Saturday, January 18, 2014

Learning Online

I'm constantly trying to learn new things. I take classes, read books, ask people to teach me things, but I learn a lot of stuff online these days. I like online courses because I can usually learn at my pace. I can skip topics I already know or repeat videos as often as I like for me to get a concept. Most of them are even free. Today, I want to share my favorite sites with you and if you're an educator, maybe you can use some of these resources to provide a flipped classroom.
Cost: $25/month or $250/year or $350/year
This is where to I go to learn software, anything from Photoshop to Microsoft Office applications and more. I also learn design skills, business skills, and watch the occasional inspirational video. The software training videos are usually more in-depth than what I find in traditional classrooms.

Here is a sample video about proactively managing your career.

Cost: free
I can find videos on just about any topic I want, although I usually watch cooking videos. Food Travel TV English and Bruno Albouze are my two favorites. I learn how to cook traditional Thai food with Food Travel TV. Bruno, well, aside from his food looking super tasty, I just swoon at his accent.

Here is a video for some fried shrimp wontons I think anyone can make and makes a great appetizer for any occasion... unless you're Jewish. The video is in Thai, but there are English subtitles.

One of my favorite dishes is ratatouille and Bruno makes one that makes me want to lick the screen. One day, when I get an oven, I'll even try to make this dish.

Cost: free
I watch these videos to learn new ideas about technology, entertainment, and design. I also learn about education and watch performances that sometimes just leave me with my jaw on the floor.

Here's a video from TED featuring Malcolm Gladwell about choice, happiness, and spaghetti sauce. I like this talk because it clearly illustrates that sometimes, a one size fits all approach isn't the answer.

Cost: free
I'm using this site to learn Spanish and Italian. I live in Southern California and knowing Spanish will be extremely useful. Italian is just interesting to me. As an added bonus, I'm also helping to translate the world's knowledge. To find out more about Duolingo, check out this TED video:

Code Academy
Cost: free
I wanted to learn how to make my own website. I tried to learn Dreamweaver, but I still couldn't get it to look the way I wanted. I knew I had to learn how to code. I poured over's tutorials and learned basic coding, but Code Academy has exercises. I could type something and see what happened.   I think everyone needs to learn some coding in this day and age. If you can't find what you need, create it yourself.

This video is about, but it still explains why it's important for all of us to learn how to code. Whether you use, Code Academy, or, just take a few minutes each day to learn how to code something.

Khan Academy
Cost: free
I feel like the only Asian who is bad at math. Khan Academy is helping to solve that nagging problem. Actually, something clicked in college, I'm fine with math these days, but I still use Khan Academy to practice my math skills and learn new concepts.

Here is talk present by Sal Khan about how he started Khan Academy and flipped classrooms, the latest rage in education. It's insightful and funny.

Academic Earth
Cost: free
I've always dreamed of going to Standford or Harvard or Yale, and now I can, sort of. Lectures are presented by professors from some of the top academic institutions in the country on subjects ranging from art history to calculus to chemistry to mechanical engineering. Now you can hear the same lectures people pay good money for. Watch videos at your own pace.

Cost: free
Pretty similar to Academic Earth, but classes have beginning and end dates and due dates for assignments. You'll get to participate with students who are learning what you are, when you are. Participating schools use us as Guinea pigs for research on education and use that information to improve retention, course completion, and learning outcomes in traditional courses.

Want to find out more about it? Take the edX Demonstration Course.

Cost: free/pay
This site is similar to edX. Okay, I haven't really checked out much of this site yet, but I know you can have access to lectures for free. For a small fee you can sign up for the course and get certified if you successfully complete the course.

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