Creating exceptional and engaging lessons is time consuming no matter how you slice it. And it feels good to be creative and to bake up brand new course material. However, why not see what is out there before you start from scratch? The following resources just might be your new favorite toppings for easier and more effective lesson planning. The following useful content resources include ready-made video lessons, self quizzes, and complete college level courses – all for free!
The Khan Academy houses more than 3,200 free, video lectures on subjects from algebra and art history, to biology, calculus chemistry, physics and more. In particular, Khan academy has an excellent math repository. The video resources at the Khan academy can be used to augment an in-class lesson, assigned as homework, used for flipped classroom education, or employed by homeschoolers for upper-level learning. Khan Academy also features a learning map which has areas to practice various mathematics skills through challenge exercises. Learners receive instant feedback and can login to save their progress which is mapped as they master each skill. Sophisticated, yet simplistic, these lessons could be employed in classrooms from the elementary to university level. Overall, this is an excellent public resource and invaluable classroom addition.
Determined to further the TED mission to spread innovative ideas through video lectures, TED-Ed features under ten-minute animated video lessons. TED-Ed melds real instructor’s lessons with animations to clarify the lesson. Once created, TED-Ed video lessons are free and available to the public. They can then be viewed by the public or employed in or out of class as part of the growing flipped education endeavor. Anyone can suggest a lesson topic for production or nominate an instructor or animator. After clicking to Watch the instructional video, learners can click the Think button for a quiz over the lecture content or the Dig Deeper button for broader, thematic questions or questions that elicit opinions from the viewer or student.
MIT OpenCourseWare features lecture notes, videos and exams for more than 2,000 complete MIT courses – all for free. Each course has a homepage which sports a course description and links to syllabi, lecture summaries, readings and assignments. Of particular interest, the readings links access peer-reviewed literature associated with the course. This fantastic resource could be used to structure entire classes, augment educator’s usual material or learn MIT calibre courses from home. MIT is not the only one! See also Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, EdX, and many more.
Udacity exemplifies e-learning by offering eleven different free online computer science courses. Course offerings range from introductory courses in computer science, physics and statistics to advanced courses such as artificial intelligence and applied cryptography. Udacity sports open enrollment which means students can enroll in a class at any time and proceed at their own pace. Course instructors are even available for learner support. Udacity also issues course completion certificates and is adding new courses all the time.
Studyegg improves upon video content from other sources by creating ongoing assessments for each featured lesson. After the lesson, or even as the video plays, learners can complete the associated assessment questions. Missed questions link the learner to the specific video segment explaining the error. Hatched out of the cram-and-purge “educational amnesia” faced by so many students, Studyegg’s mission is to help students improve their study habits by highlighting and cementing the most important subject concepts to make study time more effective.
Along the lines of TED and Khan Academy, these free full length documentaries can be used in the classroom or for your own education. The Filmanthropy button sorts films by their genre and relation to certain social subjects. Films can be added to your queue just like Netflix. Login to SnagFilms through facebook, RSS, Newsletter, or Twitter. You can also browse films by Channel. For example, search a production or film company such National Geographic or Content Films and it returns all the films placed on SnagFilms from that company.
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