Friday, 1 February 2008

Explaining Everything

You can spend months looking for a really simple way to explain something, and then one day the answer just pops into your head. It happened to us last week in the School of Everything office. We've been through dozens of versions of the About pages for the site, explaining it from different angles, and then Paul and Kris had an idea.

Here's the result:

There's lots of other exciting stuff happening for School of Everything - and there'll be more news over the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, if you (or anyone you know) has something they could teach, it's definitely time to create a profile on the site!


Anirudh said...

This seems interesting and I will visit your website. The word "school", however, is a negative one in my mind so I don't like the name.

Anirudh said...

Seems like Ivan Illich's network of learners. Is it?

Dougald Hine said...

Hi anirudh,

You're right, Illich's idea for learning networks is definitely a major inspiration for the site. Another influence was the Free University at Palo Alto in the late 1960s (as well as the many other experiments in creating skill exchanges and alternative learning institutions in that era).

I know what you mean about the negative connotations of "school". The name is a bit tongue in cheek, really. My attitude is that I would be more worried about using the word "school" if what we were creating looked more like a school.

It's also worth remembering the Greek origins of the word school, which I was writing about a couple of months ago. "Schole" means "a vacation", in the sense of clearing a space, making room for the contemplation and reflection which make real learning possible. As we both know, this is a long way from much of what goes on in today's schools, but sometimes it's worth trying to reclaim a word!


Nick said...

Hey Dougald, been awhile. I am now happily graduated and in the process of trying my hand as a math and science teacher in San Francisco. When do you expect SoE will extend to the USA? Right now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I can't search for any teachers on it in the states.

Also, here's a video you should definitely be interested in:

Well worth the time it takes to read it!

Dougald Hine said...

Hey Nick - great to hear from you.

Congratulations on graduating - I hope the teaching's going well.

You're right, at the moment School of Everything only really works for the UK. But we'll be going international in the near future. Our development team are currently fine-tuning the geography system - it's amazing how tricky it is figuring out the right way to let people place themselves on a map.

Thanks for the link to that lecture. Wow! I watched the first ten minutes this morning - and I'm looking forward to sitting down to watch the whole thing.

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