education. Does that make me strange, well yes but for several other reasons. I believe we’re evolving and are more receptive to learning on a level more conducive to multitasking. For me it served as a waste of time to pay so much money to have someone drone through a subject at a snails pace, when I could use time more effectively to learn about several things in the same amount of time. I find I do far better listening to a lecture whilst toggling between online flash cards, news feeds, and setting up demo systems to play with new technology. So here’s where I get to the point. I consider myself to have a degree from the school of the Interweb. Regardless of whether you go to school or not these spots can help you, and help you for free. The one thing I tell myself everyday besides toilet seat down, is stay hungry. Keep pushing yourself to learn, and even if you think you know it all, refresh, stay sharp, stay hungry for any and everything. So in the interest of keeping this short and sweet here’s a rundown of some sites that can help you sharpen that mind. These are my fav three math, science, and history spots.

  • KhanAcademy– Recipient of a Google Award this free site is one I personally use to refresh my math skills as well as brush up on physics. It’s a great resource for people looking for another way of looking at things in order to grasp some things such as higher mathematical concepts. It has a badge and point system that helps keep children and geeks like me engaged in learning and taking quizzes. Free education is something that sits near and dear to my heart and I find Sal’s idea great and truly inspirational.
  • MITOpenCourseWare – Yes it’s a mouthful, but no doubt you see the letters MIT. This site offers free access to tons of their courseware stemming from Aeronautics to Humanistic studies. They additionally have a newsletter and RSS feed to keep in touch when new content is released. For an overview on accessing this treasure trove of MIT lecture content, check out this short.
  • PBS – That’s right, I’m gonna plug PBS. I would have said the History channel, but nowadays all you can see there is shows about cable guys and ax men. I will however recommend the series they had called America, The History of US. It provides a nice overview on the history of the United States while giving you enough of a taste to get that appetite going for a deeper dive. As for PBS, they now have mobile phone apps that allow you to view their content on the go, as well as the full episodes to such shows as Nova, and American Experience available for viewing. Use this to get yourself learned up on science, history, nature, and even antiques. They even have programs for those with short attention spans like me, where you can get a two minute science hit, or spend thirty seconds getting to know a scientist.

Update: Speaking of the Kahn, here’s a clip from tonight’s airing of the Nightly News featuring the Kahn Academy. Enjoy!

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