By Katherine Pilnick

Throughout young students’ educations, the topics they study have largely been decided for them. They’ve probably spent most of their academic time studying core topics like English, mathematics, science and history, with the possibility of some elective courses and extracurricular activities during high school.

When they go off to college, however, this all changes. Although they may have some required classes, their areas of study are almost entirely up to them. They’ll also be responsible for significantly more work outside the classroom, and their quality of education largely depends on the amount of work they are willing to put in.

That’s why it becomes increasingly important for students to invest in learning innovations and make the most of their time in school. This could mean integrating more electronics into their studies, looking into online tutoring, and getting a leg up on emerging topics and potentially useful skills.

Learning Innovations for High School and College Students

Most new learning tools and useful skills revolve around ever-advancing technology. Such innovations are particularly important if students plan to go into new or growing professional fields. They may need experience with topics like computer science, electronics or Internet marketing.

Students can acquire necessary skills with little or no additional educational costs, as free online training and tutoring are often available. That way, they can enrich their educational experiences without taking on additional costs or debts.

Having these broader, technology-related skills will make students well-rounded job candidates, meaning they’ll be more valuable to companies. This could mean better success at a particular job, more ease finding a job or a higher salary.

Students can broaden their horizons by looking into the following learning opportunities:

  • Free in-person tutoring like that offered by CoderDojo.com, which provides students the opportunity to learn programming from a mentor.
  • Free online tutoring like that offered by Learn to Be, which focuses on students in elementary and middle school.
  • Free online classes like those offered by Coursera.org on a variety of subjects.
  • Academic clubs, extracurricular activities and tutoring available through students’ own high schools and universities.
  • Free course materials from specific schools, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare and Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative.

Students may also want to invest in items and experiences that can help them learn or study.

  • E-readers may be pricey, but electronic versions of textbooks are often cheaper than print versions. Students can also carry all their books around with them and have access to a vast library of other electronic books.
  • Students who are interested in particular topics should look into subscriptions to particular magazines and websites. That way, they’ll be able to find out about the practical applications of their curriculum.
  • If students’ fields of study tie in other cultures, they may want to consider traveling abroad. While not necessarily an innovative learning technique, study abroad is now more common and less expensive than it once was. And with new technologies such as instant translators and GPS, it’s now easier than ever to get by in a foreign land.
  • For younger children who have an interest in working with technology, parents can look into programs like Fire Tech Camp, a five-day camp to teach children about engineering, computer science and technology.

Additional work and investments in student education can pay off for years to come, making individuals more desirable job applicants for a wider variety of positions. Students should invest now in learning innovations to reap the benefits throughout their careers.

 

Katherine Pilnick is a writer, blogger and editor for Debt.org, a financial website.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you for these resources. As a college student I wanted to augment my Political Science and Business Management degrees with a better understanding of programming. I tried taking some computer science courses in the school but they were obviously geared for training programmers, and their course load was high. My intention was not to become proficient in code, I just wanted to know enough to be able to understand the language of programmers, how software is engineered, and managed. I ended up dropping the course, but still regularly attend the schools programmers club. In my free time I use the site codeacademy.com to learn some basic coding.

    On the fun side, keeping up with Randal Monroe’s comic xkcd.com can also be a great way to learn new sciency things.

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