Friday, January 22, 2010

Another learning discovery: The Gates Notes

Just moments ago, my husband sent me a link to The Gates Notes. In case, like me, your immediate reaction is to wonder how you managed to miss that, fret not - I gather it only went live yesterday.

One huge advantage of being obscenely rich is that Bill Gates can dedicate a great deal of time to learning whatever he likes. Oh for the freedom to do that! The geek in me is green with envy. However, the fact that he's out there doing it and then sharing it on his site, means that I can learn vicariously from his experiences.

As a learning geek professional, my interest is particularly piqued by this post on learning and can't wait to get started on watching the lectures he mentions, simply to feed my rampant curiosity about anything and everything.

It also has more specific relevance to me. My younger son is bravely planning to take history for sixth form without ever having studied it before. Perhaps the Teaching Company Gates so highly recommends will prove to be a way that we can give him a grounding so that he doesn't start the course at a total disadvantage. The down side is the price tags on their materials for a mere mortal with an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

Ho hum, was it Benjamin Franklin who said: "If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."

3 comments:

V Yonkers said...

I would be interested in seeing one of these dvd's. I know that there are alternative ways of teaching people the same material rather than lecture. For my class in international marketing, I am making my students watch a video (it is free at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/time-for-school-series/introduction/4340/) about schooling around the world. The series has looked at 7 students from around the world since 2004. I find that education is very culturally based.

As I was previewing the video, my own kids started watching it and were struck by what they saw. This was not a lecture, nor was it an expensive DVD. It is introduced with some context for the viewer. My kids understood it (as they do the NOVA programs on science and the programs on the History Channel website). It seems to me that the learning company has lectures which I don't think most teens would have the patience to watch. But perhaps I am wrong about the format.

V Yonkers said...

So I posted the last comment, went out to my mail box, and what was sitting there??? A sample of the learning company DVD's along with a catalogue. So I just reviewed it. And sure enough, they are lectures. I know my kids wouldn't be impressed. I have to admit, the professors are very knowledgeable and good presenters. However, I think there is more to learning than listening to "experts."

Karyn Romeis said...

@V_Yonkers Thanks. That's good to know. I am quite happy to listen to lectures (although not all the time, and not just on any subject) but I doubt my son would muster up the enthusiasm!