It is all too common for people to dismiss the Internet as mindless drivel, due to the overexposure of seemingly moronic things like social media and memes. The truth, however, is that the web contains a virtually endless source of information available in all kinds of different formats. Here are 4 of my favorite ways to use the Internet in educational yet entertaining ways:
Tap into your inner Alex Trebek and test your knowledge on a wide variety of topics ranging from History and Geography to Television and Music. There are even silly quizzes such as “Harry Potter or Harry Stiles” which is exactly what it sounds like. I used Sporcle to educate myself just a few months ago; I decided that I didn’t know nearly enough of the U.S. state capitals, so I simply looked up a quiz and began taking it over and over again. Within a week I knew all 50. Call it a waste of time, but I am proud to say that I now know that the capital of North Dakota is Bismarck!
We are all guilty of wasting hours on Youtube; there are just too many videos out there of dogs eating food with human hands! Just because it is on Youtube, however, does not mean it cannot be educational. Due to the ease of creating, publishing, and sharing videos, there are countless channels that cover all sorts of categories from ancient Roman battle formations to the best methods of preparing and cooking pork belly. My personal favorite Youtube channel is Kurzgesagt, a channel which creates videos on topics ranging from straightforward (universal basic income) to abstract (optimistic nihilism).
Guided Wikipedia tangents
How often have you made a simple Wikipedia search only to realize an hour later that you’ve ended up down a wormhole of nonsense? It is easy to get caught up in the seemingly infinite Wikipedia pages with no real rhyme or reason behind your tangent. A method that is much more successful while still intellectually stimulating and entertaining is to choose a singular topic and commit to reading all about it, as well as its details. For example, one could begin looking up Presidential Assassinations, then end up on William McKinley’s page, which thus leads to Theodore Roosevelt, and in turn his Progressivism, and so on and so forth. Pick a topic that interests you and see where you go, but make sure to stay somewhat focused!
Choose something to learn, and Google away
It is amazing how generic “Googling” something has become as a part of our shared nomenclature. Questions that used to be unanswered debates among friends can now be answered in seconds thanks to Google. But why stop at just one unanswered question? For example, when I first started playing guitar, I bought a book on blues guitar-playing and sat down to begin studying. I quickly realized that my interests weren’t aligned with just any old music book, so I busted out the now-classic solution of Googling. I searched scales, easy songs to learn, practice methods, and made more progress that day than I had the entire previous week. Pick something that interests you, whether it’s a topic of knowledge or a skill and get Googling! Like with Wikipedia, make sure to stay focused or else you’ll quickly skid off track.