Right now we’re all working as a community to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, by staying home as much as possible. As a result, many of us have time on our hands. So what better time to open a door to education, information, and enrichment? Below, we’ve gathered websites sure to stimulate your mind and capture your imagination – all from the comfort of your own living room.
1. Explore the world’s greatest art galleries and museums
Most of the world’s leading art and history museums have excellent free online resources. You can dig deeper into fascinating chapters of the past, learn about great works of art, and view current exhibitions.
Here are three excellent places to start:
- Google Arts & Culture has compiled a massive collection of virtual tours through more than 500 museums and galleries around the world, from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Musée D’Orsay in Paris to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul.
- The Smithsonian has a library of some 1.7 million online multimedia resources. That should fill an afternoon! From an in-depth exploration of American Women’s History to an interactive 3-D model of the Apollo 11 Command Module, there is truly something here to fascinate everyone. Each of the organization’s 19 museums, galleries and research centres has its own webpage you can visit to start; plus Smithsonian Magazine is tracking the best learning opportunities and offers a wealth of fascinating articles and links.
- The National Museums of Scotland have put together an extensive online library of stories, films, games, and resources for online visitors. Discover Scottish history and archeology, delve into myths, learn about Robbie Burns’ pistol, experience the First World War, and so much more.
2. Travel the globe and beyond virtually
We may not be able to gather in public places, but we can still visit incredible destinations online. Google’s free Arts & Culture page is a beautiful portal to global landmarks, as are the virtual tours offered on many attractions’ websites. The world is your digital oyster! Here are several pages to get you started:
- The Vatican and Sistine Chapel
- The Great Wall of China
- Yellowstone National Park
- NASA Glenn Research Centre
- Tower Bridge, London
- The Taj Mahal
- The Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt
- Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto, Japan
- Sydney Opera House
- Machu Pichu, Peru
For those craving the countryside, FarmFood360 offers 11 free virtual tours of Canadian farms.
If you want to go even farther afield, NASA and Google have teamed up to create a free virtual tour of planet Mars, using real imagery captured by the Curiosity rover.
3. Take a course or watch a lecture
There’s a virtual sea of learning opportunities out there, both free and affordable. Here are a few websites that offer online learning and thought leadership:
- Khan Academy: a non-profit organization is aiming to offer “free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” While many courses geared to younger learners, there’s plenty for knowledge lovers of all ages, including science, math, history and more.
- edX: more than 2,400 courses from world universities; some free and some for a fee.
- Coursera: 2,700 courses in 250 specializations from 150 university partners, ranging from free and affordable one-offs to higher-priced degree programs.
- Stanford Online: thousands of free online courses, as well as professional certificates and advanced degrees.
- TED Talks: a massive library of educational and inspiring lectures on a vast spectrum of topics, streaming for free on the website or the Ted YouTube channel.
- Duo Lingo: learn a language! Using this free website and mobile app, you can work at your own pace through courses ranging from Spanish and French to Japanese and Portuguese. Duolingo also offers a premium service for a fee.
- Udemy: more than 100,000 online video courses on business, design, photography, software, personal development and more, with new additions published every month. Prices range from $25 to $205 per course.
- Alison: thousands of free and paid courses, including registered diploma and certificate programs in technology, science, health, business and more.
- Academic Earth: free online college courses and paid programs from the world’s top universities, including Berkeley, Stanford, Oxford, Notre Dame and more. Subject areas range from psychology and computer science to chemistry and art history.
- Masterclass: the world’s best writers, filmmakers, chefs, architects, musicians, and more teach online students their craft, through high-quality video lectures. Access to the whole library costs $20 a month, or classes can be purchased individually.
4. Watch educational TV for free
The Knowledge Network offers hundreds of education programs, documentaries, and more if you sign up for a free account on the website.
5. Catch up on your reading
We all have a few books gathering dust on our shelves. What a perfect time to read! You can also buy e-books online or read one of the more than 60,000 free e-books available at Project Gutenberg. Not convinced? Learn more about the cognitive and wellness benefits of reading for 30 minutes a day.
These are just a few ideas to get you started with your online-education adventure. The possibilities are endless – happy learning!
As an independent living residence for seniors in British Columbia, PARC is taking staunch measures to ensure the well-being of our residents and other seniors. Please see our COVID-19 resources page to stay up to date on resources and tips to stay active at home.
6. Listen to a podcast or audiobook
Sometimes you just want to close your eyes and let the knowledge wash over you. So hop over and take a look at our list of the best podcasts and audiobooks for quarantine. This collection includes picks to educate and entertain, like the popular Life Habits Mentoring podcast, great for seniors seeking self-improvement, and Ortona, a detailed nonfiction account of Canada’s contribution to the Allied war effort in Italy.