A lot of the talk about technology and education these days is about changing the classroom or inverting the lecture. These represent ways of rethinking the mainstream classroom, and there are a lot of interesting experiments underway.
But there’s another exciting form of education that’s showing real promise: web-enabled mentoring for deep skills.
The old school model goes like this: you sit in a big classroom and learn your basic skills. Then, if you’re good and if you show promise and if you have the wherewithal, you travel somewhere to apprentice directly with a master craftsman. This kind of one-to-one apprenticeship can be extraordinarily valuable for certain deep skills, particularly in the arts. Most people, even very talented ones, will never be able to study with a master. At least in person. But now the web is unleashing a new wave of mentoring to people who’ve never had the opportunity before.
I also enjoy reading the blogs of artists that I admire. You can get so much closer to answering the question “how do they spend their time so that they can make that thing?”
By the way, this is what I’ve learned: buy the same markers and notebooks they use. Then be talented and work really hard. So far I’ve got some really nice markers…