Sunday, June 27, 2010

We are destroying barriers to entry..

If anything, the open source model has shown us that it works far better than restricted source.

Take a look at the Wikipedia model and Linux. More problems are fixed faster and for free! Let's give students access to the source of their education and see what they do with it. Let them "develop" their own schooling. Let's help them get to where they need to go by giving them tools and guidance that ease the path.

The era of open source learning is upon us. There are no more gatekeepers and no more hoops. It's time to adjust or die.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Barbecue Meeting.

Last night my team and I had a barbecue at my house in Millcreek.

I invited a bunch of friends who aren't involved in the project as well. This essentially served two purposes, one which I planned, and the other I didn't.
  • First (planned): This would be the first time any of my staff members had met each other. It needed to feel fun and comfortable. This is fun and, while we're dead serious about accomplishing our goals, we don't need to act serious all the time. We want to always have the ability to kick back at the end of a hard day, relax, and have a good time. That's what life is all about.
  • Second: My friends and family, some of which were the biggest skeptics, were able to identify a little better with what's going on and, in some sense, feel involved in it. This ought to quiet their destructive criticisms for a while.
I think a lesson I learned from this is:

  • Get the non-believers involved.

Here is what we discussed during the meeting portion of the barbecue:

  1. Recruiting students and marketing ideas.
    1. If you see people running around in banana suits downtown, don't worry, bananas have not taken over the world. It's just us.
    2. Mostly, we believe so strongly in our mission that we know it will infect others. We are doing something because it matters and that's the best job in the world.
  2. Designing in-class curriculum.
    1. While students will design their own path, we need to have a solid base of stuff to teach them.
    2. The subjects we teach need to be based on real examples, from real business owners/social innovators.
  3. Financing
    1. Still a lot to do in this area.
      1. I have an optimistic idea that if we build it they (investors) will come, but it would be a lot easier with money.
      2. Not sure if I want to deprive myself of bootstrapping though. I sort of want to see what we can do with next to nothing, especially since our students will have next to nothing when it's their turn.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A critique of a job posting...

I feel compelled to point out one major flaw with this post:

Immediate opening for a long-term, full time Administrative Assistant.

The successful candidate will possess:

• Mandatory Website experience --editing and creating
• Compliance Regulation
• Accounting Skills Strongly Recommended
• Strong Excel, Outlook and Word skills
• Strong attention to detail and organization
• Strong multi-tasking skills
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Ability to work in a fast paced environment and adapt to change

Schedule: 9 AM to 5:30 PM
Compensation: $11
No Benefits Available

Please fax resume to: 1-866-953-4157
• Ability to work in a fast paced environment

Schedule: 9 AM to 5:30 PM

Compensation: $11
No Benefits available

Please fax or resume to: 1-866-953-4157 

  • Fax? I find it astonishing that people still use this technology.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Idea School Premises

Our school, yet to have an official name (we're currently running with Idea School), is operating on several premises:

  • Students most easily learn what engages and inspires them (interest based)
  • Students need more real-world experience while attending school.
  • Students will be motivated to accomplish something great and world/community changing if they are provided a supportive, yet challenging environment.

Based upon these things, we believe we can change the world. We are currently hiring teachers and are recruiting students. We have little money, no building, and a lot of work to do. However, we have a vision and a mission: "To greatly improve higher education by providing our students with a supportive community of active learners and teachers, who's aim is to create value while solving real-world problems. We do work that matters."


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Idea School Method

The school is student centered and project focused.

Students will come up with projects or business ideas that they want to enact. We initially require them to put it down on paper so that we can work with them on the idea, though teachers are discouraged from criticizing the idea itself. We want to see what happens when we turn our students loose.

After the student puts down the idea they meet with their "home teacher" who is much akin to a guidance counselor, though much more. The student and the "home teacher" discuss which classes would be best for the student to take with the student making the final decision. Classes could be:
  • Marketing
  • Human Resources
  • Accounting
  • Business Theory
  • Legal Entities
  • Fund Raising
  • Networking
  • The Ethics of Outsourcing
  • Singing
  • Painting with Acrylics
We actually want to stray from teaching subject matter technically, but instead provide a learning environment for a particular subject.

The classes are meant to supplement the student's knowledge so that they can test the skills and information necessary to complete their project, not just learn about them. The project could be a business that the student wants to found, it could be a non-profit/community organization, or it could be a way to fund and expand the influence of their art or music.

This is an exploratory school as well. Students are encouraged to test particular paths they are interested in, which is why classes are to be 1-2 months long (as opposed to 5 months) and why classes will be between $80 and $300 instead of $500 to $5,000.
When the student "graduates", they do not receive a certificate of any kind (this may change when we begin to do professional/vocational training, 1-2 years out) Instead, the student accomplished something real! Either their business is off the ground and they are now obtaining funding (VC, Angel, bootstrapping, etc.), or they have a sustainable platform for their art or music projects via fund raising and networking.

Friday, June 4, 2010

UWC very interesting


UWC's mission: UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hiring teachers!

If you or anybody you know is interested here's the ad:

Our organization is looking for open-minded teachers to work with us while we develop a new education model. We are targeting collegiate students:

-College Dropouts
-New entrants
-Business Students
-Art Students

Teachers should possess the following qualities:

-Specific area of expertise (business, art, finance, etc.)
-Teaching experience or management experience
-Effective Communication
-No degree required

-$20-50 per day
-2-4 hours per day
-1-4 days per week

In order to start the interview process we will need you to email a resume and cover letter to me at telling us about yourself. Student-teachers are welcome to apply. You will be a key member of our organization going forward. We are looking to hire 3 teachers initially. If you are currently a teacher, this is fine. We will be delivering classes after hours in the afternoon and evening as well. This will be a very different teaching position compared to what many of you are used to and we hope you are up for the challenge. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A call to action....

Our students need expert help to go... well, somewhere. They don't know exactly where they are going, and neither do we. Yet we keep asking them...

What are you going into?
What are you studying?
What do you want to be?

We need to stop. This is an uncomfortable question for most students, probably because they have no clue as to what they want to do with their lives.

I propose that students are explorers. They encounter new territory and search around for meaning. Once meaning is found, they set off to another place.

Students need to explore. They need to learn so that they can explore some more. Our students are charting new territory. There is no map to where they need to go. There never will be. So we need not teach them them how to better read maps, but how to better make maps, and navigate without them.

Exploration does not consist of taking a known path to a known location! On the contrary, it requires us to open our eyes, test the waters, and proceed boldly in the face of uncertainty. If we misstep, then we correct course and move along.

Our organization is engaging students here locally and helping them formulate and implement their ideas. We have to. It's the future.
There is no model for this movement. How could there be? We're still exploring and still creating it. I hope you create something similar in your community, or hell, copy it exactly (I'll post regular updates). We need it. The world depends on it. Go. Do. Now.

Watch this.