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DIY and enthusiasm for the future is the young man in the middle of the photo--not the yellow machine in the foreground.

Technology is only a tool.  Some mistake it for the essence, but they are wrong.  People are the essence.  We are the change agents—not our tools.  The only thing I would change about the DIY movement is the name.  Instead of “Do It Yourself” the name should more accurately be “Do It Ourselves” DIO.  We so rarely do anything without help and assistance from others.  The current DIY movement with its makerspaces is as much a social event as anything else—a coming together of people united by a diversity of purposes and tools (not one tool, but many and not all of them are digital—but all are aimed at creating a better world. 

DIY is not a new concept.  It’s a concept that has been at the heart of the American experience for several hundred years.  Many American pioneers would have gone naked had they not embraced the DIY concept.  Several hundred years ago we would see looms by the hearths of many American homes.  Not only did the lady of the house make the clothes for her family, she often wove the fabric from sheep she raised.  No doubt in the future the lady of the house will make some of the clothing for her family using a 3-D printer.  It’s still the same basic concept of the home as a makerspace where people create stuff they actually need instead of consuming stuff that marketers tell them they need.

 

Reflections on My Visit to the Dallas Makerspace

If you visit, you'll see the magic of the Dallas Makerspace is neither the space nor the tools—although the tools are many and fabulous.  The people are the magic happening at the Dallas Makerspace—the people who share their knowledge and expertise with others.  And it’s also the people who come there to learn because the pupil always adds to wisdom of the teacher by bringing new possibilities with them from their own unique life experience—possibilities the teacher is not even able to dream of.  The teacher/pupil relationship is mutually beneficial.

 

The Resurrection of DIY is forefront on the American scene.

It’s no accident. The need for DIY arose like a phoenix in October of 2008 when those elected to serve us sold our very economy to wealthy financiers and bankers so they could continue to gamble on global markets sustained by slave labor with no concern for the environment.  However, it has taken Americans a few years to fully realize to the extent we and most people in the world have been sold out by the few.  Now and at least for the past three years I think that most of us on Main Street are beginning to realize the extent of the theft that occurred almost seven years ago.  Most of us realize that no real hope will be forthcoming at a national or even at a state level.  Thus the DIY quest continues to mushroom. 

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Sal Khan, Bengali American teacher, entrepreneur and former hedge fund analyst 

Meet DIY Salman Khan who founded a multimillion dollar nonprofit Kahn Academy--a free school.  Now we have DIY education.

Of course we’ve always had DIY education for years with our great libraries, but Kahn Academy has put Internet education on steroids.  Their mission is to provide a free, world-class education on the Internet for anyone, anywhere.  According to its founder “. . . most people are held back not by their innate ability, but by their mindset. They think intelligence is fixed, but it isn’t. Your brain is like a muscle. The more you use it and struggle, the more it grows.”

New research shows we can take control of our ability to learn. We can all become better learners. We just need to build our brains in the right way.

Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. Students can tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. Kahn Academy has also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content.

This spring, Stanford Consulting - a nonprofit, student-run organization - ran a survey to learn about the impact that Khan Academy has had on the educations of current college students. These students were asked whether they “found Khan Academy meaningful to their education” and whether they were the first in their family to go to college. The results are in, and today we’re excited to share some of the key findings.

 

Of the students who responded to the survey…

65% of Stanford students found KA meaningful to their education (out of 504 surveyed)
57% of students in other top schools* found KA meaningful to their education (out of 159 surveyed)
64% of first-generation college students (the first in their family to go to college) at these schools found KA meaningful to their education (out of 164 surveyed)

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This morning I watched a taped interview from April on Overhead with Evan Smith on KERA.  The program was devoted to an interview with Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy.

Watch it and you’ll like it.  Very interesting.  Very hopeful for the future.  Very powerful.  You’ll find out why they have 15 million registered users.  Who knows?  Perhaps, like me, you’ll become one too.

By the way, Mr. Khan is not suggesting the Internet learning experience replace the real world experience of the teacher and the pupil.  He is suggesting that it be used to enhance the learning experience.

http://www.klru.org/overheard/episode/salman-khan

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