This is the 4th article in a series about using the Internet and social media as an educational resource.
Trigonometry. Physics. Calculus.
Some of you are cringing already, happy to have gotten out of those classes alive. Others – I’m looking at you IT guys – might be laughing pompously at those left-brained losers. To which those left-brainers respond, “Well how did you fare in American Civics or Art History? Not laughing anymore, are you?”
It’s a conflict as old as time. Some subjects, and the classes that go along with them, seem to be GPA killers.
But they don’t have to be.
It’s telling that both my favorite teacher and least favorite teacher in high school were both Physics teachers. What does this mean? It’s not always the message you should blame, but rather, the messenger (ahem, Mr. Scharf).
What it comes down to then, is the format in which you learn. Everyone learns differently.
Whereas one type of instruction works for some people, it may not work at all for another group. In high school, we didn’t have many options for online help. Today, the Internet is full of rich multimedia platforms for learning. And most are free.
While some people may abhor the idea of online education and learning online, it may be an eye-opening and enlightening experience for others. The websites below are a great resource for K-12 teachers and students with tutorial videos ranging from Spanish class to Calculus. Try them out and see if online learning works for you.
- Khan Academy (http://www.khanacademy.org/#) One of the best out there. Packed with over 3,000 lessons, this website focuses mostly on math and science but includes other topics like history as well. Most of the videos use “whiteboard” technology to explain concepts, though this obviously depends on the topic being discussed. It’s worth noting that the site has gotten a personal endorsement from Bill Gates while also receiving 2 million dollars from Google to post more lessons.
- MathTV.com (http://www.mathtv.com) This is an interesting one. Obviously focusing on math, this site takes the approach of going through example problems in a step-by-step method and offering tips to the viewer as they go along. MathTV follows the philosophy that everyone learns differently by providing at least 2 or 3 different instructors per lesson in case you prefer one instructor over another. Often times, there is also a Spanish-speaking instructor.
- WatchKnowLearn.org (http://www.watchknowlearn.org/) This website is a collaborative work. Though they don’t provide their own content, they will provide students with links to other sources on a wide range of topics from Philosophy to ESL. Most of these topics are broken down into sub-categories. The only problem I have with this site is that since none of the content is original, there might be a broken link or two and the quality of the videos vary, but it is definitely a great complementary tool.
There you have it. Help your students bring their grades up by offering them these sites as a resource. Just don’t forget rule number one: No chewing gum in class!
Thomas Samph and Alon Eisenberg, both graduates of Boston University, spent the year after their graduation teaching English abroad in France and Argentina, respectively. Both Thomas and Alon currently work at a New York City-based Internet education website, Grovo.com, a field guide to the Internet that helps people learn everything from Facebook Timeline and Pinterest to how to use Twitter.