Learning Can Be Fun…Again!
“Learning is fun.” For many of us, that was the motto quickly instilled in us as we played our way through preschool or kindergarten. It continued to be in the forefront of learning through about the first half of grade school, but then something happened—learning became anything but fun (I like to call it “unfun,” but the dictionary strongly disagrees with me). Going to school became a chore. Homework destroyed playtime. Tests induced a desire to barf. The only fun part of school was when the teacher would wheel the TV into the room or set up the slide projector to play a film. Even then, it was crapshoot as to whether it would be a halfway decent movie—say, Lord of the Flies or The Outsiders or To Kill a Mockingbird—or a poke-my-eyes-out-please 50-year-old history documentary that flickered as it played. I assure you, the vast majority of people found the remaining school years to be downright boring.
Then, for whatever brilliant reason, some of us decided it would be a good idea to take more schooling. I remember opening my box from Career Step. I was excited—everything was new and bright and full of hope! It was back in the day when the practicum portion was available on tapes and the answer keys came in books, so there were a lot of materials to get excited about. Surrounded by books, I was going to conquer the world! And then it happened: it got boring, and fast—like about 2-weeks-into-it fast. I was ready to chuck the books out the window before they sucked the life right out of me. This wasn’t kindergarten; this was high school learning all over again!
I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. Learning can still be fun! In fact, with all the creative tools available through the Internet, learning has never been as entertaining as it is now.
Tablets have opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Want flash cards? There are free apps for that. Want anatomy games? There are free apps for that. Want to take notes to study later? There are free apps for that. Want to keep track of your study time? There are free apps for that. Want to set and plan out goals? There are free apps for that. I’m not going to endorse any apps in particular, but I’ve found a few real gems that fit my needs just by taking some time to see what’s available and trying them out. Some apps are 100% free, some aren’t free at all, and many fall in between; so if you want to only use free apps and features, read the In-App Purchases information before downloading to determine if there are optional purchases, and if there are, whether you can make meaningful use of the app without making those purchases.
Computers continue to present some pretty awesome stuff as well, so don’t feel disadvantaged if you don’t have a tablet. If you’re a visual learner, www.orlive.com provides recorded surgeries for your viewing enjoyment. Websites such as http://www.med.ucla.edu/wilkes/intro.html have a variety of heart sounds for your listening pleasure. Google Images searches can help with understanding everything from where a particular junction is in the body to how a peculiar surgical instrument works.
Now, just to be clear, I’m not encouraging procrastinating working through your coursework—it’s not going to complete itself—but if you’re finding yourself wanting to do anything but log in to your course whenever you sit down at the computer, perhaps it’s time to liven things up a bit and make learning fun again!
CS Skills Assessment Team