Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday Website:
Open Culture

This one is for all the life-long learners out there. Subtitled "the best free cultural & educational materials on the Web," Open Culture is a project of Dan Coleman, the Director & Associate Dean of Stanford's Continuing Studies Program. As he describes it:

Open Culture brings together high-quality cultural & educational media for the worldwide lifelong learning community. Web 2.0 has given us great amounts of intelligent audio and video. It’s all free. It’s all enriching. But it’s also scattered across the web, and not easy to find. Our whole mission is to centralize this content, curate it, and give you access to this high quality content whenever and wherever you want it. Free audio books, free online courses, free movies, free language lessons, free ebooks and other enriching content — it’s all here. Open Culture was founded in 2006.

There are other sites that pull together great educational materials. Many top notch colleges and universities such as MIT and UC Berkeley post readings, syllabi, and video or audio lectures for many of their most popular classes through Open CourseWare projects or iTunes U. TED posts videos of its inspiring and thought-provoking talks on its website for the world to view. Free Technology for Teachers is an award-winning collection of all kinds of freely available websites, with ideas on how they can be used to benefit student learning. I love them all, but a very nice thing about Open Culture is that it's very inclusive in topics and formats, which makes it an awesome place to start.

Students who want extra help, or to learn a language not taught at Paideia, there are links for you. Want to go further into Roman Architecture than you did in World Civ? Learn from a professor at Yale. Psyched to travel, or catch up on the classics of literature? Open Culture links to 20 different top quality travel podcasts and dozens of free audiobook classics you can download to your iPod. And the blog has daily posts that link to all kinds of just really cool stuff -- on Monday it led to a transcript of a 1939 lecture by Alfred Hitchcock on the art of suspense, a great find for all film buffs with hungry minds.

Being a school librarian is a great outlet for a hungry mind. As we work to satisfy student learning needs, we get to learn at the same time. And then pass it on. If Paideia students graduate into a vocation as life-long learners, we'll have done our jobs well.

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