Rebel View: Free Learning Stretches Beyond High School (part 1)

By Sophia Lavoie

How can you cheat the system, dodge the fees, and still pick up a Harvard lecture or master Swedish? With access to the internet, this knowledge, even mastery, can be seized by anybody.

Duolingo: With 17 languages and counting, all presented in a colorful, graphic, video game style format, your grasp on a second language is not only developed but shown off. Skills are shown to weaken over time with fading hearts and colors, and streaks of playing-practice are rewarded with bonuses as well. So forget the expensive Rosetta Stone, here’s a language program with both direction and evolution through its user corrections.

Justice Lectures with Harvard Professor Michael Sandel: No, college lectures don’t have to be sleep-inducing. Sandel challenges and questions the assumptions and morality embedded in everyone with a 19 episode series. It sounds both like a deep, late night talk with your smart friends, and an engaging court case that keeps changing. Jumping from questions of whether cannibalism is ever justified, to whether taxes are a form of slavery, Sandel makes the discussion relevant to all of humanity.

Project Gutenberg: 50,000 free books, accessible to you through a fairly simple download. While the classics can be hard to get into, as language/time period is usually a barrier to getting into the story, you can use videos like Crash Course to illustrate the ideas behind the books in a chatty way.

Nerdwriter1: Want to learn more about what you already enjoy? The hidden meanings behind movies, music, cartoons, paintings are cleverly unfolded in these videos. No topic is unexplored, from Louis C. K., to Inside Out, to Cezanne, to Alfred Hitchcock.

Khan Academy: is the classic hotbed of knowledgeable videos. For students, the alternate explanations and examples can save them in tough classes. For general curiosity, videos on art history, are interesting because they go beyond the general factual elements into the “why” of the whole culture, artist, and philosophy behind a work.

Freakonomics: Experts answer the weird questions you never thought to ask. “Should Kids Pay Back Their Parents For Raising Them,” “How Much Does Your Name Matter,” and “What Do Medieval Nuns and Bo Jackson Have In Common” have all been titles for the popular podcast’s episodes.

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