Peer 2 Peer University is a volunteer-supported open learning community. Together with Mozilla we started the "School of Webcraft" - a place where web developers learn hackers' habits, build up portfolios, and receive badges for their accomplishments. We are currently developing similar programmes for social innovators, in-service teachers, and data scientists. The goal of P2PU is to enable anyone to learn just about anything - by connecting individuals with each other and with existing educational content on the web. We are fans of the idea of the university, but the traditional education system has become too expensive, too focused on one-size-fits-all solutions, and is growing out of touch with the needs of many learners, employers and society. It is time for a bit of disruptive innovation. P2PU started as a crazy idea a little over 2 years ago, and has grown into a registered non-profit organization with staff in three countries, users in over 100 countries, and partnerships with industry leaders and some of the leading traditional universities of the world. In this session, we would like to share our experiences and discuss what the open future of education will look like.
Since 1980, the cost of college has risen more than 350% and the average student has more than $25,000 in debt. It used to be that each year of college correlated to an significant increase in lifetime earnings, but 44.4% of college graduates under the age of twenty-five are unemployed or working jobs that don’t require their degree. College teaches us conformity rather than innovation, rather than learning, and theory rather than application. Imagine if the millions of kids sitting in class started their own companies, their own causes, their own initiatives. Imagine if we approached learning in small groups like the French Salons, gathering to discuss, challenge, and support each other in changing the world. This may sound crazy, but I’m an unschooler. While my peers went to school, I started businesses, helped build a library, worked on political campaigns, lived in France, found mentors, and worked at a start-up. College isn't the only path to success.
9th–13th March 2012