Learning Tools of the Digital Age

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by Joanne Oh

Whether it’s in the commons or on the buses, at least half of the students are probably on their smartphones. Technology is rapidly becoming more accessible, and there’s a world of information that can be found with a simple web search. Many organizations are taking advantage of this and are launching free educational programs.

Khan Academy got started because Sal, the company’s founder, posted math videos on YouTube to tutor his cousin. People saw these videos and raved about his clear, step-by-step instructions that suddenly made math understandable. Since then, he has created a not-for-profit to help him teach a host of subjects: kindergarten math up to multivariable calculus and linear algebra, science, economics, history, and even test prep.

John and Hank Green (yes, the former is the author of The Fault in Our Stars) have a massive following on YouTube from the many channels they run and produce. Among them is Crash Course, a series of 10-15 minute educational videos that try to make learning fun. With high quality animation and witty remarks, the goal is easily achieved, giving students an alternative to monotonous textbooks. These videos serve as a great review and come in a variety of subjects: psychology, world history, US history, literature, chemistry, ecology, and biology.

edX is a new nonprofit online initiative that offers free online courses from the best universities in the world: MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, Cornell, and Dartmouth (just to name a few). With a small fee, some classes can be taken for a Verified Certificate of Achievement. While there is a wide range of interesting college level programs, edX also offers 27 AP courses to prepare high school students for AP exams. They can function as a supplement to in-class learning or as a stand-alone to prepare for an exam independently.

Thanks to the internet, there are countless ways to learn, and all it takes is a click of a mouse.

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