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The internet is revolutionising the way people around the world learn. Here are four of the most exciting new learning tools.
The days of a teacher lecturing students while navigating a stick of chalk across a blackboard will soon seem as outdated as writing with a feather dipped in a pot of ink. Here's how the tech savvy are now educating themselves and teaching others.
1. Online videos
Whether you want learn how to create an Excel spreadsheet or weld sheet metal, there's now almost certainly an online video that will guide you through the process. Some of the big players in this field are: YouTube, which has video tutorials on just about everything; TED, which has short talks from a diverse range of world-leading experts; and MIT Video, which is a library of over 11,000 talks given at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There's also iTunes U, which claims to be the world's largest source of educational audio and video with over 200,000 titles available.
A ‘flexible textbook', the Flexbook is a free open-source textbook platform that can be used to build and edit collaborative textbooks. Textbooks look set to become relic of the past, with students of the future requiring nothing more than a tablet computer to download all the information they require.
An electronic portfolio is a collection of created and/or found digital resources. E-portfolios can contain text, images, blog entries, video and audio, multimedia files and links to online resources. They're in the process of replacing the real-world portfolios that creative types used to have to lug around, and students are increasingly learning by checking out others' e-portfolios.
4. Interactive whiteboards
The blackboard may be on the way out, but teachers (and sometimes students) still need to display text, diagrams and other material. Increasingly, this is being done with an interactive whiteboard, a large interactive display that connects to a computer and projector. The projector projects the computer's desktop onto the board's surface where users control the computer using a pen, finger or stylus.
There are so many new technologies helping students succeed at university, TAFE and beyond. And while they might seem pretty old school nowadays, don't forget that there's always the option of downloading apps to your smartphone that will help you achieve anything, from understanding French grammar to learning the periodic table.