Across the world, technology is helping to bridge education gaps and promote learning in a way that is engaging and fruitful.
A number of organisations are disrupting the educational sphere, adapting existing technologies such as open source software, apps and social media and creating new pathways to help ensure that no one in our highly digital world is left behind. Here is a list of useful educational tools that you can access online or download:
New Tools for School
Track your or your child's progress in a certain subject; seek out new ways of engaging students in a topic; or complement school curriculum - these portals provide an integrated means of extra-curricular learning designed to support what your child or your students are being taught in school.
The Concord Consortium
Founded in 1994, the Concord Consortium's number one goal is to improve the delivery of education through technology, primarily in the fields of math, science and engineering. They have published a suite of open software tools that teachers tailor to ther curriculum allowing students of all ages to tackle subjects like leaf photosynthesis, chemical reactions, greenhouse gas and geometry. You can check out their range of free applications here.
E-Learning for Kids
Run by a team of volunteers, this online platform is targeted towards primary-aged children and offers courses designed to boost math, reading and science comprehension that complement scholastic studies. The courses are free and are offered in five different languages.
Created by the founder of Atari, Inc, Brainrush offers a host of online games targeted at a broad age range. The games are are designed to encourage users to think fast and put their knowledge to the test in all manner of areas including math, science, social studies and geography. There's even a feature enabling you to create your own game and share it among the network and the program tracks a students learning progress. Check out their website for more.
Off Campus and Online
Think of it like taking your favourite elective at uni. These platforms publish content and course materials from some of the leading universities worldwide, meaning you can indulge your interests without having to commit to a full degree.
Apple encourages top universities, museums and pubic media organisations to publish their education resources free of charge via iTunes. People can download the iTunes U app and run it via iTunes, giving them access to more than 350,000 lectures, educational videos, language lessons and audio files.
Massachussetts Institute of Technology publishes almost all of its course content online meaning anyone with an internet connection can pore through materials from more than 2,100 of its world-renowned courses and arm themselves with knowledge to address some of the world's most critical issues such as climate change and disease.
Coursera takes a more age and knowledge-specific approach, offering tertiary-level courses free of charge. Coursera partners with a number of top educational institutions around the world, such as Yale University, the University of Lausanne and Copenhagen Business School, to put together a high calibre list of courses that broach topics such as nanotechnology, chemistry, computer science, humanities and much more.
Education for All
From traditional subjects like math and science to learning life skills, these platforms work outside the typical primary-secondary-tertiary model, offering in depth courses that appeal to novices and experts alike.
The world's largest vdeo sharing site has a dedicated section populated with educational videos (youtube.com/education), offering videos on everything from crash courses in algorithms to detailed lectures on physics. The videos are compiled from a bespoke range of uploaders including MIT, Stanford University and the United Nations.
Allversity takes an all-inclusive approach to online learning, hosting free tailored open courses via its digital domain that are designed to have broad appeal, from child to adult, beginner to advanced. The course offering is steeped in both tradition (math, science, history) as well practicality (health, agriculture, life skills) and Allversity works with a number of partners worldwide to deliver their programs in areas where internet access is scarce. Unfortunately, Allversity has reduced its online offering but its lessons are still available for download from the website.
Another online learning tool, this one offers in depth educational tools for children, adolescents and adults and has users dotted across the globe. The content is comprised of challenges, assessments and videos and is paced at the learning ability of each student and allows people to track their progress via stats and graphs. The array of topics covered includes math, science, humanities and history. Check out their online catalogue here.
Glovico uses Skype to help facilitate language learning. Those wishing to brush up on their non-mother tongue can connect directly with a large network of native speakers across the world using Skype. Simply pick the language you're interested in, select a teacher and tee up a video call. Check out the list of languages and teachers on their website.
Interested in finding out more? Accredited Schools Online has a very thorough guide to online learning which weighs up the offerings of the some of the bigger platforms mentioned above as well as a host of tips for selecting the right course and institution. Check out their Online Schools Guidebook on their website.