KhanAcademy.org has free preparation for the SAT college entrance exam and other tests. They’re offering hundreds of previously unreleased math, reading and writing questions from old SAT tests, and 200 videos showing step-by-step solutions to each question.
ScienceStudio.org is a collection of science videos, radio programs, animations and photos on the web. They range from well-known programs like National PublicRadio’s “RadioLab” to bloggers at NASA. We especially liked the subject “Why Is It Dark At Night.” (Remember: No matter how silly the research, somebody got a grant for it.)
“Autism Learning Games: CampDiscovery” is an app for autistic kids who want to go to summer camp but may not be ready. It teaches over 50 common household and community objects, helping kids who have trouble telling the difference between living and nonliving things. Graphs track the child’s progress. Works with iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.
“Ken Burns American History” app for iPhones/iPads with iOS 7, the latest operating system. The app brings you highlights from 136 hours worth of Ken Burns videos. A timeline lets you tap a given year. For example, 1930 has clips on jazz, Prohibition, Huey Long, the Great Depression and baseball. Starts out free, then ten bucks.
A lot of newspapers and magazines maintain public photo archives and nearly all of them are free. Recently, the Chicago Tribune” released its crime photo archive of “Gangsters and Grifters:” Al Capone and friends on the street and in the lineup. (They also spent a lot of time in Hot Springs, Ark.)
There was quite a bit of interest in the small research study “Video Games Make Adults Smarter” that we wrote about last week. Though the study group was small, it jibed with our own personal observation of more than 30 years, that playing video games seemed to make people sharper. It worked across all ages. Though it’s generally thought that computer games are mostly played by children, several marketing studies over many years have found that the most frequent game players are in their mid 20s to mid 30s.
Like Bill Gates and many others, we’re big fans of KhanAcademy.com, which offers free lectures in math, science and history. These video lectures are being used to change the usual path of learning: instead of listening to lectures during class and doing problems at night, students watch the video lectures at night and then work on problems in the daytime, with teachers standing there to help.
A new study from SRI International found that using games from PBSKids.org made four and five-year old kids significantly smarter in math. They improved in counting, recognizing shapes and patterns. The games they played, “Cat in the Hat,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Curious George” and “Sid the Science Kid” are all free at PBSKids.org.