CC-licensed image by Ibán
i was chatting with a friend on facebook recently when he told me that he was in the middle of class. i thought he had long since finished an MBA, so when i asked him about it, he said that it was a python class he was taking at NYU SCPS. to me, this was a great example of what education should be — interest-based and self-motivated. i suppose those two together get you passion, and there’s a lot of passion-based education avaiable, though i think there’s more of it outside of schools than inside them.
if we take a look outside of schools, there are so many models that cater to adults that want to take and teach classes out of personal interest. the brooklyn brainery, skillshare, and p2pu all let adults take classes on a range of topics that they’re interested in and even teach a course if they’re so inclined. ds106 takes an course that is concurrently taught at several institutions and opens up the material, assignments, and experience to anyone that wants to join. duolingo and codeacademy are free sites that let anyone decide that they want to learn a new language, whether it’s spanish or web programming. i just signed up for my first class — a photography class — with skillshare, and i got a $10 scholarship from zappos just for taking the class and requesting the money. talk about a great system.
so many choices… but they’re all meant for adults who want to expand their knowledge.
can this model be adapted for K12 education? what would it look like to have kids choose from an a la carte menu of course offerings? most schools offer some selection of electives, but i’m thinking beyond that. how often do students get to choose from a selection of core courses to shape their own education?