Welcome to the 21st century, where knowledge abounds at one’s finger tips – often for free….
To many people, technology means video games, music, Twitter, Facebook, and email. While these are great tools, I fear most of us under use the greater capabilities of the Internet that are now available to us.
Less than 20 years ago, the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1947, 45 years before) were almost completely unknown to people, including most scholars. With the exception of a few scrolls that had been translated, thousands of scrolls and fragments still remained sequestered in the clutches of an elite few. Suddenly, technology allowed scholars and students to reproduce some texts by using a published index of each word. Then, high quality photographs of the scrolls were soon released. The scrolls were freed, and in the last 20 years, the majority of the scrolls have been translated and given to the world.
BYU had an early hand in digitizing the texts, and using new technologies to “see” text that had faded over the millennia. Now, Google is beginning to put the scrolls online for free:
This is just one example of the free information now available to us online. Want to take some college level courses for free and no hassle of taking tests? Try Stanford, Cornell MIT, or several others:
How about Yale’s Free Open Courses? Here you go!
College too advanced for you? Then try the free high school courses that are praised and sponsored by Bill Gates. Try Sal Khan Academy. Schools now use his free videos to help teach kids in math, science, etc.
If you like reading, try the thousands of free classics at Project Gutenberg.
You love reading LDS books, but are too cheap to spend hundreds of dollars a year on them, and don’t live near a Utah library to borrow them? For 5 bucks a month, Deseret Book will let you go online to Gospel Link and read hundreds of books on their list. You can try them out for free for a month.
Of course, this does not include the thousands of websites and blogs on science, history, politics, literature, religion, etc. My own blog that covers the Sunday School Gospel Doctrine lessons has more than 5000 views a month.
Twenty years ago, most people did not have access to the Internet. Like with the Dead Sea Scrolls, most people had limited access to great volumes of ancient and modern knowledge and information. Now there is little reason why people cannot become great thinkers and readers.
What are some of your favorite sites for learning? (And no, video games and Facebook do not count.)