Want to get smarter at understanding taxes or the economy? Want to better understand your own risk fears or a teenager is so defiant? Or want to improve your leadership ability? Here are some free websites that are guaranteed to improve your brainpower. These are the 10 most useful websites for students:
1. TED: Inspirational Ideas Worth Spreading
‘Technology, Entertainment, Design’ was the original acronym meaning for TED. But over the years, this remarkable website has grown to cover nearly every contemporary topic about humanity: racism, education, economic prosperity, business, and management theory, capitalism vs. communism, modern technology, modern tech culture, the origins of the universe.
If you consider yourself a thinking person who wants to learn a little more about the world you live in, you absolutely must visit TED.
2. RSA Animate: Hand-Illustrated Presentation
People who love TED also love RSA Animate. It is a non-profit society that seeks to innovate solutions to modern social problems: hunger, social care, crime, political oppression, the environment, education, social justice.
The RSA delivers many of their thought-provoking messages (often from TED speakers) through the novel means of hand-drawn illustrations. The RSA Drive animation is one of our favorites, along with dozens of other thought-provoking videos.
Inc.com (named for “incorporation”) is an intelligent and inspirational resource for the business world. It focuses on modern theories of business growth and organizational development, Inc.com has a deep library of modern blogging and thought-leader insights.
How great leaders inspire others, how to create a customer-centered work culture, how to avoid the pitfalls of starting your own company, why top performers fail in the modern business world: the insights and advice at Inc.com are modern and profound.
4. Discover Magazine
If anyone can make science sexy, it is Discover Magazine. Somewhat like Scientific American, Discover seeks to bring science to the world.
Discover is special, however, because it focuses on making science clear and motivating. Why did homo sapiens survive while other species died out? How do you dismantle a nuclear warhead? Why is autism on the rise? Discover is not a non-profit company, but its product definitely makes its customers smarter.
5. Brain Pickings
Brain Pickings is a discovery engine for ‘interestingness and curiosity quenchers’. Brainpickings.org is a treasure chest of anthropology, technology, art, history, psychology, politics, and more. The blog itself may seem a bit high-brow when you first visit but definitely browse for a good 10 minutes.
6. Khan Academy
As a philanthropic non-profit group, the Khan Academy seeks to provide a world-class education to the world for free. The knowledge here is intended for every kind of person: teacher, student, parent, employed professional, trades worker… the learning videos are very valuable to anyone seeking to learn.
Most any scholastic topic is available at Khan or is in the process of being made available. You can even volunteer to help translate or dub the videos into other languages.
Inquisitive minds absolutely love HowStuffWorks.com! This site is a division of the Discovery Channel Company, and the high-quality production shows in every video here. See how tornadoes work, how diesel engines run, how boxers do mitt practice, how sharks attack, how serial killers get caught.
Imagine Khan Academy, but with a massive budget. This is outstanding video learning for the whole family.
8. Project Gutenburg
The US Declaration of Independence for free sharing. His team then set a goal to make the 10,000 most-consulted books freely available to the world.
Until optical character recognition came about in the late 80’s, Michael’s volunteer team entered all these books in by hand. Now: over 50,000 free books are available at Project Gutenberg’s website.
Most of these books are classics (no licensing issues), and are some splendid reads: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the complete works of Shakespeare, Sir Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Melville’s Moby Dick, Hugo’s Les Miserables, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan and John Carter series, the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe.
Merriam-Webster is far more than an online dictionary and thesaurus. M-W.com is also an English-Spanish translator, a medical jargon quick reference, an encyclopedia, a digital mentor in improving your vocabulary, a coach in using modern jargon and slang, and a trend analyzer of how people are speaking English in the modern world.
Plus: there are some really engaging word games and curiosity quizzes for a daily injection of brain stimuli. Definitely: this site is much more than a simple dictionary.
10. BBC Science: Human Body and Mind
The British Broadcasting Corporation has always had a reputation for credibility and objectivity.
With a presentation that is somewhat less flashy than American-based science sites, the BBC Science site delivers very motivating and highly engaging articles on nature, the hard sciences, and the human body and mind.