October 22, 2012 | 4:00 PM
- Street Photography: How to capture the scenes of your city.
- Silkscreen your own pillowcase.
- Adobe Illustrator Workshop for beginners. Real fast healthy Japanese food.
That's a random sampling of classes offered by the social network/non-traditional online educational startup Skillshare. It launched in 2010 behind a simple but powerful idea. It's about sharing skills. If you are a great bonsai tree pruner or crotchet expert, you can use the online forums at Skillshare to set up a quick curriculum and conduct classes to interested learners. And if you're looking for new things to learn, join someone's class.
It's the way that that idea is applied, through project-based learning around singular skills, that echoes the philosophy of "Friends of Vik Muniz for Spectaculu," a collaboration between Intel and Levi's.
Skillshare writes in its manifesto:
Our vision is to democratize learning by empowering teaching. To build a world where you can learn anything from anyone. Powered by an endless cycle of learning and sharing passions. We will turn every community into a campus. Every address into a classroom. And every inhabitant into a student and teacher. Skillshare is for the doers, not the academics or the theorists.
In August, Skillshare introduced hybrid programs. These classes add in-person instruction to the online courses that originally populated the site. Want to learn how to "Leverage Your Creativity for Good"? Paull Young, a director at the non-profit Charity:Water, is teaching an in-person class. How about learning the craft of comedy writing? McSweeney's scribe Grace Bello will teach you.
Skillshare's hybrid programs are the next evolution of online peer-to-peer education. They combine high-tech enabled learning with a more classic way of transferring skills through in-person instruction. Intel and Levi's "Friends of Vik Muniz for Spectaculu," seeks to do the same.
In 20 years, the face of education (especially arts education) might look very different than it does today. Intel and Levi's are committed to supporting new ideas in creative learning so that, in the future, skills in visual arts and design remain outlets for creativity and viable career paths. The community at Skillshare, where you can probably find a class on the future of arts education, seems to agree.