There are many ways to share what you know with others. Here are some alternatives to traditional education that are either free, extremely cheap, or rely on some form of barter or trade.

Shareable features an article this week on a Freeskool in Ithaca, NY:

With classes like Mushroom Hunting, Bike Repair, Know Your Rights with Debtors, and D.I.Y. Movie Making, it’s a refreshing variety of completely free classes for people of all ages. Started only a few years ago and run entirely by volunteers, the Freeskool gives the community an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge.

Another venture, also featured on Shareable, is described as a ‘pop-up’ school, which for a month offered classes for barter. Anyone can sign-up to teach, and the list of classes is esoteric and exciting. Even better, each class has a corresponding blog post, which acts as a perfect refresher if you’ve forgotten some of the basics. From organising an arts festival to caviar. Here’s a quote from Elizabeth, who taught the Caviar Demystified course:

I think Trade School is beautiful – from a design perspective, from the curation and execution. It should live on as a platform for individuals who can’t afford school to have a place to be inspired and then potentially teach too. Or think critically about what they can talk about – It successfully inspires human engagement and education.

Other formats that I have seen include the School of Everything. I signed up, but I haven’t had any bites yet. It may be simply because the site hasn’t had much exposure in Australia (be warned, it loads very slowly). Or maybe the concept is still a bit out there for Aussies? Here’s a lovely posting from their site anyway, which will go some way to explaining the ethos behind the concept.

As we decide what next for School of Everything we’ve been doing a little bit of soul searching and thinking about what we truly believe in (as well as working hard, being nice to people and the power of good chili sauce). Here’s what we’ve come up with – would be great to know what you think.

We believe…

  • The real world is better than the internet. Step away from your computer please. Getting out and trying new things is better than being sat at a desk all day.
  • All subjects are important. Learning is learning, and learning is good. Knowing how to rewire a plug is just as valuable as understanding inverse trigonometric functions.
  • Everyone has something to teach. Everyone, yes everyone, has something they can teach someone else.
  • Everyone has their own way of learning. It’s better to learn in the way you want to. You know what suits you best.
  • Learning is better with friends. People are brilliant, inspiring, generous and smart. Being with others makes it easier and enjoyable to learn more.
  • You should never stop learning. You can keep learning whatever your age, far beyond your school days.
  • Education shouldn’t be expensive. With a bit of ingenuity you can learn new things without spending lots of money.
  • Qualifications are overrated. A good education is about the things you learn along the way, not a fancy bit of paper.
  • All of these projects and initiatives are inspiring. I’d love to start some sort of venture based on these models here in Hobart.

    Spiral image

    Is this the future for Knowledge Management?

    In 2025, every individual in every organization uses their own personal computer for both personal and work applications. Almost all information is Web-based, with organizations’ proprietary information only accessible through authorization software. E-mail has disappeared, replaced by a virtual presence application that includes instant messaging, screensharing, voice/videoconferencing, filesharing, calendaring, tasklists.

    The KM department still manages the purchase of external information, though almost all information in 2025 is free; information producers have realized that their business model is to apply that information to specific customers’ business environment, in consulting assignments, rather than trying to sell publications. Most of the mainstream media were nationalized after they went bankrupt using their traditional business models, and now operate as public services.

    Most of what the KM department does now is trying to facilitate more effective conversations among people within the organization and with people outside the organization, including customers. They facilitate many meetings that use the virtual presence application, especially those that involve more than five people. That facilitation includes organizing the meeting, distributing advance materials, facilitating the discussion (conflict resolution, staying on schedule etc.), and even recording, editing and publishing the meeting as appropriate. They run courses in effective conversation, meeting and presentation skills.

    I am a great admirer of Dave Pollard’s thought provoking posts, so I really don’t have anything to add to this one.

    Read Dave Pollard’s post

    An interesting article by Matthew Hodgson over at the AppGap about adoption models for social media and collaborative computing in the workplace.

    Did you know that the top-down model is the least successful in organisations that are unused to change? No suprises there.

    Chris Brogan has posted this seminar on his blog. Its Kevin Kelly from Wired talking about the next step. It accords with my observations about where the Web is heading. HERENOW Collective is interested in assisting organisations to prepare for the changes caused by the power of this ‘collective of things’ in the virtual world. It is also the new power of the collective mind. Be prepared, it will change our world.

    Meanwhile, I would like to introduce another associate of HERENOW Collective: Fiona McIlroy. I have added her webpage as a link under Collaborators, and this is her picture
    Fiona

    Blogged with the Flock Browser

    The Future of Work’s Newsletter just arrived in my inbox. Interesting article about Social Networking’s maturity as a form of collaborative communication: Read it here – http://www.thefutureofwork.net/newsletter_1108_Notes_Social_Networking.html

    Here are some interesting links:

    David Kemper’s The Digital Archive blog http://digitalpermanence.blogspot.com/

    A website / blog called Seradigm http://seradigm.co.nz/2008/06/05/archives-20.html

    I think the possibilities for organisations are endless and exciting. If they have the courage…