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Britannicus


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 3:16am Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
…All right, it’s summer(ish), and I’m bored out of my mind. Makes me kind of miss school. …Well, not terribly. But I do miss the easier access to books and teachers and basically that whole wealth of information that school provides. You know how we’ll all occasionally see something interesting and think, “Oh! I want to know more about that!” Unfortunately, I’m too lazy to walk to the library each time a question mark pops up over my head, so I’ve found a few websites that offer free lessons and lectures on a variety of topics. And since all good things should be shared, I’m posting them here. (I hope that’s okay, Atari!)

These are all based on interests I’ve personally had over the past few months, so obviously there are going to be lots of gaps where whole subjects are ignored entirely. So if you have a website you know of, please mention it and I’ll add it here! (Mind you, I'll only include FREE stuff. Poor college students and all. )

The categories are a little wobbly right now, but they’ll probably get straightened out eventually. (And if you find a problem with one of the links, please let me know!)



GENERAL
BBC Website: Loads of gems here. Surf around a bit, you'll find a lot.
Free Video Lectures: Provides video lectures on a large number of topics, no registration required. I've poked around a bit and I think I'm in love. Good quality stuff.
Annenberg Media: Covers the following topics: Arts, Education, Education Reform, Foreign Language, Literature and Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and History. The free ones are identifiable by a little icon with the letters “VoD” in it.
ARC LINKS: There’s everything from computer programming to careers to ecology.
Free-Ed.Net: A few at random: Accounting & Bookkeeping, Anthropology, Meteorology, C++, Spanish.
Tufts OpenCourseWare: Mostly science-related courses, but a few that are not. Lots of medicine-related stuff, some physics, and some public relations ones.
Federal Resources for Educational Excellence: Again, there’s a huge variety. Large focus on the US when it comes to the history and government courses, but there are some World Studies ones as well.
Free Science and Video Lectures Online: Programming, maths, engineering, history, psychology, physics, chemistry and biology...
The Open University: Arts and History, Business and Management, Education, Health and Lifestyle, IT and Computing, Mathematics and Statistics, Modern Languages, Science and Nature, Society, Study Skills, Technology, and various How To subjects.
MIT World: Videos are free and on-demand. Some very interesting topics are discussed on top of covering the usual stuff.
OpenCourseWare Projects: Links to other schools that provide online material.
Webcast Courses from Berkeley: Provides mp3s and/or videos for most of its courses.
World Lecture Hall: Huuuge number of subjects covered. Some just link to class information, but by using the sorting tool, you can make it only show you video results or audio or just the course notes.
WGBH Forum Network: Tons of online video lectures available, things can get really interesting here.

ASTRONOMY
Astronomy NZ: Information about the southern night sky, lastest astronomy news, Stonehenge-Aotearoa, Maori astronomy, Phoenix Astronomical Society, AstroShop and more.
Journey Through the Galaxy: This is a "mini-net" of pages that explores our solar system, stars, extra-solar planets, the theories about the past and future of the universe, and human exploration of space.
Constellations: This provides very detailed histories of what the constellations are supposed to represent, as well as the individual stars that comprise them. I’m calling this astronomy not only due to the technical details it provides, but also because it’s not asking you to believe your hair will catch fire every time one thing or another is in conjunction with something else.
Gravity Simulator: This is a program download that is unimaginably entertaining. You can use it to set up your own solar system and the like. Then you speed time up and watch things go haywire based on the coordinates you’ve set. There are also some neat demonstrations that come with it that let you watch the moon forming and whatnot. Very cool.
Space Audio: Listen to the sound of lightning in Saturn’s atmosphere, the earth “whistling”, and more. Really amazing.

LIFE SCIENCE
Bioimages: Wonderful site that lets you select a particular ecoregion (USA only, sorry) and it'll show you the conservation status, all the native animals and plants, etc. Even if you’re not interested in the status of US biomes, there are loads of other fascinating things. Lots of pictures, explanations, and more. My own area is in the Wasatch and Unita Montane Forests ecoregion. With 303 native animal species listed!
Biology 1114: Streaming biology video lectures. Good for review.
Comparative Physiology: Streaming video lectures on said topic.
Discover Life – Identification Guides and More: Very useful site for figuring out what kind of plant, animal, or fungi you’re dealing with based on the data you input. Lots of interesting information too.
Wintner Organic Chemistry: Video lectures for organic chem.
Biology Web Sites: List of Biology-related websites.

MATHEMATICS
Cool Math: Puts math into more…understandable terms. From basic math up to pre-calculus. I need this website a lot. Also, there are problem-generators for many of the sections, which help you get familiar with the process of solving things.
Math Magic: Fun little tricks and shortcuts for solving some basic math problems. It’ll show you how you can divide 92000 by 5 in your head in no time flat. It’s kinda cool how these shortcuts work – almost makes math interesting for a moment.
WannaLearn Mathematics: List of websites, one or two of which I think I’ve mentioned before. Looks like basic to advanced math is covered.

PHILOSOPHY
EpistemeLinks: Massive list of links to philosophy sites across the internet. Good organization, easy to navigate, and it looks like they have a sense of humor too. Always nice to see that.

MUSIC
Irish Bouzouki Video Lessons: Video lessons for how to play the bouzouki. Free. The videos were having difficulty loading when I first tried them, but the website may be having a bad day. I'll check back on this.
Violin Masterclass: Free guides and videos for those who wish to learn to play the violin or improve techniques. Registration is free, but there is a guest access available as well.

LANGUAGES
Languagehat: Not only a great resource for discovering different languages, but also for appreciating langauge itself and its everchanging ways. Many interesting tidbits, tales, and histories await.
Icelandic Online: Its courses are free. It looks like it requires registration, but nothing terribly complicated and again, all free. Plus there is a handy little demo available for navigating the site.
Learn German: Good website, I use it all the time now that I've decided to relearn it all. Good format, and handy quizzes to help track your progress.
Latin-English Dictionary: Well...if you want to make up your own Harry Potter spells. You'd have a hard time learning the language itself, but it is a good supplementary website outside of basic lessons.
Free Online Language Courses: Dozens of languages here...links you to free lessons on the web.
Transparent Language's BYKI Express -- free program that uses (in my opinon) a nicely effective audio flashcard system that will help you remember important words and phrases. Many, many languages available and you can download as many languages as you want. There are also word lists that users have submitted. Downside (with both the Express and as far as I can tell, the paid version too) is that it is not very heavy on grammar acquisition. Handy for those that are planning on traveling to a foreign country soon or are simply curious about different languages.


ONLINE BOOKS
LibriVox: Free AUDIOBOOKS -- all books are those that are in the public domain. Read by volunteers.
Page By Page Books: Hundreds of classical books online, all free.
Free Novels Online and Free Online Cyberbooks: Novels that have been promoted online only, presented free here in html or downloadable file.
The Free Library: News, magazines, journals, reference articles, and classical books.
Bookyards Library of the World: A web portal in which books, education materials, information, and content will be freely to anyone who has an internet connection.

GENEALOGY
RootsWeb: Free.
Family Search: Also free.
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites: Links to hundreds of sites to help with your search.

OUTDOOR SURVIVAL
Wilderness Survival Skills
Foraging Pictures: Pictures of edible/inedible and medicinal wild plants.
Survival IQ: Loads of articles for how to better survive if you’re caught in the wild. How to find food and water, build shelters and tools, etc.
Wildwood Survival: More tips and tutorials.
Plants For A Future: Not necessarily about survival, but a really good resource for the uses of thousands of plants.

FUN!
Jay is Games: Huge collection of games, ranging from classics to recent downloads. Also offers reviews and game walk-throughs.
Orisinal: More games! Lots of fun stuff, and the layout is really neat.

MISCELLANEOUS
Look At This: "Bringing you the best and the worst of the Inter-Web,and other stuff with a "Newcastle" theme." Contains not only educational articles, but also games, fun videos, and every strange, amusing thing you can think of. I think I'm in love.

"Your room...it's CLEAN!!!"
"I prayed to God...and...it happened...but...where's my million dollars and horse!? Damn it!"

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 10:39am Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
Or you could explore the BBC website for practically everything, including educational websites. Try it Britannicus. Great history pages, and even though you're already an English speaker try looking at the phonemes page for learners of English. Learn the phonemes and then learning to speak in other languages can get a little easier.

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rawlini


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 12:37pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
http://www.epistemelinks.com

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Trouble


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 3:03pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
You like school then? Personally I hated almost every minute of it. Mainly because it was all about passing your next exam and the pressing questions you did want to ask were never answered ... oh, and I got bullied, for being reasonably intelligent.
The only lessons I enjoyed were English, RE and PE and that was down to the teaching; our RE teacher once spent half a lesson describing Roman forms of execution and torture in exceptionally gory detail. He also used to dispel the myths behind Bible stories and explain them from a historical / scientific point of view. And he was a vicar outside of school. I thought he was ace
I think schools should make the following compulsory:

-Philosophy
-Sex in a contemporary context, not relating to the 1940's, which apparently is where the government think teenagers live.
-How to manage finances
-History from start to finish (and make it jolly well interesting)
-Politics (because very few of my generation seem bothered any more)
-Geography (as in where places are and the context of the country. Not the advanced colouring in that passes for a geography lesson)
-RE, or RS or whatever they call it these days, because knowing about religion and its history informs almost every other subject.

However, maybe my syllabus would be deemed just as bad as the government's. I mean how do you test philosophy?

Anyways, enough of an eductaional rant, you do right to sort out your own study, I find that the people who ignore set education and teach themselves tend to be the ones who do better in life.

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Just_a_Norwegian


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 3:07pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
Good idea!

Some I've been using lately:

General: http://freevideolectures.com/

Learn Icelandic: http://icelandic.hi.is/

Video lessons Irish Bouzouki (my obbsession at the moment, sorry.. :-//) :http://cbom.free.fr/lessons.htm

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trouser material


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 3:17pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
You like school then? Personally I hated almost every minute of it. Mainly because it was all about passing your next exam and the pressing questions you did want to ask were never answered ... oh, and I got bullied, for being reasonably intelligent.
The only lessons I enjoyed were English, RE and PE and that was down to the teaching; our RE teacher once spent half a lesson describing Roman forms of execution and torture in exceptionally gory detail. He also used to dispel the myths behind Bible stories and explain them from a historical / scientific point of view. And he was a vicar outside of school. I thought he was ace
I think schools should make the following compulsory:

-Philosophy
-Sex in a contemporary context, not relating to the 1940's, which apparently is where the government think teenagers live.
-How to manage finances
-History from start to finish (and make it jolly well interesting)
-Politics (because very few of my generation seem bothered any more)
-Geography (as in where places are and the context of the country. Not the advanced colouring in that passes for a geography lesson)
-RE, or RS or whatever they call it these days, because knowing about religion and its history informs almost every other subject.

However, maybe my syllabus would be deemed just as bad as the government's. I mean how do you test philosophy?

Anyways, enough of an eductaional rant, you do right to sort out your own study, I find that the people who ignore set education and teach themselves tend to be the ones who do better in life.
Welcome trouble. Your post has been the most intelligent and level headed thing i've read in ages. I hope you settle in here nicely.

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Britannicus


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 4:47pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
Or you could explore the BBC website for practically everything, including educational websites. Try it Britannicus. Great history pages, and even though you're already an English speaker try looking at the phonemes page for learners of English. Learn the phonemes and then learning to speak in other languages can get a little easier.

Ooh, I forgot to put BBC up there! Wonderful site. Their science & nature section is pretty nice, too. Thanks for the reminder!

"Your room...it's CLEAN!!!"
"I prayed to God...and...it happened...but...where's my million dollars and horse!? Damn it!"

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Britannicus


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 8:20pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
Anyways, enough of an eductaional rant, you do right to sort out your own study, I find that the people who ignore set education and teach themselves tend to be the ones who do better in life.

Welcome, Trouble! Great to see you here. I think Trouser is right about you... I certainly wouldn't mind seeing your syllabus practiced. The ones they stick us with are usually pure drivel.

X-D at the sex education. I think it was illegal for my teachers to even mention condoms and the like. Ridiculous. And I only graduated high school last year.

It would really be great to see some politics in the high school credit requirements like it is in college. As long as they don't force existing teachers to teach it during their old prep periods, of course, like they did at my school. For all the trouble they went to, it ended up only being a rehash of all the stuff we'd already learned about American government over the years, it didn't cover any of the topics relevant to the elections or anything. Which was rather odd, seeing as the whole point of the class was to make us more informed voters. I still don't know the different between a democrat and a republican though.

If only every school had a dozen teachers like your RE one. I've come across one or two of them myself. Those are the teachers that make school worthwhile, and NOT just a meaningless cycle of memorizing facts. I'm sure many teachers WANT to be like that though. More probably would be if they were allowed a little more freedom in what they could teach. It's a shame.

"Your room...it's CLEAN!!!"
"I prayed to God...and...it happened...but...where's my million dollars and horse!? Damn it!"

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 9:20pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally

I think schools should make the following compulsory:

-Philosophy
-Sex in a contemporary context, not relating to the 1940's, which apparently is where the government think teenagers live.
-How to manage finances
-History from start to finish (and make it jolly well interesting)
-Politics (because very few of my generation seem bothered any more)
-Geography (as in where places are and the context of the country. Not the advanced colouring in that passes for a geography lesson)
-RE, or RS or whatever they call it these days, because knowing about religion and its history informs almost every other subject.


Philosophy would be good to study in school as would politics and government.

RE is compulsory in schools but is just a load of bollocks. It felt like the biggest waste of time. Didn't learn the ins and outs religions other than their views on abortion, euthanasia and marriage. It was terrible. All we ever did was copy out bullet points from text books and never discussed anything and when we asked questions we were told to shut up and carry on writing.

Sex education varies across the country. In my high school it was particularly excellent and lasted a whole half-term covering everything from the biology to the facts about STDs, from how to use different contraceptives to issues about sexuality. I really think sex education is important. I find it shocking that some schools don't teach it and instead just teach abstinence. Teenagers need to be taught the facts so they can take responsibility for their own decisions and understand their options better. Teaching abstinence is like burying your head in the sand.

Geography nowadays just boils down to environmental science learning about things like pollution. Heaven forbid they'd teach you anything like where the hell anything is in the world.

More history would be good. The amount of history people seem to know about never fails to surprise me. People just don't seem to care. I'd like to see more local history and heritage taking prominance as well.

Managing finances and I think learning about other related stuff that you're going to have to deal with in the adult world would be beneficial.

Assuming direct control...

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AxmxZ


Moderator

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 9:33pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
The best language site, in my opinion, is http://www.languagehat.com/

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Britannicus


Member

Posted Sun Jun 17th, 2007 11:01pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
Very cool, thanks AxmxZ!

"Your room...it's CLEAN!!!"
"I prayed to God...and...it happened...but...where's my million dollars and horse!? Damn it!"

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Anonymous


Unregistered

Posted Mon Jun 18th, 2007 12:47pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
I think grammar should be re-introduced to the British curriculum. It's absence puts us way behind other countries in languages.

Difference between Democrats and Republicans - as explained by Alan Bennett to Dudley Moore in a Beyond The Fringe sketch (1960)

'In America they have a 2 party system, you see. Theres' the Republican Party which is the equivalent of our Conservative Party, and the Democratic Party which is the equivalent of our Conservative Pary.'

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amyl_nitrate


Member

Posted Mon Jun 18th, 2007 3:33pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
I think grammar should be re-introduced to the British curriculum. It's absence puts us way behind other countries in languages.


I agree. Spelling and grammar seem to be falling ever rapidly downhill, even more so since texting became popular. So many people just can't be arsed with learning anything so then they're fucked when it comes to writing anything important. They didn't teach us grammar at school, just your basic punctuation. The little I did learn about grammar I read in a Ladybird book. Then in the last two years I've been discovering there's so much more that that little book didn't tell that I've never heard of. I come to places like this and watch shows like Never Mind The Full Stops and realised how we were really taught sod all about the English language. I think they should make learning a foreign language compulsory again. It's totally daft how they're going about it. Just a year or two ago they changed it so that at post-14 you can drop foreign languages altogether and now they're talking about bringing them into primary schools! They should follow it through all the way. There are nurseries that have already started teaching French which I think is a great idea. It get's them hearing a different tongue and they do pick up the odd word and phrase.

Assuming direct control...

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joan


Member

Posted Mon Jun 18th, 2007 4:01pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
I think grammar should be re-introduced to the British curriculum. It's absence puts us way behind other countries in languages.
.'
I agree completely. When even English teachers here use phrases like 'between you and I', not only have they no idea it is wrong, they ususally don't even understand the reason why it is wrong when you tell them. It's no good saying " don't use 'I' after a preposition" when they have no idea what a preposition is. It is no use talking about number case and gender: alien concepts. You have to keep it simple.

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holdthenewsreadersnose


Member

Posted Mon Jun 18th, 2007 6:53pm Post subject: How to Get Your Brain Ticking Occasionally
I'm reading Steven Pinker's "The Language Instinct" at the moment, and it's very enjoyable - a trip to the gym for one's grey matter. Dan Dennett's "Breaking the spell" is an entertaining read as well.

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