Posted November 17, 2015on:
I sold some items recently with the help of a mobile tool and it reminded me of the importance of do-it-yourself (DIY) education.
I went on a technology device purge of late, not because I suddenly went mad, but because I had too many items.
In my household, I had a distinctly first world problem of having a device to person ratio of 4 or 5 to 1. When several devices I had lent to people were returned to me recently, that ratio went up.
The devices were the ones that my borrowers decided not to buy. So I sold three Apple laptops, one Android slate, a wifi device, and an Apple TV. I still have an iPad, a multimedia box, and a spare, brand new router that are advertised in my Carousell space. (Full disclosure: This is not an advertisement for Carousell. I am not paid to write this for them.)
Some of the money I recouped has gone into replacing my wife’s Macbook Air. That way I do not introduce another device to our family.
At first I thought I would trade-in the old laptops in order to pay a lower price for a newer one at an Apple reseller, Nubox. It seemed convenient, but I soon found out that they were crooks who offered very little for the items.
I revisited Carousell, a mobile and online platform for buying and selling items, despite the hassle it can generate.
I have to take my own photos, write my own advertisements, and deal with in influx of questions, comments, and even the occasional attack. I then have to arrange to meet buyers and sell the items. I also have to deal with people who can get nasty or stupid along the way.
However, I sold the laptops for more than twice what Nubox offered. People know value when they see it. A company is only out to help itself. (By the way, the sales staff at Nubox were ruder and more unpleasant than the people I have negotiated with online.)
As I view practically everything through an educator’s lens, I likened my experience to someone who had to decide whether to learn by someone else’s rules or by defining their own.
When schooled, you do not have to think about outcomes, curriculum, resources, support, or assessment. All that is taken care of by an institution as long as you pay them to do it. Such a process is more efficient and convenient, but you have to ask yourself if it is effective and worth the cost.
More independent and self-directed learners, on the other hand, have the Carousell-equivalent of making arrangements for their own learning. But I would wager that they would learn more than just content. They would shape context and walk away with more skills than they bargained for.
The reality is that we learn from a mixture of both extremes. However, we tend to rely on organised schooling a lot more than DIY learning. Even as adults, it is easier to let someone else decide what we learn. Conventional teacher “professional development” is a good example.
If we want to distance ourselves from one-size-fits-all approaches, then we must first experience what self-organised, DIY learning is like. Then only can we show our learners how to do the same.