Friday, March 4, 2011

Learn for Free

Geometry student's graphic repeat cell

This is an exciting time for education. Digital media and connectivity make it more possible than ever to learn what you want, when you want, applying it as creatively as possible. Here's a list of free resources that I've come across that can help both students and, well, I was going to say out-of-schoolers - but we really all should be continually learning at this point.
Free SAT, GRE and GMAT standardized test plans and problems. Has a nifty feature that can print you out an eight week study plan. Totally costless, has a thousand vocab words.

Classes from MIT
I spent one summer in high school studying at MIT and fell in love with it. Even though I went to University of Virginia, it's been in my heart ever since. MIT now offers many of its classes online FREE, calling it Open Courseware. Chemistry, economics, urban planning, engineering, it's all there. Some courses have notes only, a few have multimedia.

Classes from Everywhere
Organized by language, this site lists universities that offer Open Courseware similar to MIT's program. Notre Dame, Michigan, even Oxford's Mathematical Institute let you learn, self-paced, without cost.

Teach Engineering
Standards-based engineering lessons and activities, searchable and sortable by age and discipline. Great for encouraging students to think and collaborate, with lists of materials needed and how long activities should take.

The Art of Problem Solving's free, challenging and slightly addictive math tutorial. What I like about this site is that you sign up and are given a math problem to solve. If you get it right, the program bumps you up to harder problems. Get it wrong, and you'll work through more problems until you understand the basics. You score points and can compete, see your rankings, and if a whole class does it the teacher can view class stats. Many math disciplines treat subjects like silos, going deep into algebra or geometry but never mixing the two. An engineer might have an issue that requires algebra, geometry, logic and be open-ended; Alcumus comes up with problems that (in my opinion) more closely simulate the real world.
I've spent my share of time playing pointless but fun online games. This link gets you to more point-full games that integrate physics concepts, mechanical knowledge, and oh, by the way, are just as easy to fritter away time on. The only difference is that you'll be sharpening your mind.

Amazing lectures from TED
I've so enjoyed learning obscure, wonderful things from TED, a nonprofit that has as its goal sharing ideas. They invite speakers who are inspiring, strange and informative. In the last few days I've watched the world-champion whistler, learned about bioluminescence and saw a mathemagician.

That's probably enough for now. I've got tons more, if anyone wants particular help finding math vs. engineering vs. something else, let me know!


  1. Very interesting SAT article!!
    I would like to comment that SAT test-takers maybe find helpful the new SAT math forum at
     SAT math 4u

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.


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