As I prepare to go to Portland next week for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit I find myself so excited to be living in a time when we can
break make the rules of earning a living. Entrepreneurs and those seeking to be entrepreneurs of all ages will be congregating in Portland to explore the possibilities of creating our own work and lifestyle. 2o years ago this would have been seen as crazy, but the times they are a changing.
What strikes me most about the movement of DIYers is the greater implication of DIY.
It does not just mean do it yourself, but most times LIY – learn it yourself. What does this say about education?
I have several friends that have kids graduating from high school this year and planning for college. I can’t say were I in their shoes I’d be doing the same. The idea of a college education to guarantee a career seems to have become a myth for many. The new economy, which seems to based on technology and community building, has requirements that college may not be able to offer. I got started on this topic after reading this article PayPal Co-Founder Hands Out $100,000 Fellowships To Not Go To College.
Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and one of the first investors in Facebook, is proposing a controversial path toward more rapid innovation. Today his Thiel Foundation announced that it was giving 24 people under 20 $100,000 fellowships to drop out of school for two years to start a their own companies.
Theil believes that more innovative thinking will occur in a startup environment than college. Granted, every 18 year old can’t just go out and start up a business, but unless they have really clear goals I’d say working a few years could be more beneficial than college. Working and exploring.
In Five Ways to Reschool on the Interweb, educator Melia Dicker offers an extensive list of free or by donation learning opportunities. If you can’t find what you need there we have a whole community of bloggers offering ecourses, ebooks, and podcasts for a fraction of the cost of college. I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing without them, and I honestly can’t say that about my formal education. My college experience was great and it gave me a lot, but what I do now has little to do with that. I am self taught.
There is a ton of material on both sides of this argument, but I’ll leave you with one more. Award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto wrote this list of traits:
Really educated people …
- Establish an individual set of values but recognize those of the surrounding community and of the various cultures of the world.
- Explore their own ancestry, culture, and place.
- Are comfortable being alone, yet understand dynamics between people and form healthy relationships.
- Accept mortality, knowing that every choice affects the generations to come.
- Create new things and find new experiences.
- Think for themselves; observe, analyze, and discover truth without relying on the opinions of others.
- Favor love, curiosity, reverence, and empathy rather than material wealth.
- Choose a vocation that contributes to the common good.
- Enjoy a variety of new places and experiences but identify and cherish a place to call home.
- Express their own voice with confidence.
- Add value to every encounter and every group of which they are a part.
- Always ask: “Who am I? Where are my limits? What are my possibilities?”
Can you learn these things while attaining a formal education? Absolutely. Can you learn them on your own? You bet. It may seem from my selection here that I am anti education. I am not, and I have even been a teacher. However I think we live in a time of such flux that all decisions need rethinking, especially where old models are still largely in place.
What do you think?
Is college becoming defunct, or will it just change to fit a new work force?
If you went to college, are you using your degree?
If you are self employed, did you teach yourself what you know?
Lastly, the big one… If you are a teacher, how do you see education changing to meet the needs of a new economy and workforce?