Free Education: Learn almost anything for Free

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it” ~ Albert Einstein

“We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” ~  Peter F. Drucker

These quotes should come as no surprise to you. They state the obvious. But how many people forget to put this into practice. They finish up school and hit the workforce thinking that learning is behind them. That was school right. Wrong! The problem lies with wrongly associating pain to learning. Learning definitely require a level of discomfort. Just like exercise. You need to expel energy (strain) and this puts you out of a comfort zone. But this is the only way to do it to push that bar forward and bring change.

Once you understand that everything in life requires exerting energy (pushing the bar) to bring change (growth), your thinking changes dramatically and learning becomes a beautiful & peaceful (sometimes obsessive) process bound with fruitful outcomes of wisdom and enlightenment. We didn’t get this far in human civilization without education. An urge to understand more. And we will get further, inspire others and make a change in this world by education.

You are lucky

There has never been a great time in human history when education was so freely available and accessible to such a large population of people! Information is now free. Well a lot of it is is anyway. And more will become available – this is the trend. The old days when the few (rich) had access to it are over. Education (in 1 form or another) is now available to everyone. Public libraries, Internet, People et al. All you need now is the craving to learn. A will, drive, yearnings, fire inside to self-educate and expand your mind.

Free Education – General

Below is a list of great free online tech resources available to anyone willing to exert their energy and learn something new.. and change you forever.

Khan Academy

An organization on a mission. A not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.
Learn now: http://www.khanacademy.org/

  • Holds a library of around 2,400 education videos created by Khan. And growing everyday!
  • Topics covered on Algebra (inc Linear), Arithmetic, Banking and Money, Biology, Brain Teasers, Calculus, Chemistry, Math, Computer Science, Cosmology and Astronomy, Credit Crisis, Currency, Current Economics, Finance, Geometry, History, Physics, Probability, Statistics, Trigonometry, Valuation and Investing, Venture Capital and Capital Markets etc…
  • Sal (the founder) presents the topics using low-tech conversational tutorials, step-by-step doodles and diagrams on an electronic blackboard. And it works! Sal is a great teacher. He know how to break complex topics into simple, understandable and elegant ways of looking at them. It makes you smile because you will just get it! Learning couldn’t be easier. I have learnt heaps here.
  • Sal has built an amazing team of smart folks from McKinsey & Fog Creek Software including John Resig (the father of jQuery).

Hacker Dojo

A community center for hackers and thinkers. Located in Mountain View (California) at the heart of Silicon Valley next to Y Combinator and a host of other high-tech companies.
Discover: http://events.hackerdojo.com/

  • Free weekly Python classes ran by Karl Krueger (Googler). My favorite at the moment (Aug/2011).
  • Other events worth mentioning include iOS Developer Study Group, Machine Learning, Startup Monthly and many more. Visit events page for a full list.
  • And other times you will be sitting listening to a CEO / CTO talk about new high-tech innovation in their space or helping address common industry problems. Not to mention the many smart folks you can chat with and bounce ideas from during and post a meetup.
  • Hacker Dojo also has a nice library where you can kick back to read a book on a love sac or in a private cubby.

Google Code University

Provides sample course content and tutorials for Computer Science (CS) students and educators on current computing technologies and paradigms.
Discover: http://events.hackerdojo.com/

  • Topic covered include Programming Languages, Web Programming, Web Security, Algorithms, Android, Distributed Systems, Tools 101 andGoogle APIs & Tools.
  • Learn here one of the hottest languages today – Python.

Free Education – University

Harvard CS50 Computer Science

Introduction to the intellectual enterprises of computer science and the art of programming. It was ran last year so the content is fresh.
Take course: http://cs50.tv/2010/fall/#l=lectures&r=about&v=lectures/0/week0f

  • This course teaches students how to think algorithmically and solve problems efficiently.
  • Topics include abstraction, encapsulation, data structures, databases, memory management, software development, virtualization, and websites. Languages include C, PHP, and JavaScript plus SQL, CSS, and XHTML. Problem sets inspired by real-world domains of biology, cryptography, finance, forensics, and gaming. Designed for concentrators and non-concentrators alike, with or without prior programming experience.
  • The instructor David J. Malan is friggin amazing! I wish I had him teaching me Computer Science in my undergrad. His full of energy and uses many examples to back up the theory.

Stanford’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Fall 2011.

Artificial Intelligence is the science of making computer software that reasons about the world around it. This is a bold experiment in distributed education organized by Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA.
Sign up for free course: http://www.ai-class.com/
Follow: http://twitter.com/#!/aiclass

  • Class begins October 10. Register using the link above!
  • From Humanoid robots, Google Goggles, self-driving cars, even software that suggests music you might like to hear are all examples of AI. In this class, you will learn how to create this software from two of the leaders in the field.
  • Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig – both top guns at Stanford University Computer Science with backgrounds from Google.
  • The course will (note Oct 10, 2011 start) include feedback on progress and a statement of accomplishment. The curriculum draws from that used in Stanford’s introductory Artificial Intelligence course. The instructors will offer similar materials, assignments, and exams.
  • Peter’s book AI, a modern approach, is a good read: http://aima.cs.berkeley.edu/ with Python (Yipeee) code samples here: http://aima.cs.berkeley.edu/code.html

Stanford Engineering

SEE programming includes one of Stanford’s most popular engineering sequences.
Take course: http://see.stanford.edu/see/courses.aspx

  • Three-course Introduction to Computer Science taken by the majority of Stanford undergraduates, and seven more advanced courses in artificial intelligence and electrical engineering.
  • I haven’t gone through these but they look great! and all course material like Video Lectures, Syllabus, Handouts, Assignments, Exams and Software is provided.

Introduction to Databases – Stanford University

Databases are incredibly prevalent — they underlie technology used by most people every day if not every hour. Databases reside behind a huge fraction of websites; they’re a crucial component of telecommunications systems, banking systems, video games, and just about any other software system or electronic device that maintains some amount of persistent information.
Take course: http://www.db-class.org/

  • Class is ran by Professor Jennifer Widom, the Fletcher Jones Professor and Chair of the Computer Science Department at Stanford University.
  • Students will have access to lecture videos, lecture notes, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete the class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment.

Machine Learning – Stanford University

Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
Take course: http://www.ml-class.com/

  • Class is ran by Professor Andrew Ng is Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, the main AI research organization at Stanford.
  • Students will have access to lecture videos, lecture notes, receive regular feedback on progress, and receive answers to questions. When you successfully complete the class, you will also receive a statement of accomplishment.
  • This is the original Stanford AI course which the one in Fall 2011 is being based on.

MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
Explore & take courses: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

  • Talk about Unlocking Knowledge and Empowering Minds. Free lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. No registration required.
  • I haven’t gone through this site yet but it was highly recommended. No prices for guess what MIT is… Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A private research university where six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. Watch the movie 21 and you will learn about this MIT Blackjack Team.

More Free online education resources

http://www.quora.com/Online-Education-1/What-are-some-free-online-educational-resources

No excuses!

There you have it. No excuses for not being able to afford or attend to university commuter science courses. If you have others which you feel should make this list please contact me and I will list them here.

… and just remember this famous quote by Napoleon Hill …

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
— Napoleon Hill

Happy learning!
~ Ernest

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Hacker Dojo – a community center for hackers and thinkers

Hidden in Mountain View, California, few minutes walk from Castro St (downtown) is one of a kind 13,000-square-foot (1,200 m2) community center and hackerspace. It is called Hacker Dojo. Every since finding this place I have been less frequent at Red Rock and more at Hacker Dojo where I am also a member and occasional acting staff.

HackerDojo logo
http://www.hackerdojo.com/

What is Hacker Dojo

Hacker Dojo is a community center for hackers and thinkers to meet, discuss, learn, create, build and play.

Hacker Dojo is a community center in Mountain View which is about 1/3rd coworking space, 1/3rd events venue, and 1/3rd a big social living room.  In the spirit of DevHouse, a physical community space for hackers and thinkers on the Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is a location for events, lectures, parties, BarCamps, DevHouses, LAN parties, hackathons, knitting circles, tinkering, brainstorming, coworking,  etc. While Hacker Dojo is technically a “members only” private club, they welcome visitors to many of the lectures and classes, and invite people to use the space on a drop-in basis as well. It is not a residential space.  The Dojo is a community space first and foremost – this means that the focus of the layout and activities is to lend itself to be a useful place to throw classes, host parties, brainstorm, and hang out. * Source HackerDojo

Hacker Dojo front entrance
Hacker Dojo greets you!

Hacker Dojo: Origins, Context, and Future

This slide is good at explaining the origins of Hacker Dojo and where the concept of hacker space is heading: http://www.slideshare.net/dweekly/hacker-dojo-origins-context-and-future

Why a community space and not home?

A number of reasons, but the most important one is that it’s very hard to study and tinker in an environment that is set aside for living, eating and sleeping – the home. Like they say to never study in bed since it’s used for sleeping and if you do you will disturb your sleeping pattern. Which is why libraries are effective as a study environment – not just for the quiet zone but because you are in an environment with positive energy that encourages education. Hacker Dojo is that environment with the energy and resources which encourages hacking, tinkering & learning. It just works. I’m sure there is a proper psychology explanation behind this but I’m sure you know what I mean.

Let’s look inside

Here are some snaps I took while attending a mobile development class and then later hacking in one of the private rooms. Click each photo for a full size version.

HackerDojo - Savanna
Hacker Dojo - Savanna

HackerDojo - Mobie Development class in 140B
Hacker Dojo - Mobile Development class in 140B

HackerDojo - 140B
Hacker Dojo - 140B

HackerDojo - Private rooms
Hacker Dojo - Private rooms

The dojo has it all for the nerd inside you

  • Ton of interesting and smart people either running their own startups or networking,
  • 3 bathrooms,
  • A kitchen with filtered water and all sorts of teas and occasional freebie snacks,
  • Library with a vast number of technical and business books – both new & old,
  • 6 x private rooms with whiteboards big enough to fit a team,
  • Top floor sports a living room style area where you can watch movies on a projector and kick back on a couch or bean bag,
  • Fully ducted air condition – perfect temperature year round,
  • Plenty of spare LCD screens to hookup your laptop to with converters,
  • Laser & injet printing facility (in Savanna room),
  • Fiber Optic Internet – fast up and down (see below). Great for working with remote servers.
HackerDojo Internet SpeedTest 2012-03-04
HackerDojo Internet SpeedTest 2012-03-04


Larry gives a video tour of the Dojo

Hacker Dojo is Located at

Address: 140 South Whisman Road in Mountain View, CA. (map it)
More info: http://wiki.hackerdojo.com/w/page/25437/FrontPage
Become a member: http://wiki.hackerdojo.com/w/page/25447/JoinTheDojo

Other Hacker Spaces in California

If you see me at the Dojo come and say G’day to this Aussie!

Hacker Dojo in the News

April 4, 2011 4:00 AM PDT
At Hacker Dojo, Silicon Valley techies build toward success
Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13772_3-20050179-52.html

~ Ernest