Showing posts with label independent study. Show all posts
Showing posts with label independent study. Show all posts

Monday, May 18, 2020

Make Mini Books and More With Help from the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress has a great collection of activities suggestions and resources for parents who are looking for educational activities they can do at home with their kids. The collection is called Resources for Family Engagement. Within this collection you will find activity kits that offer directions and ideas for making mini books at home, designing and coloring lighthouses, and creating comics.

Resources for Family Engagement also offers a handful of printables called Color Our Collections. These are free coloring pages based on historic pictures and drawings. You can print these pages as black and white outlines then color them to your heart's content.

Applications for Education
The materials within Resources for Family Engagement are intended for elementary school age students. As the school year winds down and you start to think about making suggestions to parents to help them keep the learning going during the summer, consider adding the LOC's Resources for Family Engagement to your list of recommendations.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Saylor Foundation Launches Independent "Courses" for K-12

The Saylor Foundation recently announced the launch of one of their new initiatives, independent courses. In the title of this post I put quotation marks around courses because it's a stretch to say that they're actually courses. Rather they're more like big outlines for independent study. The outlines include alignment to Common Core standards, suggested learning activities, and collections of tutorials and reading materials. The Saylor Foundation's courses currently include geometry, calculus, algebra, American Literature, and SAT prep.

Applications for Education
I wouldn't set students off to use The Saylor Foundation's new courses as a replacement for direct instruction. I would feel comfortable having students consult the courses for independent review after going through lessons with a teacher.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Learn HTML Fundamentals at Codecademy

Codecademy is a place where anyone can learn how to write code. The only problem was Codecademy's early lessons assumed that you already knew or could figure out some HTML basics. As I learned through Mashable on Monday, that has changed.

Codecademy is now offering lessons in basic HTML and CSS. Now even people who can't code a hyperlink can learn to program. Codecademy's new lessons in basic HTML start with the very basics of explaining what HTML is, what it does, and how to write the basics. There are seven progressively more difficult lessons that students can work through on their own.

Applications for Education
Whether as part of formal class during the school day or as part of an after school club activity, Codecademy's lessons could be fantastic for helping students learn how to develop webpages. Once they have the basics down, students can progress to more difficult challenges like building web applications.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More Free and Open Stanford Courses

Eleven days ago I mentioned a free and open Computer Science 101 course being offered through Stanford University. Today, through Open Culture, I learned that Stanford is offering thirteen other free and open online courses during the spring semester. One of the courses that might be appropriate for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing college programs in healthcare is an introductory anatomy course. The course description promises quizzes that students can use for self-assessment and self-pacing through the course. You can watch an introduction to the course in the video below.

Applications for Education
Open courses like the above mentioned Stanford courses can be a good way for high school students to further their education before leaving high school and moving on to college. If you're interested in discovering more free and open courses, Open Culture has a list of more than 400 courses organized by content area.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GCF Free Learn - Free Math, Reading, and Technology Lessons

GCF Free Learn provides online lessons and tutorials for mathematics, reading, and technology topics. The lessons on GCF Free Learn are a mix of text explanations, interactive displays and activities, and video demonstrations.

In the mathematics section of GCF Free Learn the lessons are focused on the basics of arithmetic. The mathematics section includes some "real life" practice problems using money. The money problems include adding coin values, giving change, and budgeting.

The goal the reading section of  GCF Free Learn is to help adults learners become more proficient readers. The reading section is a mix of sound matching activities, read along activities, and fill in the blank activities.

The computer section of GCF Free Learn is primarily devoted to learning how to use Microsoft products. There are also some sections on Internet safety and a section on using Google Apps.

Applications for Education
GCF Free Learn is intended to be a resource for the independent adult learner. The activities available could also be used as a supplement to classroom instruction. GCF Free Learn is also available in Spanish.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

10 Excellent Ideas for Using Khan Academy in Schools

Last month I wrote about the self-paced lessons that are available on Khan Academy. Those lessons are designed for independent learners to progress at their own paces. But what about using Khan Academy resources with a whole class or a whole school? How can that be done? Dolores Gende has written a blog post about that topic. It What Khan Be Done With It, Dolores outlines ten ways that Khan Academy be used in school. If you're interested in learning about some good ways to use Khan Academy in your school, go read What Khan Be Done With It.

If YouTube is blocked in your school, here are three ways to access Khan Academy without YouTube.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MIT OpenCourseWare on Your iPad & iPhone

As I've written in the past MIT's OpenCourseWare is a great place to find lectures, transcripts, notes, outlines, and videos from MIT courses. While you can't get MIT credit or access the professors, through OpenCourseWare you can access the materials from two thousand courses. And as I've just learned through Open Culture, MIT OpenCourseWare can be accessed and downloaded on iPads, iPhones, and on the iPod Touch.

Applications for Education
MIT OpenCourseWare is a great resource for anyone that wants to learn something new on his or her own.  As teachers we sometimes need a refresher on a particular topic or concept, OpenCourseWare courses could provide us with that refresher that we need. And if you have students that are looking to go beyond the content that you offer, don't be afraid to refer them to MIT OpenCourseWare.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

P2PU - Learning for Everyone, By Everyone

Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of people sharing their knowledge through university-level courses. Experts volunteer their time and resources to create and facilitate courses in their areas of expertise. The courses and their associated materials are free. However, enrollment in each course is limited in order to provide an environment in which the course facilitator and their students can interact in meaningful ways. A new semester begins on January 26 and enrollment in courses is now open. Some of the courses on the course list that should be of interest to educators are Adopting and Authoring Open Textbooks, Collaborative Lesson Planning, Creative Commons 4 Educators, Introduction to Math Art, Mathematics Curriculum Development, and Psychology of Math Learning.

Learn more about Peer 2 Peer University from one of its founders in the video below.

Peer 2 Peer University 2010 from P2P University on Vimeo.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a way to continue your professional learning this semester, take a look at the course offerings from Peer 2 Peer University. If you have students that are interested in a topic like WordPress Development that is not offered by your school, refer that student to Peer 2 Peer University to learn what they can't learn in your school.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Find Self-Paced Math Lessons on Khan Academy

Khan Academy is well known for its collection of more than 1800 instructional math, science, history, and economics videos. Did you know that Khan Academy also offers self-paced mathematics lessons? I didn't until I saw Will Richardson Tweet about a couple of days ago. The lessons cover everything from basic addition lessons to lessons in trigonometry. Each lesson has practice exercises for students to work through. If they get stuck on a problem they can click a "hint" button or watch a video lesson to help them through the lesson. On the exercises dashboard on Khan Academy there is a road map for lessons that shows visitors a recommended path to follow as they complete each lesson.

Applications for Education
Khan Academy self-paced lessons could be a great resource to supplement your classroom instruction. If I taught math, I would make sure that a link to the Khan Academy lessons was prominently displayed on my course blog. The self-paced lessons could also be a great resource for home school students and their parents.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Einztein - Locate Online Courses and Course Materials

Einztein is a new service for locating online collegiate level courses and corresponding materials. Einztein isn't your standard search engine as all courses listed by Einztein are reviewed by a PhD level editorial team. Each course listed by Einztein comes with a listing of the types of materials available for each course. Some courses have audio, video, and documents while other course may only have one or two of those elements. Visitors to Einztein can search for course by keyword or simply browse courses by subject area.

Below is the beginning of a course for high school teachers called Vietnam Now offered by Columbia. The purpose of the course is to provide content knowledge about the Vietnam War for pre/in-service teachers at the secondary level and for college faculty interested in using digital media in teaching this subject. I found this course through Einztein.

Applications for Education
As summer approaches teachers may find themselves with some time to extend their personal learning experiences. Einztein could be useful for finding a course you want to watch or listen to on your own.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Udemy Launches Free Online Teaching Platform
RCampus - Create and Conduct Courses Online

Thursday, November 5, 2009 - Independent Learning Platform is a free service designed to help you learn languages, mathematics, and history independently. At it's most basic, provides a flashcard-like service for learning languages, learning formulas, and learning facts. You can hear the flashcards read to you, read the flashcards, and play games based upon the flashcards you're studying. takes the flashcard concept a step farther by offering a personalized repetition schedule based upon what you've learned and what you haven't yet learned. The schedule adjusts each time you revisit your account. Watch the video below to learn more about how the system works.

If you want to take you're learning on the go, offers iPhone apps. orginally launched in Japan as a language learning system and has grown to include other content areas. They have plans to include content from places like MIT's OpenCourseWare in the near future.

Applications for Education could be a good way for students to supplement the content they're learning in your classroom. For example, the Spanish resources that I previewed could be great study aids for high school students learning Spanish. also looks to be a good resource for students who have an interest in a particular topic when a course on that topic is not offered by their school.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Learning Beyond the Classroom, produced by Read Write Think, is a collection of learning activities that students can do on their own or with the help of a parent. The activities are categorized into four age groups from ages four through eighteen. In addition to the learning activities, Learning Beyond the Classroom offers educational podcasts and videos.

The type of activity that you'll find on Learning Beyond the Classroom for students ages four through eight is a "Shape Hunt" in which children look for and identify shapes around the house. For the same age group there is a mathematics lesson based on a grocery shopping list. For students in the fourteen to eighteen age group there are activities involving blogging, story telling, and letter writing. Take a look at Learning Beyond the Classroom to find something that meets your students' needs.

Applications for Education
Learning Beyond the Classroom is a great resource for teachers and parents that are looking for ways to keep their students engaged in learning during vacations. Many of the activities on Learning Beyond the Classroom could be adapted for classroom use.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
Fun Summer Learning Activities

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Study Tag - Win Trophies for Studying Online

Study Tag is a good resource for students to study and develop academic skills independently or collaboratively. Study Tag has a fun, motivating aspect for students, a virtual trophy room. Study Tag is organized by lessons and courses. At the end of each lesson and course students can test their knowledge. High scores are rewarded with online trophies that students can display in their Study Tag "trophy room."

If you can't find resources for the content you or you're students are studying, you can create your own lessons and courses on Study Tag. If you would like to have your students study together for your class, you can create private lessons and courses.

Applications for Education
A lot of the existing content on Study Tag seems to be designed at an elementary school and middle school level. However, because you can create your own lessons and courses on Study Tag, Study Tag can be used at any grade level. Winning and collecting Study Tag trophies may be a motivating factor to keep kids studying and developing skills on Study Tag.

Here are some related resources that might be of interest to you:
Study Stack - Build Your Own Review Games
Quizlet - Create and Share Flashcards

Save 20% on all books & DVDs from National Geographic!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Tutsearch - Find an Online Tutorial

Tutsearch is a recommendation service and search engine for online tutorials. Tutsearch has indexed more than one hundred tutorial websites. If what they have indexed doesn't offer what you need, try the tutorial search engine. On Tutsearch you can find tutorials for everything from writing html code to improving your command of the English language.

Applications for Education
Tutsearch could be a useful resource for teachers that are looking for websites that students can use for independent learning. If you're a computer science teacher, Tutsearch is especially handy for quickly finding tutorials in html and CSS.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old School Meets New School on iTunes U

This morning while reading Open Culture I was reminded of some free resources that are great for personal learning. Open Culture pointed out that the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford offer good collections of free audio and video podcasts. The episodes can be found on each university's website or on iTunes U. In total there are 136 colleges and universities that offer audio and video podcasts on iTunes U.

Another place to find universities sharing lectures and courses online is through YouTube's education channels. Finding educational material from universities on YouTube does require sifting through some garbage, but if you're willing to do that you can find some good stuff like the Penn State, Harvard, and Stanford YouTube channels.

Applications for Education
iTunes U and YouTube's university channels offer some good resources for personal learning both for you and for your students. If you're a high school teacher and have students that are interested in learning more about a particular topic, consider referring them to iTunes U. Most students are familiar with iTunes, but they might not know about iTunes U. And remember, you don't have to have an iPod to access podcasts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

An Introduction to Calculus from Princeton

For college bound students getting a taste of collegiate level courses before graduating from high school can advantageous. Through programs like MIT's Open Courseware, iTunes U, and the ever-expanding YouTube channels containing lectures high school students have many opportunities to get a preview of college without spending a dime. These opportunities are also a great way for teachers to challenge the highest achieving students.

Add to the list of free courses, Princeton University's Introduction to Calculus. The course offers 24 two hour lectures designed to accompany the book The Calculus Lifesaver. Each lecture was recorded in MAT 103 and MAT 104 during the 2006/2007 academic year.

Applications for Education
While students aren't actually taking Princeton's course, the online lectures are a great resource for teachers of high achieving math students. The online lectures could be a supplement to a high school class or could be used as the backbone for an independent study opportunity at the high school level.