Everyone has something to learn, everyone has something to teach

Way, way back in the 1970s – yep, I had flared trousers and pet dinosaur – I was interested in what we called ‘learning exchanges’. The concept is simple enough. I know how to put in a fish pond and water garden, you know how to write ruby on rails, we get together and swap/share the information. Money may, or may not, change hands. Generally not – the concept was ‘exchange’. Barter.

The weak link in the chain (especially in the 70s) was how to let people know what was available to learn, and what could they offer to teach. The School of Everything has attempted to address this using a Drupal implementation. It’s sort of a cross between a crappy poster in the supermarket for piano lessons and the labour exchange.

School of Everything is a site where teachers can advertise, and everyone can browse for someone to teach what they’re looking for.

It’s free to use, whether you’re teaching, learning or both. To contact teachers or advertise your own teaching, all you have to do is register.

Limitations: UK only (at the moment), teaching is not for free. Not entirely limiting however, and it’s great to see a web-2 variation/inspiration on an old idea.

One thought on “Everyone has something to learn, everyone has something to teach

  1. dougald Post author

    Hi Lynsey,

    Glad you’re into what we’re trying to do with the School of Everything. It’s great to read people making connections with the history of informal learning. (We’re keen not to reinvent the wheel – or claim credit for ideas which others have been working on and putting into practice long before we got started…)

    I just wanted to let you know a bit more, regarding the limitations you mentioned. Making the site work internationally is a high priority at the moment – we should have some good news there early in 2008. As for teaching not being for free, it’s true that we’re not restricting the site to free teaching – but we’re not restricting it to paid-for teaching, either. (Maybe we need to explain that more clearly, though?)

    It’s still early days… As things evolve, we plan to add more tools for organising peer-to-peer learning and other alternatives to paid-for teaching – as well as tools to help people who want to make a living by teaching outside formal institutions.

    Thanks for spreading the word about what we’re doing. I hope we’ll be able to fulfill the potential that a lot of people experienced in the ‘learning exchanges’ of the 1970s!

    Dougald Hine
    Co-founder, School of Everything

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