Random thoughts about Online Learning sites

I enjoyed the sites Susan suggested looking at.

At TeacherTube,  I found a great introduction to learning grammar video aimed at middle schoolers. I’m considering going back and viewing each of the eight videos the narrator indicated are in the series. The content was direct, uncluttered and easy to understand.

The Khan Academy was over my head in terms of content; science/math are not my strong suite. That said, the lessons are well done.

The WatchKnow videos I happened to choose (penmanship,  and writing) were from TeacherTube and MonkeySee which were sites we were to look at anyway. In general  WatchKnow would be a good site start with  if one was just  venturing into using online content to supplement instruction.

I’ve found that developing a comfort level with how a site “works”  is useful for then I can pay more attention to the quality of the content.  WatchKnow offers exposure to content from a variety of providers which would help make it possible to develop a sense of what’s “out there” and what is good what is not.

At Instructables, I found a video that showed me how to make new Christmas/greeting cards from old Christmas/greeting cards, something I have wanted to learn how to do.  I did think the site was cluttered by ads. I don’t know if I’d go to the site enough to justify a paid membership though.  Still, I really like the kinds of content it has.

At Grabber, I found  videos on how to make a Tee-shirt quilt and a Rag quilt. I’m realistic enough to know I don’t have time to quilt but have always enjoyed needlework and used to sew some of my clothing – no time for that now.  The four-part video on the Tee-shirt quilt was particularly well-done. The variety is very good for the different topics but as with many videos, the quality is only as good as the work of the person who made it.

At MonkeySee I looked at a series on how to dry flowers and  several in a series on teaching your kids about money.  I liked the array of topics available here also.  I did find the fact that the video topics were segmented a bit odd.  Part of me wanted the topic to be continuous but on the other hand, it was useful to know that if I were busy, I could watch a segment, and come back to the next portion when I had time because each segment in the two topics I looked at, started and ended at a logical point in the topic.

I am so thankful for the vast array of content on line to learn from. The convenience and reasonable cost, including “free,” is wonderful. The ability to do things at my own pace and convenience is also a plus as I do tend to do well as an independent study learner.

Online learning also has a benefit  that not everyone would think of.  As someone who doesn’t drive, the ability to stay current and involved without first engaging in creative thinking about logistics is such a relief!  Case in point – NCompass Live and  Ed2Go offerings through SCC’s Cont. Ed division, help me keep my Cont. Ed requirements up to-date or to strengthen job skills right in the comfort of my office!

I don’t see such online resources as competition for our library resources but as a compliment to them. Not all of our users are print oriented. Moreover, even if we do have video or other “how-to-content,” maybe that particular presentation of the content doesn’t reach the user – ie, it isn’t presented in a way the user “gets.”

The vast array of online sources offer the potential for a variety of  short videos on the same topic thus increasing the possibility that our patrons will find one that explains what s/he wants to know in a way s/he finds truly accessible.  Our users may also find online resources a good thing for all the reasons I  do – and some I haven’t thought of.

Our job as librarians may be one of  helping our patrons find and choose good, reliable content. Maybe what I’m suggesting here is that as the amount of available content grows exponentially, our skills in selection, evaluation,  and “reader’s advisory” may be ever more important.

In a separate post, I’ll share some of the online sites I’ve found for  learning and exploring.  Some are online courses at the collegiate level, and while  not necessarily available for credit, I’ve found the courses worth my time to broaden my education.

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