authored by: BHS Help Desk junior Danny Piotti
One of the advantages and most exciting aspects of 21st century teaching and learning is the influx of free, high-quality online resources for students and teachers. These resources help promote self-directed, lifelong learning and when a student has their own device, as we do here in Burlington, learning can occur anytime and anyplace. At the same time, this can be a disadvantage because it can be difficult to determine which of the thousands of resources out there are the best. In this post, I’ve taken the guess-work out of the process for both students and teachers and will highlight Khan Academy, CK-12, and Open Educational Resources.
Khan Academy: A Student Perspective
Khan Academy is a top educational application that provides students with free eeducational lessons on a wide variety of subjects. There are currently thousands of Khan Academy educational videos via the organization’s YouTube Channel as well as practice problems and quizzes available to students. Khan Academy offers resources in: math, science, economics and finance, humanities, test prep, partner content, computer programming, talks and interviews, and coach and classroom resources. All of the categories are also loaded with subcategories for more specific courses. Within each subcategory there are lectures, problems and explanations for virtually anything you may need help with.
My Khan Academy Experience
I have used Khan Academy in the past for situations when I missed a lecture and wanted to catch up. Because of the resources provided by this open education resource, my grades have never suffered. My favorite feature about the iPad app is the SAT prep section. What’s awesome about the SAT prep is that it provides a free, full length SAT test and also contains explanations for any type of math problem found on the SAT. Another cool feature about Khan Academy is that you don’t have to have an internet connection if you download the videos onto your iPad beforehand. Khan Academy also remembers the videos you have previously watched if you have an account which is helpful because it saves you time from searching twice. Overall, I have never had a bad experience on Khan Academy and I have found it to be a very reliable source.
CK-12 & OER: A Teacher Perspective:
CK-12 competes head to head with Khan Academy in terms of quality and quantity. It is more math and science based, but it also contains other subjects such as English. There is also an SAT prep section similar to Khan Academy. Under the math and science sections there are many sub-categories containing many different courses. After clicking on a specific subject you will find yourself overwhelmed with pretty much any topic covered in that subject. After clicking on a topic you will find readings, videos, activities, and assessments. There is also a section that contains content that other teachers can add which is nice, but I recommend using these after going through everything else.
OER Commons allows teachers to browse educational resources by content type, subject area and grade level. Resources include activities and labs, case studies, games, assessments, audio lectures, full courses, and more. Teachers can not only use OER resources, they can create and share OER resources using the OER Open Author tool. This tools provides teachers with the freedom to build their own course content by combining text, pictures, sound, files and video. Materials, including all media, can be download as PDFs. Teachers can also join OER groups based on content area and grade level.
Looking for more?
If you are still looking for more learning resources, please visit Open Culture. Open Culture is an online database composed of resources including audio books, online courses, movies, languages, k-12 resources, and eBooks. The site also offers certificate courses and MOOCs. This is a very rich database that can be a very helpful to students and teachers alike.