(This item was written for March 6.)
TECHNOLOGY is now making life easy. Information technology particularly has made it convenient to learn new skills in computing, language, business and writing.
On Feb 20, I attended a public lecture given by the mathematics professor Dr Deane Arganbright at the Divine Word University’s Port Moresby campus.
It was the second time that I saw the American, who has lectured at the University of PNG as well as DWU, demonstrate how he used the spreadsheet software MS Excel to create beautiful shapes of butterflies, flowers and rabbits, and even produced animations.
I learned then that as a pure mathematician he had taught himself different computer language programmes – BASIC, Pascal, Fortran, etc – and then taught them to others.
Computer language programmes can be hard to learn on your own, but the availability of computer software, CDs and DVDs makes it easy for you to learn many things.
Photo: Dr Deane Arganbright and wife Susan. (Pic courtesy of Dr Arganbright.)
A few years back a young Australian pastor told me that he was going to learn to play a guitar all by himself.
He had a nice guitar, and a DVD produced by a trained guitarist friend of his. He only had to make time available to learn from the DVD.
If you are interested in learning a foreign language, you can pick up a CD/DVD from good shops to learn Japanese, French or German. They enable you to listen to the correct pronunciation of words as well as attempt quizzes.
Even language text books today come with a CD or DVD – making it easier to read texts and listen to recordings of native speakers of the language communicate.
While Dr Arganbright was giving his lecture, he mentioned people or institutions that are now revolutionising learning by posting lectures and lessons on the internet.
He mention Khan Academy, the institute started by the American engineering graduate Salman Khan, who in his attempt to coach his younger relatives in maths and science, recorded lessons and posted them on YouTube.
Since 2006 Khan Academy has posted 4,000 lessons on maths, physics, astronomy, economics and history – and anyone in the world can access those and learn for free.
The professor also mentioned Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare project. Since 2011 MIT has placed most of its courses online for anyone to access.
Then there are journalists and entrepreneurs who post tips and lessons on their blogs for those interested. You can also subscribe for their free newsletters.
Make use of technology to learn.