Decentralized Education

Okay this is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and indeed I’ve wanted to set up an learner and interest based academy for awhile but, you know, money. I’m very much a supporter of unschooling and interest led education as opposed to top down proscribed education by some kind of authority. But here’s what I was thinking. Why not use SAFE, alt coins, crowdsales and crowdfunding to all make it work?

One of the reasons educational institutions work the way they do is they build reputation by having one institution “certify” or recommend another institution. But what if we changed that model? What if we based reputation on a public portfolio of one’s completed and recorded works rather than reputation garnered at a particular institution.

Say you wanted to learn to build a birdhouse. So you go and find instructions, materials and teach yourself how and actually construct one. Well that’s proof of experience and skill right there. Then you move onto a larger project and learn more about woodworking, say build a spice rack or something. So again you learn how, you get your materials and demonstrate your ability. The proof is in the spice rack. Now if these projects were carefully documented say by using video or a ton of pictures then that could then be uploaded to SAFE, permanently, where it could then later be referenced by others. So when someone asks for you to prove you know something you don’t reference them to credentials from an institution but to a portfolio of recorded works.

Now assume one wanted to learn a given subject. If the given subject was already being studied they could simply join the group/class. Or if the given subject was not available they could create a new class/project based on their interest. Of course such things have costs associated with them. So each class would initially funded by creating it’s own alt coin and crowdsale. The crowdsale would essentially be a gauge of if there was enough interest/demand and willing investment to support the costs associated with creating the class. After which maintaining the class would be done via students and other investors buying the class’s altcoin. The more valuable the altcoin the more funds the particular class would have at it’s disposal as the class’s coin could be stored or exchanged for another currency that could be used for purchases. Or the class’s coin could even be used directly by those willing to accept it. (After all those investing in the class will also be owners of the coin so why not trade amongst themselves.) Students, teachers, family, friends, investors, anyone buying the coin could be trading in it and accepting it for goods and services.

Now the same thing could be done when trying to fund the academy itself. Create a crowdsale and then use additional crowdfunding to support the creation of such an institution. A place where one could self educate and study what one was interested in while still collaborating with other learners. A place one could form mentorships and apprenticeships respectively as one’s skills developed and one encountered those of lesser or greater knowledge and skill level.

More importantly I think to the majority o students these days is this model would also help alleviate the problem of student debt as it would already take the costs of creating and maintaining the class into consideration. Classes that were in high demand would be invested in directly by the students while classes that were not might drop away or have to reconsider their budgets.

I think it’s also worth noting the obvious fact that learners would also be teachers. As one progressed in skill one would teach those of lesser skill. This has several benefits. One it cements the skills in one’s own mind as teaching another helps one more fully learn a skill. And two it helps build reputation of one’s skills. Add in having a personal altcoin to help record reputation (and remember also that one’s accomplishments are being recorded on SAFE) this can equate to quite a bit of worth. How much is one’s personal altcoin worth monetarily speaking? How much has one aquired in various classcoins or in the accademycoin? If one chose to sell these coins how much safecoin would that add up to? See what I mean? So instead of just flat out being paid a wage as one develops experience one also builds financial assets via the altcoins one accumulates.

Add into this things like having open source textbooks and educational assets on SAFE. MOOCs on SAFE and other such materials. Open source scientific research and accademic research, libraries and all manner of public domain information on SAFE. When you put all that together you start seeing how using the traditional educational propaganda machine is just plain out moded. Yes things like a lab or a physical library require funding but that’s what the crowdsale and crowdfunding are for. That’s what investing in a project’s altcoin are for.

Anyway. Give all this a read over and tell me what you guys think. If you feel there’s some way to improve it let me know. I’m putting this in “other projects” because it’s not quite an app and it’s definitely not off-topic.