Friday, January 18, 2013

Educational websites


The Internet hosts some wonderful resources for learners that offer boundless knowledge to anyone who is willing to make use of it. Here are some such websites that students can benefit from:

Book Boon
Having trouble trying to understand a concept in your course book? Need extra material to help clarify a topic? Want concise notes to assist you in revising the theories that you have already learned? Then head on over to Book Boon, a website that provides hundreds of textbooks online for you to download and peruse. These books, available as PDF files, are “focused and to the point”, and have been written by “highly respected professors from top universities in the world and cover topics such as economics, statistics, IT, engineering, and natural science”. There isn’t much extraneous text wrapped around the core concepts to obfuscate the topic under discussion; the books get right to the point and plainly explain the concepts or theories at hand. And best of all, they’re all available for free! You do have to enter your email address to download the files, and you have to put up with a few advertisements that appear in the books, but that’s hardly a problem when you’re getting all this material for free; you don’t need to dole out more cash on buying additional textbooks if you can find what you need here for gratis. So whether you’re struggling with chemistry, biology, programming, calculus, finance, economics, accounting, management, or a number of other subjects, then visit Book Boon to help you out by supplementing the material in your course books.

Course material
OCW Consortium
The OpenCourseWare (OCW) Consortium is a “worldwide community of hundreds of higher education institutions and associated organizations committed to advancing OpenCourseWare”, which is “a free and open digital publication of high quality college and university‐level educational materials, organized as courses, and often includes course planning materials and evaluation tools as well as thematic content”. You can find course material from a lot of sources, put together in one portal that you can search through to get what you need in a diverse range of subjects. You might need a little patience to plough through the links, but if you stick with it, you can find many useful resources in the subject(s) of your choice.

Learning tools
Initially founded by a student as an easy-to-use tool for learning vocabulary for his own use, Quizlet has since grown into one of the largest educational websites in the world. The service offers “simple study tools that let you study anything, for free”. Students can define what they need to learn, and the website provides the tools to facilitate the learning. There are six different study modes that you can make use of: Flashcards allow you to flip through and familiarize yourself with the material; the Learn Mode lets you track your progress and review the things you got wrong; the Scatter section asks you to match words to their definitions and try to finish faster than your friends; Speller makes you type what you hear and works in 18 different languages; the Test mode prepares you for the actual test with an automatically graded quiz; and Space Race encourages you to earn points by typing in words before their definitions vanish off screen. You can search for material on the topics of your choice or create your own study sets. So whether you want to study art, science, management, or language, visit Quizlet and join millions of students and teachers from all over the world and enjoy the process of learning.

Useful Charts
Some of us find it easier to learn through text, others find it easier to absorb information visually through diagrams and charts. If you fall in the latter category, then Useful Charts was made especially for you. The goal of the website is to “present useful information in the form of charts so that students, teachers, or simply those interested in increasing their general knowledge can absorb the information quickly and visually”. It doesn’t cover everything under the sun and you won’t find a depth of information on every subject, but there is a lot here for visual learners who want to improve their general knowledge and learn about history, science, psychology, and philosophy.

- By Sameen Amer

Us Magazine, The News - 18th January, 2013

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