When You Never Want to Stop Learning

The Jolly Librarian remembers a day, eons ago, when I was in 4th grade in my small rural elementary school’s library. I had embarked on a project of reading all the books in that one room. That day, for some reason, it suddenly hit me that I would never get them all read, and if I couldn’t read all the books in that one library, there was no chance that I would ever know all there was to know in the world. That made me unaccountably sad.

Besides forever establishing me as a nerd, I think this realization also fed my career in education. I just like the idea of learning, and I don’t think I’m alone.

So, in that spirit, every once in a while, I’ll share a link that will be useful to those of us who, still deep down, want to know a little something about everything.

You may remember when distance education was packaged as video courses. You had a book, a syllabus, and usually a study guide. Then you checked out a series of videos to watch. Well, one producer of these series, the Annenberg Corporation, has now put the videos to these courses online for free.

 Now, some are dated, which means for some you might want to take a miss and for others, you’ll get a good laugh at the funny clothes and hairstyles. But in general, they are a good overview of various topics. Here are some that I recommend:

  • Algebra: In Simplest Terms
  • Against All Odds: Inside Statistics
  • American Cinema
  • American Passages: A Literary Survey
  • Art of the Western World
  • Art through Time
  • A Biography of America
  • Bridging World History
  • Connect with English (for ESL learners)
  • The Constitution
  • Death: A Personal Understanding
  • Democracy in America
  • Destinos: An Introduction to  Spanish
  • Discovering Psychology
  • Earth Revealed
  • Economics USA
  • Ethics in America
  • Exploring the World of Music
  • French in Action
  • Growing Old in a New Age
  • The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science
  • Human Geography
  • Introduction to World Literature
  • Learning Math
  • Literary Visions
  • Mathematics Illuminated
  • The Mechanical Universe
  • Out of the Past (Archaeology)
  • Physics for the 21st Century
  • Planet Earth
  • Power of Place: Geography
  • Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives
  • Voices and Visions (Literature)
  • The Western Tradition
  • The World of Chemistry

Some of these are very interesting. I used Voices and Visions when teaching a literature courses. I also enjoy the history ones. The Spanish, French, and ESL all have a continuing story line to help keep learners interested. And the Algebra one is worth watching  just for the first episode where everyone runs away from the mathematician at a party 🙂 Seriously, after watching the first fifteen minutes, I had actually learned something about algebra.

So give these a try at learner.org.


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