10 free online educational opportunities

Companies offer learning resources for homebound learners

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During the time Katy residents are at home in compliance with various Stay Home, Work Safe orders throughout the area, there are many online opportunities to learn new skills and just explore academia. For adults, this may lead to new job opportunities. For parents, these opportunities can help them keep their children occupied and supplement Katy ISD’s online learning programs.

Each of the programs below offers free access on some level to learners of the specified age groups. Some also offer certificates of completion or other paid programs that can help build a resume or enhance enjoyment of a hobby while keeping to good social distancing practices.

Adults and Children:

Not everything listed here is appropriate for children of all ages. Please visit each site and take a look before sharing with the whole family. The following are various cultural visits that you can do without a VR headset or enjoy through your computer's browser.

Google Arts & Culture offers virtual visits from around the world at https://artsandculture.google.com/ for those who are missing firsthand cultural experiences. Learners can explore Parisian rooftops, zoom in on iconic artwork across the world, examine the architecture of the Sydney Opera House or take a virtual tour of the pyramids of Egypt.

YouVisit.com offers a virtual tour of Machu Picchu which allows visitors to explore the ancient city with a 360-degree guided tour in English. https://www.youvisit.com/tour/machupicchu

The Georgia Aquarium offers different webcam views that can be visited anytime to check in on jellyfish, puffins, penguins and more at https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/ocean-voyager/

VisitHoustonTexas.com offers various virtual experiences from a downloadable coloring book to virtual tours.  https://www.visithoustontexas.com/coronavirus-information-and-resources-for-travelers/virtual-activities/

Bob Ross’ “The Joy of Painting” is offered for free via YouTube and includes all 31 seasons (403 episodes) of the show. Ross, who is known for his calm demeanor and landscape paintings, walks painters through techniques to create “happy little trees” and landscape paintings. https://www.youtube.com/user/BobRossInc/featured

Children:

Dyson has 44 engineering and science activities (22 of each) for children to work on during the pandemic. The James Dyson Foundation has posted their challenge cards at: https://www.jamesdysonfoundation.com/resources/challenge-cards.html

NASA offers STEM activities for children split into three groups: K–4, grades 5–8 and grades 9–12. There are also virtual tours available.  https://www.nasa.gov/nasa-at-home-for-kids-and-families

Scholastic, an Educational company has a “Learn at Home” site that offers projects for children pre-k to grade 9. They have also made available resources for teachers and families. https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

 Adults:

Nikon is offering free online classes during April. Some classes are specific to Nikon cameras, while other classes have broader topics such as photographing children and pets. Participants must register with Nikon to take these courses. https://www.nikonevents.com/us/live/nikon-school-online/

Harvard University and other institutions of higher education are offering free online courses that cover subjects such as literature, art, game development and web programming at https://online-learning.harvard.edu/CATALOG/FREE. For a fee, learners can receive a certificate upon completion of some courses. Check individual courses for start/end dates. Email registration is required for most courses.

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