COVID-19, and the series of lockdowns that followed, has brought a wide array of challenges to students, workers, and employers alike. Thanks to the efforts of teachers and school administrators around the world, institutional education was able to continue through remote learning-- a solution that, as necessary as it may have been given the circumstances, was not without its flaws. Despite the best efforts of everyone involved, many students were left feeling like more of their education was left up to them. With daily cases of COVID-19 steadily declining and vaccination levels on the rise, the end of the pandemic is on the horizon. However, even with a return to normal becoming more and more likely by the day, the events of the past year offer a unique opportunity to reflect on the power of self-guided education.
While all disciplines feature opportunities for students to enhance their knowledge and abilities on their own, there exists a number of options that stand out in particular for those wishing to be more involved in STEM-related topics.
Make: Projects features guides on user-submitted projects with a variety of categories like Arduino, Robotics, and Internet of Things. Users can upload their projects to the website and even enter their projects into the frequent contests hosted by the site. This is ideal for those looking for a more hands-on educational experience. This could be especially useful for anyone hoping to work on a project with a group of friends, even if communicating remotely.
Class Central is a search engine that can guide you to hundreds of free classes on any topic you’re looking for. This is incredibly useful for finding classes even from higher ranked universities like MIT, Harvard, and Stanford. Users can filter out paid classes, various skill levels, languages, and classes that are not self paced, and can also sort based on past student reviews. Some classes may also include a certificate of completion.
Resources like these can be beneficial for exploring new fields without overcommitting oneself to homework or additional workloads and can also be an interesting summer activity. It’s important for students to continuously feed their STEM experiences to expand their horizons and solidify their fundamental skills. While many extracurricular activities would normally support this, few have fully reopened for the summer, so taking initiative and participating on your own is necessary especially for those hoping to attend college in the near future.