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20 Free Online Tools for Summer Self-Education

20 Free Online Tools for Summer Self-Education

Albert Einstein once said that education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. The things we learn today may be forgotten but there will always be something that we retain forever. That means that every now and then we all have to go learn some new things so that we can continue to educate ourselves. If you’ve got plans to do some learning this summer, here are some amazing tools to give yourself a self-education.

1. Udemy

self education

    Udemy is an online course-based website where you can buy and take individual courses. There are a veritable boatload of subjects from languages to computer science, design to cooking, and pretty much everything else you can think of. You buy the course once and it’s yours for keeps. It comes with video and text lectures to show you how everything works. There are even free courses available in most subjects!

    2. Khan Academy

    self-education

      Khan Academy is fairly well known and many people use it to brush up on basic math but it’s also good for learning way more advanced stuff. It has over 1200 instructional videos that cover everything from basic arithmetic to differential equations. It’s totally free to use as well and it has Facebook and Google+ support so signing up is easy.

      3. MIT OpenCourseWare

      self-education

        This is one of the most powerful, fun, and free resources available for learning. MIT has courses available in over a dozen courses from technology to business. You can enroll for free and access all the coursework for free. It’s a great way to learn from one of the best colleges in the United States.

        4. Codecademy

        self-education

          Codecademy is an online resource that teaches you various programming languages. Available is JavaScript, CSS/HTML, Python, PHP, Ruby, and others. It’s free to use and you can log in with Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for easy access. You won’t become amazingly great at these languages but there is no better way to get the entry level and even intermediate levels of programming.

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          5. Harvard OpenCourseWare

          self-education

            Much like MIT, Harvard has a bunch of free coursework available free of charge to the general public. They come in a range of subjects from computer science to literature. Also like MIT, Harvard is one of the most respected college on the continent so whatever they have to teach is worth your time to learn.

            6. Yale Open Courses

            self-education

              Not to be left out in the dark, Yale also offers open courses. Much like the others the subjects are vast and include things like literature, music, finances, business, and others. Like the others, it’s a prestigious college with great professors. It’s also free and that’s good news.

              7. Johns Hopkins OpenCourseWare

              self-education

                Continuing with the OpenCourseWare from various colleges is Johns Hopkins. It’s a world renown medical school with a number of free courses available for those who are thinking of studying medicine or maybe for those who know medicine and need a quick brush up. It has courses on things like child development, nutrition, and even fundamentals on specialties like oncology.

                8. Duke Law Free Lectures

                self-education

                  If you’d rather listen than read then Duke Law’s free lectures are a fun tool to learn some stuff without the bothersome stuff. Just follow the link and pick a lecture to listen to. There are dozens of lectures for a number of years about a number of subjects. It’s great listening for the car on that morning commute or while taking a walk.

                  9. Free Computer Books

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                  self-education

                    The website looks like it was designed in the early 1990’s but rest assured this is an amazing website. Using it you can get hundreds of free books about computer programming, mathematics, data logic, design, and other books. It’s great for anyone looking to get more into computers and it even includes books on Java (Android development), C++ (Windows development), and C# (Apple development).

                    10. Oxford Mathematics OpenCourseWare

                    self-education

                      Most careers require at least a decent background in math. That means if there is any subject that everyone should brush up on, it’s math. Oxford Mathematics OpenCourseWare has a few dozen math courses available that will run you through subjects like algebra, math logic, and even computer math. Oxford is another one of those internationally recognized learning institutions and it’s a great place to learn.

                      11. Lifewrite

                      self-education

                        If it’s writing you need to brush up on, Lifewrite.com is a good place to go. It offers a free nine week course for free along with a number of free tips and exercises. Writing is one of the toughest things to do well and it takes a lot of work and practice to get it right. Why not start off the right way by learning from a professional?

                        12. Purdue Online Writing Lab

                        self-education

                          Purdue University has an online writing lab for those who may want something a little more structured. It includes classes on grammar, writing styles, and even professional writing. It’s a great free resource for any writer looking to brush up on the basics. There are even instructional videos to watch.

                          13. Duolingo

                          self-education

                            Duolingo is a free service that teaches you another language. You can learn from Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and more. There are Android and iOS apps available which are also free. It was a huge hit last year and the courses really do work if you stick with them. It teaches you in the form of a game so it remains interesting even during the hard portions.

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                            14. BBC Languages

                            self-education

                              There is a more professional language resource for those looking to learn a second language for free and that’s BBC Languages. It still has games for those who like them but there are also audio and video clips mixed in along with more classic lessons. The front page hasn’t been updated in a while but the website is still functional.

                              15. iTunes U

                              self-education

                                iTunes U is a unique case. It’s only available for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad so if you don’t have one of those then you’re out of luck. It’s a good resource to learn because a lot of colleges have dumped free stuff into there. You can find subjects on practically anything. There are free and paid courses available.

                                16. Wikiversity

                                self-education

                                  Wikipedia isn’t the most trusted source out there but it is getting a better reputation all the time. Most of the stuff that’s on there is at least mostly accurate and that makes it a pretty decent platform for learning. It uses Wiki’s classic interface to link you to resources, courses, and labs to help you learn a bunch of stuff in a bunch of subjects. It’s a great free resource.

                                  17. Textbook Revolution

                                  self-education

                                    Textbook Revolution is much like Free Computer Books above except that it has far more subjects. This is a resource that is run by students and includes free e-books on a number of subjects. It’s simple to use. You just search for subjects, download the books, and read them on your computer. With the sheer number of subjects

                                    18. E-Books Directory

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                                    self-education

                                      If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Textbook Revolution, you can always try E-Books Directory. It doesn’t have the best design but you can find over 20,000 e-books there in a wide range of subjects. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying you should be able to find something here for you.

                                      19. University of Pennsylvania Book Page

                                      self-education

                                        The last free book resource on the list is the University of Pennsylvania Book Page. Using this site you can gain access to an untold number of free books used by the students of the University of Pennsylvania. It’s a very minimal site so you’ll have to go back to getting used to white web pages with blue links everywhere but it’s still a great resource for free information, essays, books, and other educational texts.

                                        20. History Channel

                                        self-education

                                          Last and certainly not least is the History Channel. The TV channel may have gone downhill a bit over the years but the website is actually extremely informative. I’ve actually used it for resources on essays before. There are lists, random webpages, and other history things. History buffs could spend all day there. Even non-history buffs probably could if they found a fun line of stuff to read about.

                                           

                                          Learning is wildly important because it’s something none of us are ever done doing. The more you learn, the more you know and the more you know, the more you can do. Use these resources to learn how to do a number of things that you can use in real life!

                                          Featured photo credit: AMC Networks via images.amcnetworks.com

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                                          Joseph Hindy

                                          A writer, editor, and YouTuber who likes to share about technology and lifestyle tips.

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                                          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                                          Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                                          Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                                          Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                                          So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                                          Joe’s Goals

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                                            Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                                            Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                                            Daytum

                                              Daytum

                                              is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                                              Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                                              Excel or Numbers

                                                If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                                                What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                                                Evernote

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                                                  I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                                  Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                                  Access or Bento

                                                    If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                                    Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                                    You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                                    Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                                    All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                                    Conclusion

                                                    I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                                    What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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