Your New Retirement Lifestyle – Using the Tools of Technology (Part 2)

In my last article I began a discussion of how the tools of technology can make life more accommodating. At the same time, you can readily continue to learn and grow. Here are some additional suggestions:

CONTINUE THE LEARNING PROCESS
Since it is well known that we are living longer, healthier lives, why not make the most of our time. That is, we have the time to reinvent and rediscover our passions. We can readily afford to experiment with new things. Hence, in that sense, the learning process never ceases.

These days, you do not have to leave the comfort of your home or office to take courses. This is where technology, and in particular the Internet, serves us well. A plethora of course offerings is available for enrichment purposes or for matriculation. Let’s examine some of the options.

Distance Education – The easiest way to understand distance education is to think of it as simply a learning situation in which the teacher and learner are separated. The technologies used in distance education are most often one of the following:

• Print – books, study guides, and other materials
• Audio – radio, telephone, cassette/cd, audio conference
• Video – TV medium, video conference, recorded video

The most common types of distance education courses include:

• Correspondence conducted through the regular mail
• Internet conducted
• Telecourse/Broadcast where content is delivered via radio or television
• CD-ROM where the student interacts with computer content
• Pocket PC/Mobile Learning where content is offered through a mobile device

A great place to explore distance learning opportunities is at Yahoo Distance Learning Directory (dir.yahoo.com/Education/Distance_Learning). Here, you’ll find links to Adult Education (ranked according to popularity), college and university offerings, general online courses, television courses, and more.

Peterson’s has an easy to use search mechanism that allows the user to enter the intended course of study, intended degree level (if any), and any on-campus requirements. You can also search by college if you have a particular institution in mind.

The University of Phoenix Online (online.uofphx.info) is one of the largest online higher education programs in the country. The areas of matriculation include associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. You simply fill out a questionnaire on the site, and then get directed to available programs to fit your needs.

Online Museums and Virtual Tours – Many museums offer an interesting online presence through their respective links. Ultimately, you can pull together a vast array of exhibits and collections including classic art and architecture.

A great site to visit is The Museum of Online Museums. Here you’ll find many links to brick-and-mortar museums. Most of these sites will present multiple exhibits from their collections. There really is something for everybody at this site including the Smithsonian Art Museum, a link of Russian museums, art treasures from Kyoto, the Van Gogh Gallery, even a skateboard museum.

VLMP (Virtual Library Museum Pages) is a worldwide directory of online museums that are organized by country.

Museums of the World, boasts a staggering variety of educational links accompanied by a large amount of interactive virtual exhibits with links to dozens of museum shops. Most of their links are topically arranged.

HOBBIES AND ENTERTAINMENT
Mp3 Players – If you are a music buff, times have really changed. From the early days of listening to records, to the supposed advanced technology of eight track tapes it’s so easy to now listen to any song at anytime with an MP3 player and a computer.

Satellite Radio – Satellite radio offers you an enormous array of music and entertainment channels with clear reception. This is of particular interest if you travel and desire consistent reception. The kind of satellite radio you get depends on your intended use.

Music Software – GarageBand is a specific software application that allows users to create a piece of music. At this point in time, it is for Mac computers. It is intended to help amateurs easily produce music. The application comes with about one thousand pre-recorded sampled and sequenced loops and fifty synthesized instruments which can be played using a MIDI keyboard connected to a computer or an on-screen virtual keyboard. Using a microphone, you can also record an instrument or a voice-over to the loops.

Podcasts – A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of files, that is distributed over the Internet for playback on portable media players (such as an iPod) and personal computers. Files can be audio or video. Listeners can subscribe to this feed by submitting a feed address (like the iTunes store). In this way, when new “episodes” become available in the podcast they can be automatically downloaded to that user’s computer. The content is not real-time so users can check out the material at their leisure.

Digital Scrapbooks – Digital scrapbooking utilizes computers, software, and digital photos to create beautiful scrapbook pages. Basically, you store your photographs in albums or individually on your computer hard drive. Depending on how fussy you are about details, you would use any of the more popular software packages to edit your photos.

Hobby Websites – There are a variety of websites that cater to your interests. If you are interested in hobbies that have to do with space and associated technology, then you should certainly visit the Hobbyspace site. The discussions here include satellite building, rocketry, modeling, astronomy and much more. There are also links to space art and music. A major goal of this site is to reach the general public who are interested in space but do not actively pursue that interest. Studium is a cyber magazine website that provides the general hobbyist with information relative to varied fields of collecting and study. So, for example, you’ll find articles on collecting miniatures, counterfeit coins, and movies.