Today’s daily infographic highlights a serious concern – is college still worth the cost?
I have written about Shmoop in the past (see my article: “Highlight of Product at the AP Conference Shmoop“). If you are unfamiliar with Shmoop, think of them as an all inclusive website for study-guides, lesson plans, student and teacher resources, and sample standardized test repository (just to name a few). While Shmoop offers a wide variety of paid resources (inexpensive and well worth the investment it in my opinion), they also have ample free resources for both educators and students.
If you are looking for a great review of material, check out their “Free Learning Guides” that cover a myriad of topics from literature to mathematics. They also have a great repository of learning videos under their “Shmoopsterpiece Theater.”
If you are looking to provide guidance to students preparing to leave High School, try the section on “Shmoop Careers,” where students can take a brief aptitude and interest test and receive guidance, or “College 101,” which can help students to select a college or university that will meet their needs, complete a successful application, and get funding.
New material is added regularly, so this is a site to bookmark!
I don’t listen to a lot of live radio anymore. Instead, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts. I can find content specific to my area and take it with me on the go. Here is a great list of podcasts for Educators (all for free and in no particular order):
Edutopia Webinars - Edutopia presents engaging webinars hosted exclusively for our audience of educators, parents, and administrators throughout the year. These interactive events are free and universally accessible thanks to support from foundations, advertisers, and donors. Each webinar is designed to connect our valued audience with thought leaders in the movement for educational reform, providing opportunities to learn about the latest research, tools, and ideas from experts in the field. Note: Most Edutopia Webinars are large files, approximately an hour long.
Center for Teaching and Learning at Stanford University - The Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning supports the effective communication of knowledge and the love of learning by faculty inside and outside the classroom, by graduate students in their roles as apprentice scholar/teachers, and by undergraduates as they take their place in the community of scholars.
Google Tools - Google is much more than a search engine. It is a suite of free software and services that can enhance learning, engage students, and make the work of teachers easier. This series of podcasts demonstrates the usefulness and applications for some of Google’s most innovative products including custom search engines, Google earth, iGoogle, Google Calendar and Google Docs. Each podcast will consist of a screencast demonstrating the product in action and suggesting applications for use in the classroom.
Department of Education Public Seminars at Oxford University - Public seminars from the Department of Education. Oxford has been making a major contribution to the field of education for over 100 years and today this Department has a world class reputation for research, for teacher education and for its Masters and doctoral programmes. Our aim is to provide an intellectually rich but supportive environment in which to study, to research and to teach and, through our work, to contribute to the improvement of all phases of public education, both in the UK and internationally.
Technology Integration by Edutopia - Integrating technology into classroom instruction means more than teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. Effective tech integration must happen across the curriculum in ways that research shows deepen and enhance the learning process. In particular, it must support four key components of learning: active engagement, participation in groups, frequent interaction and feedback, and connection to real-world experts. Effective technology integration is achieved when the use of technology is routine and transparent and when technology supports curricular goals.
Harvard EdCast - The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast will serve as a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.
NPR Education - From NPR: perspectives on great teachers, the science of learning, classroom dynamics and more. The best of Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs.
For years, online education has been the institution of for-profit educational programs (most famously the University of Phoenix). Now, non-profit institutions are “fighting back” and becoming more invested in online education. Online Degrees has posted an interesting Infographic highlighting the evolution of online education.
The Economist looks at Higher Education in American and examines whether the cost is truly ‘worth it’ for most American students now pursuing 4-year degrees.
It is officially August and most educators are beginning to feel the pressure that is the beginning of school. As we start to look at rosters and enrollment, we start to pull out and revamp old lesson plans and search for new material. As a History Teacher (with a background in archaeology) I understand the relevance and importance of primary sources in the classroom. Primary sources are not solely essays or primary works, but art, photographs, and other avenues of popular culture.
Finding primary source documents on the web can sometimes be a bit of a scavenger hunt. I know that I have spent hours scouring the web for good translations, excerpted texts, or relevant materials. Additionally, incorporating primary source texts can be a challenge with high school children. My youngest kids are ninth graders and often, when I distribute an original text, it is the first time they have seen a document of this type. Additionally, as much as we educators do not like to admit, sometimes it is a challenge for us to come up with ideas and activities to effectively incorporate this material into our classrooms. How do we make this interesting? How do we make this comprehensible? How do we make this relevant? Bringing in an original work and simply tossing it into a classroom environment is a sure-fire method for failure – students will often be confused, bored, and overwhelmed. Teaching with primary sources requires preparation and method.
In this article, I am focusing on six websites that focus on providing primary sources for educators and students. These sites are all excellent resources for educators in the Social Studies with a broad range of topics: American History, World History, World Religions, Language, Literature, Art, and Politics. There are many more amazing resources out there and I encourage you to add yours as well! So, here are my favorite five (presented in no particular order):
What sets Milestone apart from the free resources listed below is that each document is predicated with a succinct contextual/historical statement. Students and educators are provided with a solid background for the text. Most works are also followed up with a critical analysis essay as well as provocative questions. Milestone is an excellent investment for teachers and students alike.
As you can see, there are numerous and extensive resources readily available to educators. The six that I highlighted are a good start, but hardly an all encompassing list. If you have suggestions or additions, please add them here! In the meantime, get browsing for some great material and lesson plan ideas!
I have espoused the value of iTunes U many times. The open-source education repository publishes and distributes (at no cost to consumers) rigorous courses in science, the humanities, computers, and more (see my article – “15 Opportunities for Free Online Education“).
Today, I highlight the course offered via Yale by Professor Tamar Gendler (Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, Chair of the Department of Philosophy at Yale) entitled: “Philosophy & Science of Human Nature.”
Course Description: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature pairs central texts from Western philosophical tradition (including works by Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Rawls, and Nozick) with recent findings in cognitive science and related fields. The course is structured around three intertwined sets of topics: Happiness and Flourishing; Morality and Justice; and Political Legitimacy and Social Structures.”
To experience this free course, simply click this link.
I have posted many times about what a huge proponent I am of iTunes U as a resource for educators, students, and lay individuals with a passing interest in various subjects (history classes, philosophy, learning a foreign language, exploring world politics, etc). I recently posted an article focusing on how individuals who already have college and graduate degrees can use online resources to bolster or even change their careers: “Using Free Educational Resources to Boost or Changes Careers.”
Many Universities have embraced the online format and have begun publishing numerous classes in their catalogues online. These are not ‘new age’ online universities or small liberal arts colleges that none of us have heard mentioned. These are educational powerhouses, such as Yale, Harvard, MIT, and more.
In the past year, the University of California at Berkley as made a concerted effort to make large portions of the catalogue fully available online. Currently, the Spring 2012 catalogue, available on iTunes U has 86 full classes in mathematics, economics, history, the sciences, philosophy, law, and more. These courses range from introductory to advanced and are taught by the leaders in their field. You can view the entire catalogue by clicking here. Remember, you do not have to have an iPod or a Mac computer to play these courses. All that you need is iTunes on your computer (completely free software).
I was recently visiting with a friend of mine who was expressing dissatisfaction in her career and was telling me about her new plan to do a complete career shift. Now, we are in our 30s, well educated, and the thought of going back to school (and adding to already crippling loan debt) can be rather daunting. Instead, she told me that she was planning to take some free classes via iTunes U and MIT OpenCourseware. I had never even considered the potential of these courses for career changes – especially for those who already have college and graduate degrees. However, the opportunities for those who wish to do their own professional development in field as well as broadening their own opportunities are truly boundless.
There are many resources out there, the most famous of course being iTunes U. With access to an iOS device or simply a computer with iTunes (free software), anyone can listen in (audit) classes on a variety of topics: history, philosophy, computer programming, marketing, business, and more. These are not cheap or hapless classes – rather, they’re from world famous institutions like Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford (to name a limited few). Heck, if you’re interested in the Classical World, you can listen to my own educational podcasts (from my years at TCU).
One of the most famous recent announcements has been the Harvard-MIT EdX initiative. Harvard and MIT have come together to offer online course enrollment for a grade (but no degree) for those interested. So, ‘regular joes’ can enroll in some of the most prestigious university courses for no cost and even receive a grade (although no credit).
So while you may not get a Harvard Degree, these courses are an excellent way for adults to hone their own professional skills, indulge a hobby or interest, or even give you the prominent background understanding to change careers!