Get Smart: 10 Websites that Educate and Entertain
Academic EarthWith thousands of lectures from Harvard, MIT and Stanford available for free, Academic Earth has a remarkable spread of information across multiple disciplines. There are over 750 courses to embark upon, from Roman Architecture to Dental Anatomy – sure to keep you busy for years to come.
Associated PressThe associated press provides news without the bias – the source material for many of the biggest agencies. There’s photojournalism of the highest order and articles are consistently snappy and engaging. The “10 Things to Know for Today” feature is a great way to stay up to date on current affairs.
CodecademyCodecademy has made learning to code (relatively) easy with their new platform thanks in part to a straightforward, chirpy UI. The API lessons are the best around, and you can build Web Projects too. Over a billion lines of code have already been submitted to Codecademy, and that number looks to rise.
DuolingoPicking up a new language can be really tough, especially when you’re faced with a hefty textbook and a blank paper pad. Duolingo turns the whole process into a game that’s apparently more effective and time-efficient than a university-level course. The accompanying mobile app is a fantastically well-designed resource and also free.
HowStuffWorksHowStuffWorks has won a ton of Webby awards and was featured in Time magazine’s “25 websites we can’t live without”. Alongside insightful and often humorous blogs, there are videos, quizzes and games – all with a focus on imparting knowledge in an engaging way. “Today’s Mind-Blower” gives readers a quick fix of boggling info.
Khan AcademySet up by a hedge fund analyst whose YouTube videos took off, Khan Academy is a video-based learning resource where real experts share their knowledge. It has an impressive six million users every month working at challenges and assessments, presumably hoping to achieve a legendary Black Hole badge.
Mental FlossWho can resist a repository of random zany facts? The “Most Interesting Fact Generator” will satisfy even the most inquisitive of nerds, while the ability to answer questions keeps things interactive. Mental Floss will, as one of its subsections promises, help you be more interesting.
National GeographicIf breathtaking images are your thing, National Geographic is sure to impress. Currently celebrating its 125th anniversary, the magazine has a great sense of adventure and its writers demonstrate a clear love of nature. @NatGeoExplorers provides a brilliant feed of bite-sized facts and worldly insight to keep you hooked.
Project GutenbergProject Gutenberg has compiled over 42,000 free ebooks. Each is painstakingly proofread and made available from one remarkable database. From Peter Pan to Ulysses, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into. And you can even get files onto a Kindle device of your choosing, at no extra cost.
TEDConcerned with nothing but technology, entertainment, and design, TED is dedicated to spreading (good) ideas. Its founder, Richard Saul Wurman, coined the expression “information architect” – impressive, huh? TED revolves around an annual conference with a time limit of 18 minutes on each speech. So far, talks by the likes of Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and Richard Branson have all been posted online. Photo by Matt & Nayoung
John Dilley continually offers unique insights and a fresh point of view. He writes for several websites including CableTV.com and HighSpeedInternet.com. Along with writing, John has a passion for music. He is the lead vocalist and secondary guitarist for The Family Gallows in Salt Lake City. John also shares his personal ideas and philosophies through stories he publishes on his blog, JDilley’s Questions.