There are a couple of different ways to classify and group educational resources, but in most cases they’re divided based both on how they are delivered and their basic medium. Some of the most common resources are provided by governments and community groups and are essentially services; public schools are one of the most obvious entrants in this category, though things like after school classes and extracurricular activities are usually also included. For adults, things like community college courses fit this bill. Classes and enrichment programs for all ages at recreation centers and community organizations can be meaningful, as well. Then there are also a range of professional development resources that can help teachers, educators, and other professionals do their jobs better. Books, whether instructional, historical, or fiction-based, are also widely credited as an education resource, though the learning is often more indirect and user-driven; things like videos, multimedia presentations, and he wider Internet can also be included. Whether some of these latter things are truly educational or not is often a matter of circumstance as well as opinion, though most experts agree that almost anything can be a resource for education provided it is used properly.
In most places, the primary educational resource any person encounters is his or her basic schooling. Most communities provide free, typically government-sponsored education for all children, and limited adult learning opportunities may be available, too. Beyond the learning of basic facts and core subjects, schools are often a place for children and young adults to begin encountering ideas and concepts outside their ordinary realm of thinking. Classrooms are usually where students learn new information and begin to formulate patterns of thinking and processing that will inform the way they approach work and life into adulthood.
Extended Care and Vacation Enrichment Programs
After-school programs are another type of resource. Many schools offer these sorts of programs on-site, and they may also be housed independently in communities. In the United States, for example, most localities have a Parks and Recreation department, often based by county but sometimes divided by region or neighborhood; these departments usually offer a variety of programs for all ages. Programs can include everything from sports and art classes to stargazing and educational trips to neighboring regions.
Some activities are free but most enrichment courses no matter where they’re offered are operated on some sort of a fee-basis. Schedules and offerings are also subject to change based on the season of the year.
Teachers often turn to educational workshops and conferences to expand their knowledge on the subjects that they teach. Many professional organizations offer conferences on at least a yearly basis where teachers can attend a variety of sessions related to his or her subject matter or field of primary interest. For example, in the United States, the National Council of Teachers of English holds an annual conference in a different city each year for its members where teachers can attend sessions, participate in round-table discussions, and receive a wide variety of complementary materials and new instructional aids. Teachers are also able to network at these events in order to create educational partnerships and share best practices. In many places there are also home school conventions where parents can learn more about effectively teaching children in the home and new materials that are available.
These sorts of events have the dual benefit of providing educators with new materials as well as the opportunity to converse and network with others whose jobs may be similar. Education is often thought about as very fluid, based both on texts and experiences. Challenging teachers and educational leaders to consider different perspectives and materials can make the broader learning landscape much more robust.
Books in their many forms are frequently the most commonly cited stand-alone resource for education. They are a reference as well as a tool, and reading — no matter the topic — is widely believed to improve many aspects of education more broadly. This is particularly true of children. When children read books or have books read to them, they are able to improve their speaking, writing, and listening abilities. Fostering a love of books at an early age can help people to increase their literacy skills throughout their lifetime.
Books can be found on practically any subject and in a variety of reading levels. Communities in most places sponsor free public libraries that provide access as well as research services, and many universities and schools have more specialized collections, too.
Digital Media and the Internet
Educational videos and programs on a wide variety of subjects can be both rented and purchased. Many teachers use videos in the classroom to provide their students with a visual and auditory experience to enhance what they have already learned in the classroom. Many channels on television also offer specialized programming in a wide range of subject areas. In addition, there are a number of Internet sites that offer educational videos for use both in and out of the classroom.
The Internet is an excellent source for a variety of educational resources, including e-books, videos, workshops, and more. Through the Internet, people can gain instant access to millions of different educational websites that are based from all over the globe. Videos are one of the most widely used educational resources found online, as they connect with several different types of learning styles. A simple online search can lead the user to a multitude of learning options, though, as with most anything online, some sources are more reputable and valuable than others. Users are often best served by visiting a couple of different sites that are hosted by known organizations in order to get the clearest and most accurate information.