John Hand had a theory: for any problem a person might have, someone in their local community has a solution. To that end, he founded Colorado Free University, continuing a tradition that began with the Denver Free University of the 1970s and early '80s. Whereas the Denver Free University was created as a political move to make education more accessible, the Colorado incarnation sets its sights on simple personal betterment, becoming more of a learning network than a school. All of its teachers are independent contractors culled from the local community, and together they helm skill-based and enrichment classes for adults, spanning a range of artistic, humanitarian, and business disciplines.
Students can receive training in foreign languages or ASL, business or digital marketing, or acting, visual arts, or woodworking. The school's facilities also accommodate CompuSkills computer-training classes, which progress from basic sessions in computer operation to advanced sessions in photoshopping a ghost out of a family portrait. There are cooking classes, foreign language courses, and style classes, all of which turn out well-rounded pupils. The campus's 89-seat John Hand Theater, meanwhile, hosts intimate performances from local Firehouse Theater Company and Spotlight Theatre Company.
Spanish Is Fun founder Silvia Cubillos Velez knows that learning Spanish will be of great practical use in her students’ lives and careers, but the school’s goals don’t stop there. "We want people to be enchanted with the classes so they, too, can love the language and the culture," she told Viva Colorado. Though she traveled to Spain to complete her language education, Velez retains a deep love for the traditions of her Colombian homeland, and accordingly makes sure to weave Latin American literature and culture into her classes.
No matter what age or ability level they teach, the school’s staff of native Spanish speakers focus on communication rather than just conjugating verbs and memorizing vocabulary. Their formula has now been bringing students toward comprehension and fluency for more than a decade. Instructors immerse language learners in Spanish through techniques such as leading them in discussion groups or dunking them in a replica of the Alhambra fountain. They’ll also often swap classes to familiarize students with an array of accents and sounds, making full use of backgrounds that range from South America to Europe.
Open Media Foundation's staffers skillfully craft websites, edit videos, and capture studio broadcasts, but they don't work in a high-rise office building or inside a film-production studio. Instead, they use their tech savvy to help Denver community members to turn up the volume on their own stories. In addition to designing websites, producing videos, and providing other media services, the staff runs small-size classes to teach the fundamentals of video production, animation, and audio production to students hungry for the knowledge. The foundation also arms its prot?g?s and members with high-tech hardware, such as video cameras, editing systems, and discreet teleprompters, to make professional-grade projects more accessible.:
The staff members at Sylvan Learning Center understand that each child learns differently. They design custom lessons based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Sylvan's instructors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12 to improve their confidence and independence leading to their educational success. Many of Sylvan’s certified teachers work in local schools and have familiarized themselves with common practices, which help them understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results.
For more than 20 years, glass artist Agnes Sanchez has been breathing life into molten mounds, crafting delicate works of art that evoke the elements of the earth. Long-necked vases in glittering hues abut delicate ornaments at Agnes?s studio and gallery, Agnes of Glass, where the internationally trained artist exercises her technique and leads glass-blowing workshops. During the hands-on sessions, students and large-lunged wolves looking for a creative outlet exhale their way to completion of a decorative project.
There is now more writing available on the Internet than the sum of all books ever written by millions of monkeys at millions of typewriters. Gird yourself for the coming Reading Wars with today's Groupon to Iris Reading, the speed-reading school that trains literacy samurai. With this Groupon, $60 gets you a one-day, five-hour class (a $199 value), which is ideal for breaking old reading habits across the knee with a spinning, backbreaking bookmark and replacing them with more effective techniques. The courses include strategies for reading technical material and computer-screen speed-reading techniques, making it perfect for business professionals. Iris has taught speed-reading courses to HSBC, one of Europe’s largest banks, as well as other financial and professional firms.
The average person in the United States reads about one Groupon per minute. Iris's website says that most students finish the Iris Reading Program reading two to five times faster without losing comprehension. That means an exceptional student could end up reading five Groupons per minute, which equal one À la recherche du temps perdu per week. Speed reading is great for students who have heavy reading assignments, providing an excellent alternative to hauling massive books at trucker speed, wheelbarrow speed, and crane speed. With your new speed-reading skills, you'll be able to fly through embarrassing backlogs of Twitter and Facebook updates, perhaps discovering to your surprise that your sister is married. The skills and knowledge you'll gain from lightning-fast re-readings of survival manuals and ancient Mayan religious texts will also leave you handily prepared for the galactic alignment of 2012, providing an impressive advantage over business rivals.
Iris is currently working with several public schools in Chicago to help students learn more efficient reading skills, and undergrads at New York University and the University of Chicago have successfully completed Iris courses and now spend less time on textbook reading and more time on dolphin racing. Classes are held in Boston's financial district on Saturdays and Sundays; click here for dates and times.
Your Groupon gets you the five-hour course, which is much more thorough and promises higher results than the one-hour free classes Iris occasionally offers.
Check out Iris Reading's website to view customer testimonials. Here are a few:
- Students have come to the workshops a little skeptical, but they all leave raving about what they learned and how they can use it. We have presented this workshop to all students from 1st years to graduate and professional, and they have all benefited. – Kay Robinson, Assistant Director, Ohio Union, Ohio State University
- Thank you very much for all your help this year. You truly had a significant impact on my productivity as well as many others in Ariel’s research department. You should feel very proud of your contributions to Ariel. Thank you again. – Jason Tyler, Portfolio Manager, Ariel Capital Management
- The experience and outcome was phenomenal! The average student in the class began reading 239 words per minute and ended reading 457 words per minute – results were nearly doubled. – Debra Carson, Program Coordinator, Chicago Summer Business Institute