Seven Online Classrooms Teachers Can Use to Augment Their Own

by Kelly Walsh on January 18, 2012

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Guest writer Samantha Peters brings us an excellent selection of educational video resources.

Information is abundant online. The problem is sorting out the useful stuff from the overwhelming amount of junk that exists on the World Wide Web. Educators are all too familiar with the unreliable nature of information found on the web, and most of us are familiar with having to debunk a student’s insistence that a particular fact was true because a nameless website told him so. But the high volume of untrustworthy knowledge should never overshadow the fact that the Internet contains countless sources of invaluable useful information our students can use to learn about the world and improve their own lives.

When it comes to incorporating this knowledge directly into the classroom, educators need look no farther than the following online “classrooms” that are free to use and highly informative. These video lectures and graphics-assisted breakdowns cover nearly every range of learning, from basic math to radiography courses, and they’re ready to put to use in or out of the classroom, right now.

Youtube’s Education Section
The big kahuna of online video lectures, it’s likely that most of the popular content found on the soon-to-be mentioned sites can be found here as well. From MIT lectures to basics regarding continental drift, Youtube is sure to have an entertaining and informative array of options for any educator’s needs.

TED
What makes TED such a great place to get information is that the speakers come from all walks of life and bring with them a wide variety of unique and insightful outlooks on certain realms of human understanding. Those who speak at TED are always introducing new ideas into the arenas of science, culture, politics, and academics. Such an online source acts as a gold mine of new material for educators.

Khan Academy
The Khan Academy should hold a special place in the hearts of those who teach young people as Khan specifically constructs his lectures to cater to growing minds. The philosophy behind the thousands of hours worth of lectures available through the Khan Academy is that every child learns at a unique pace, so videos provide them with a means to control the speed of their education. Assigning kids Khan videos to watch is a perfect way to hand out homework that’s likely to actually get done.

Open Culture
This free source acts as an aggregate for culturally-significant videos that exist on the web. Whether it’s Errol Morris discussing the subjective nature of historical photography or a recording of John Cage performing revolutionary avant-garde music from an episode of I’ve Got a Secret, Open Culture collects videos with the most cultural substance for you and your students to embrace at your leisure.

CosmoLearning
Similar in structure to the Khan Academy, CosmoLearning collects a whole host of video lectures ranging across a wide variety of subjects. If you need a video to cover a particular aspect of astronomy, there are over 2000 to choose from. Math? Nearly 1700. The major difference between the Khan Academy and CosmoLearning is that multiple instructors do the lecturing here as opposed to one man.

LearnersTV.com
This science-centric video lecture collection is significant due to the breadth of available content through their site. If you click on the “Basics of Biodiversity” for example, you get a series of 10 videos each lasting 2-5 minutes each. Click on the “Fundamentals of Biology,” however, and bear witness to over 57 videos lasting anywhere from 9 to 27 minutes each.

Academic Earth
Academic Earth’s claim to fame is that they only possess online courses from the world’s top scholars. Lectures covering chemistry, economics, engineering, history, law, literature, math, philosophy, physics, and writing are all led by instructors teaching at Ivy League universities and other high ranking academic institutions. If you want your students to have a taste of Harvard level learning, this is your chance.

The information is out there. Are educators taking advantage of it? While some may consider it cheating, the use of online lectures is an amazing way to expand the minds of your students and augment your lesson plan at the same time. If someone else explains the information in a way that helps to capture the interest of your students, then don’t think twice about putting that to use (and it’s an added bonus that the content is free)!

Guest Post written by Sam Peters, who is an avid blogger and manager of theeducationupdate.com, where she covers topics from tech innovations to social media news in the world of education.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
8 Great TED Talks About The Future Of Education And Teaching

7 Stories From Educators About Teaching In The Flipped Classroom
Education Technology Leadership Spotlight: Celebrating the Work of Salman Khan

About 

Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer, and an adjunct faculty member, at The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY and is the founder and author of EmergingEdTech.com. As an education technology advocate, he frequently delivers presentations on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. Walsh is also an author, and online educator, periodically running Flipped Class Workshops online. His latest eBook, the Flipped Class Workshop in a Book was published in September, 2013 and is available here. In his spare time Walsh also writes, records, and performs original (and cover) songs (look for "K. Walsh" on iTunes or Amazon.com or check out his original song videos on here on YouTube ).

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