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My Favorite Education Hack Tools

Brain FillingI use a variety of tools to Hack my Education.  I think that it is amazing and fun to learn in 2014.  There are so many resources and information is so abundant that there is a nearly an endless amount of things that we can learn.  Don’t worry your brain won’t fill up.

 

Here are my top tools to learn new things.

 

Google

I know it is kind of simple and kind of a little too mainstream to mention Google but seriously, who doesn’t go to Google first to look something up.  I have an Android phone and have no plans on getting an Apple phone.  I love Google.  I can ask my phone any question and generally get a good answer.

Google Hacks

Sometimes we try to search and don’t really get what we want.  Sorry folks it is not Google’s fault it is yours.  To get the results you are looking for here are two great links to help you get the most out of your Google searches.

Tips and Tricks directly from Google  

20 Tips to Use Google Search Efficiently from Lifehacker

 

iTunes U

I promise to get more creative after this one, but it still is a great place to start in learning.  There are so many college courses on iTunes U from all of the top colleges and Universities all over the world.  Some of the highlights are:

  • MIT OpenCourseware
  • University of Oxford
  • Stanford University
  • Yale
  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian Libraries
  • Harvard
  • National Aeronautics and Space Agency

And many more.

 

iTunes

I said I would get more creative and then I go an mention iTunes as another resource.  However looking from the numbers people are downloading songs and entertainment then they are downloading Podcasts.  However Podcasts have so much free information available that it is absolutely ridiculous.  And of course you don’t have to have iTunes to download a Podcast but it makes it easier to find Podcasts and keep them organized.

Here is a list of my favorite Podcasts right now.  I say right now because it is almost always changing.  But these specifically teach me many things that I love to learn.

And there is more but I will leave it here as my top picks.

 

Youtube

Another mainstream site but another one where I don’t think all people realize what a great tool it is to learn things.  I do know that there are many people who consider this their first go to site to learn something, I also know that the top videos are not videos that are learning in nature.  As a matter of fact on a quick scan of the top 100 videos of all time on Youtube none were educational.  So the search yourself.  Follow this link for Youtube’s self published list.

 

Books

There is nothing like sitting down with a good book and reading.  Take it a step further and there is nothing like sitting on your favorite beach chair, deck chair, mountain top rock, meadow, pool side, or pick your location with a good book and being able to sit, read, and just take it all in.  That is my zen.

Here is my Amazon list.  It has many different subjects for you and I have read them all and continually go to them to reread, pick up tidbits, and reference.

 

Mentors and Coaches

I categorize people who I learn from as Mentors and Coaches rather than teachers because these people are usually teaching me by example, or we are simply having a conversation together.  My preferred way to learn is probably from Podcasts or Books because I have a permanent record.  However when it comes to implementing what I learn I like having a coach or a mentor to be there with me.

Coaches are great, they point out mistakes that you are likely to make before they occur hopefully preventing frustrations.  They are there as someone on the outside looking in to help guide you in the right direction.  Sometimes they are a bit hard on you but then again I need that to keep me motivated and paying attention.

Mentors on the other hand are more encouraging by nature.  This is great for your psyche, it keeps you motivated, and lets you know you are doing the right thing.  Mentors help refine your ideas and develop new ones along the way.

The big difference between a Coach and a Mentor is that a Mentor has usually done what you are doing before.  A Coach on the other hand may not necessarily have done what you are trying to accomplish.

Finding someone that is both a Mentor and a Coach is rare and difficult so don’t be afraid to have both.  Take the advice from both, and then make your own decision.

 

TV

I even cringe when I mention this.  However there are a lot of great stations out there that make learning fun, entertaining, and useful.  I have not had cable for 4 years and just recently got it to watch Football.  I have had cable for just over a month and my free DVR is full.  There is no way I am going to watch all the programs but I have a lot of them saved.  Here are some of my favorites and the networks that they go with.

That should get you started.

 

Documentaries

I am in the process of developing my own documentary review site because I watch so many of them I may as well share them.  I will update and include the link here when I have it.  Until then here is a list of my favorites so far.

 

The point of all this is that there are so many different ways to get information these days there there is no reason why anyone could not learn something for free.

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