Introduction to GardenEDU


How to Explore: See all of those thumbnails to the right? Pick one! Click on it. Look around. Repeat.


This site is an experiment in education.  It is a new type of online education, which I’m calling “choose your own path” education.  The site is modeled after other popular sites like Khan Academy, but it is more extreme/non-traditional in that “lessons” are very unlike classroom lectures and the ‘choose your own’ (CYO) element is much more significant.

Each lesson has a root video, a 2-5 minute introduction, and then a tree of other videos, labs, and external site links growing out from it.  You can view the tree structure at the beginning if you want, but the intent is to choose a path as you go, based on what you’re interested in doing or in hearing more about in the moment.  Sometimes the choice is as simple as “would you like another example?” but in many cases, the range of options provided is much more varied.  Just choose what you’re most interested in: choose to learn more about a detail from the video you just watched, or choose to see an application, or choose to do an online lab that relates to the video’s content.  And if you don’t see an option that you either expected or hoped for at the end of the video, let me know and I’ll try to add it soon!


To me, learning is like being blind in an enormous garden with many wild areas and some cleared out areas with paths. And teaching is knowing some area of the garden well enough that, although you too are a blind student who has explored only parts of the garden, you can lead other people to those parts and you can show them the most interesting plants and sculptures. You can bring their hands to the most illustrative parts of a statue so that, after a short time, they say “AH, I SEE, it’s just like the elephant stature over in that other section, except it’s bigger, and wearing pajamas, and eating peanutbutter and jelly.”  But I think the teaching-learning relationship is most effective when students get to Choose their own path through the garden as much as possible.  This site is an experiment which realizes this vision of education.

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