Sunday, March 13, 2011

Learn Anything at The School of Everything!

As technology becomes more ubiquitous the reality that people don’t have to go to places to learn has increasingly become clear and is gaining popularity.  I recently shared ideas for ways Educators Can Save Time When They Stop Reinventing the Wheel with Online Educational Resources and I also explained 10 Reasons Students Say They Prefer Learning Online.  I even shared resources that kids could use to design their own learning.  Unfortunately, traditional schools often don’t serve up many interesting offering that Help Students Discover and Develop Their Passions and in many cases keeping the learning real is not a focus at many schools.  Additionally, more and more parents are realizing their children’s race to the top has really become a race to nowhere.   As a result some parents are taking action toward fixing schools, while others are considering alternative models for schools where passion (not just data) drive learning. Others have taken an approach that some consider radical called unschooling where students have no school and no curriculum, but rather learn naturally through life. 

I recently came across another option for parents, students, and teachers who want to take learning into their own hands.

The School of Everything was set up because its founders think the way the current education system is organized is rubbish, rigid and out of date. It seems the School of Everything follows in the style of the recent educational unconferences I’ve been attending where participants show up, place a post-it on a board indicating what they’ll teach, then others come to their session to learn.  The founders were inspired by a group of people who in the 1960s set up the Free U in sunny California. They started with blank piece of paper pinned to a notice board asking what people could teach and once subjects were listed and there were enough people signed up to each they ran the courses. The UK-based founders took this concept and with the power of the internet they created what they call, “a new fangled website thingy” where students can design your own education however you please. 

School of Everything operates on a simple premise

The website is your portal to learning whatever, whenever and wherever you want. From Biology to Beekeeping, History to Hula hooping, they've got much more than you’d find on your traditional school or university campus. And you don't need to go to the end of the earth to learn what you want. The site was created to help connect students who want to learn stuff that teachers are passionate about sharing.  The end result is that students can make their brains bigger right at their own doorstep.

Teachers can Teach Stuff
The School of Everything is always looking for great teachers. What's your specialist subject? School of Everything is the place for you to share your knowledge with others for hard cash or just for the love of it. You can start advertising for free and find new students.

Students can Learn Stuff
What do you or your students/children want to learn? Whether it's hot new dance moves to impress your friends; brushing up on a foreign language before your holiday; extra help with your academic studies or you just want to try something completely new - School of Everything is for you. On the site you simply share where you are, choose the subjects you're interested in and they'll help you find relevant teachers and lessons.

Teacher Evaluation
No need for fancy data systems and outsiders to evaluate teachers.  Let the most important people at the table assess teachers.  At The School of Everything, teachers are reviewed by their students. Reviews from students who pay through the School of Everything Marketplace are worth loads because who better to get a teacher recommendation from than another student!

"School of Everything has potential to become something like the Craigslist of education, where people can easily find each other for specific topics and everyone can benefit. The site is free and easy-to-use ... so there's not a lot holding it back from success except for a user base big enough to make it worthwhile."
- Jacqui Cheng, Ars Technica (September 2008)

You may also want to check out A similar organization described as, "Learning for everyone, by everyone, about almost anything...for free!"

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! Thanks for finding and sharing this!

    Everyone has something to teach, and I love the idea of being able to connect with a whole world of mentors.