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Posts Tagged ‘diy

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.

Apple iPad 2.

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.

My Carousell space.

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.)

Texting Congress 1 by afagen, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License   by  afagen 

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.

Several years ago, not many people thought one could make a living being a professional blogger.

A few years ago, we saw the rise of YouTubers. They can rake in millions of dollars a year.

Video source

Now say hello to the professional Instagrammer.

You might be able to reinvent yourself today. Our kids can certainly invent their own professions or find their own niches.

In either case, school is not necessarily going to help you do these things. You will have to customize your own education.

Video source
This girl started drawing raptors at the age of two. She has moved on to aliens, dinosaurs, and Iron Man. She wants to be a professional in this field and few would argue that she lacks the talent to do this.

A standardized schooling is unlikely to serve her needs. She has also pointed out that she does not have the opportunities to hone her craft the traditional way. Instead she has learnt tips and tricks online.

Her approach is not unique. STonline just released an article on how professionals like photographers, chefs, crafters, and music instructors are doing the same.

The cynic might say that the truly exceptional will find ways to help themselves. An experienced educator will recognize that all kids are special and gifted in their own way. If they blossom, it is often despite their schooling, not because of it.

A one-size-fits-all philosophy and implementation cannot help. They must find their own way with YouTube videos, social media connections, and caring educators who know how to leverage on such systems. It is time to invest in just in time (JIT) and just for me (JFM) education.

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Now this is promising! RRW reports that Hoppala has a Web tool called Augmentation that allows users to “easily and instantaneously place their content in Layar with zero code and a few clicks on a map”.

Content creation and manipulation is what it’s about, not just consumption!


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