Historically, “school” has been the physical and sociological place where a society educates its next generation.
School was a place where children and young adults went to be taught those things they would need to know in order to survive and thrive in the world they would inhabit.
- Schools were storehouses of knowledge.
- Schools were platforms for experts with rare insight and wisdom.
- Schools were arbiters of success.
- Schools were repositories for records of accomplishment – or the lack of it!
- Schools were trusted to award meaningful credentials, so as to stratify the worthy.
School’s Role in the Information Age
Suddenly, we find ourselves in a world absolutely awash in knowledge. In emerging technical fields especially, the sum total of knowledge can double in less than a year.
To remain the “storehouse of knowledge,” schools would need to constantly update and revise their curriculum, almost to the exclusion of any other activity.
It simply isn’t possible.
The knowledge is available, it’s just not possible to disseminate it fast enough through the “school mechanism.”
- Yet there is still a huge need to organize knowledge, to sift high quality providers from lesser.
- There is still a need to provide structure and pace to learning experiences.
- There is still a need to assess.
- There is still a need to report, to endorse, and to provide meaningful, real credentials.
The Open Source School (or School As A Service)
School As A Service (SchAAS) consists in 3 fundamental activities:
1.) Provide a conceptual and digital platform for learning.
2.) Source the finest teaching available in the cloud.
3.) Award appropriate credentials.
1.) The conceptual structure for learning involves the lesson flow, clarity and assessment process for a course or learning event. The digital platform is software that facilitates these processes.
2.) The best teaching is in the cloud. It is free and widely disseminated via services like YouTube, SlideShare and their ilk. But there is a lot of flotsam and jetsam out there, disguised as teaching. SchAAS is about finding and presenting only the best.
3.) The best credentials are not necessarily awarded in class or after a series of classes. The best credentials are direct recommendations, referrals and references from trusted sources. SchAAS makes it possible for peers, external experts, partners and other leaders to validate actual, real knowledge and skill.
Our SchAAS Projects
So far we have launched 2 SchAAS projects, with many more in the works:
AppDevU.com, where students can learn application development for free.
Ames Media Institute (amesmedia.org), for free film making and digital media courses.
School Bus photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alansmythee/2305483552/