Advice for Students: Online Software

Julia is a 17-year old junior from New York City. She swims, plays the violin and loves spending time with her English bulldog Louie.
For students trying to challenge themselves with increasingly difficult high school classes, outside tools can be extremely helpful. Many top-tier universities have released helpful educational tools, including video/podcast lectures, handouts and even sometimes tests or exams to help high school students looking to challenge themselves or supplement their high school curriculums or even professionals hoping to expand their knowledge.

Some of the more helpful tools include OpenCourseWare (OWC) and
iTunes U. OWC is a free educational tool accessed online. Universities such as MIT and Yale post video lectures and PDF files on a website that can be accessed by anyone. Courses range in difficulty from intro classes to more advanced and specific classes, and include a wide variety of topics within multiple fields of discipline including science, humanities, math and engineering. Not all courses offer full access, but many courses have enough to be an extremely helpful tool to anyone struggling
with a topic or looking to learn a little bit beyond what their high school classes will teach them. Just this past year I watched an intro to biology lectures while prepping for my high school biology midterm. The class covered exactly what I was learning and helped clear up a few of my questions.

Another great tool is the iTunes U section of the iTunes store. Also completely free, it is open to anyone with an iTunes account.  It has tons of how to and educational tools, not all tied to universities but all helpful. Episodes, which are either visual or audio, can be downloaded individually or an entire class can be downloaded. Prestigious universities such as Harvard, Yale and MIT also offer video lectures.

Most OpenCourseWare classes can also be accessed so that videos can be watched from an iPod or other apple device.  Additionally, for students looking at colleges, this can be a great way to visit a college on a budget; sit in on a class or two with a professor on a topic that interests you and get a sense of what it is like. These tools are incredibly useful and expansive and are a great resource for pretty much anything you are looking to do. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this free resource!

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