Back to School 2.0


This article originally appeared in 24hrs Vancouver on September 3, 2008.

Back to school 2It’s not just back to school for the kids this week. Anyone can head back and learn; if you just poke around the right places on the internet.

The web is an entire world of learning at your fingertips and as more and more opportunities open up via the internet, more and more educators are harnessing the web’s power to bring more and varied content to their students, be they actual students or just people who like to learn.

iTunes U is a section of the iTunes music store devoted to audio and video podcasts of lectures from university campuses and museums across the continent. All the content on iTunes U is free and available to anyone, not just students.

Actually, you’ve probably already experienced the power of the internet at sharing lectures if you’re one of the more than 3 million who has seen Randy Pausch’s famous Last Lecture.

It’s available on iTunes U, for free, and is the most viewed lecture of the more than 50 000 found on the site.

iTunes U

While many use the web to broaden their own horizons, part of your web searching this fall might be to try and jog your memory to help the kids with homework.

TeacherTube is a great website for both teachers and parents.

It’s been running for about a year and is a great resource for instructional videos on everything from earth science to long division.

In addition to offering students instruction, the site is a way for teachers to share different ways of presenting educational concepts, its teachers teaching teachers.

Some teachers are even taking the idea of online learning one step further, by assigning podcasted lectures for homework.

Jonathan Bergmann
and Aaron Sams of Woodland Park High School in Colorado are putting the idea into practice by podcasting their chemistry lectures for the students to watch at home.

The teachers say the ability for students to watch the lectures at their own pace and stop, rewind, or pause has allowed for deeper understanding and better use of classroom time for more practical, hands on learning.

Jean-Claude Bradley, of Drexel University, marveled at the ability to podcast lectures 3 years ago calling it “a new way to teach,” on his blog.

“I have the chance to interact one on one with every student who needs help with the specific problems that they have. In other words, I can be a teacher again, instead of a parakeet,” he writes.

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