Wednesday 21 March 2012

With Free Lectures on the Internet, You Don't Need Tuition Anymore

The One-Minute Physics series were created Henry Reich, 25, who explains concepts of physics with the help of his black Crayola marker. By using time-lapsed drawing, he makes complex scientific topics interesting. I like this series a lot - great doodle animation which makes learning fun and more importantly, it is fast-paced (all clips last less than 2 minutes).

The Khan Academy is created in 2006 by American educator Salman Khan, a graduate of MIT. The website has a free online collection of more than 3000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube teaching mathematics, history, healthcare and medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, economics, cosmology, organic chemistry, American civics, art history, microeconomics and computer science. Though the website offers a wealth of information with wide-ranging topics, personally I find most of the video clips rather long and draggy. Well, one man's meat is another man's poison. I heard Abhi (Lim Li's classmate at NUS High) enjoys watching the videos, esp. those on astronomy, physics and math.

The RSA Animate series of video clips present some very sophisticated ideas to viewers. The visual nature of the lectures helps comprehension and helps hold student interest, and aims to air exciting ideas from respected speakers on subjects from climate change to the credit crunch. I think this lecture series is really cool but it may be more suitable for mature learners e.g. JC and above students and adults.

Last but not least, our very own Singapore’s Open Lectures. A community of Junior College (JC) students past and present have banded together to offer free online lectures. The website carries video clips on topics in JC economics and chemistry. Lectures in physics, biology, mathematics and geography will be available later.


Abhimanyu PS said...

Though I do agree that the Khan Academy videos are sometimes quite draggy (and sometimes you can hear birds chriping, his mobile phone ringing and his wife screaming:) ), the main point of Khan's videos are that you can easily fast-forward or rewind them, opposed to an actual lecture.

The reason for the success of Khan Academy is that students learn at their own pace. In the US and many other countries, the concept of "don't leave behind the weakest student" is practised. In some other countries, the concept of "Don't bore the top student" is practised. Thus, some countries lower their education standard until everyone can cope while others improved their education standard until nobody could cope. In both cases, everyone but the top student does not bother to learn at all.

The solution to this was online video tutorials like Khan Academy, which lets students learn at their own pace. Khan purposely makes the videos slightly draggy so that everybody can understand and at the same time, the rest can simply fast-forward.

I have even seen comments on videos covering more advanced topics like:

"My son is just 9 years old and you have helped him learn calculus"

or even

"I'm a 52-year old carpenter who was until recently, yearning for education. And I found Khan Academy, and I'm now in Linear Algebra.".

Thus there have been 136,681,835 lectures delivered when I last checked and it increases every time you refresh the page :)

Ng Bee Yong said...

Thanks Abhi for your interesting comments and the additional info provided on Khan Academy. Agree with your points. Your seem very mature for your age :)

Ian Cedric Io said...

Khan Academy has been a great source of knowledge for me. It is easy, comprehensive and informative. It proves to be the best help for me at home.