Friday, September 30, 2016

Carve Out Your Own Piece of this Crazy New World

Carve Out Your Own Piece of this Crazy New World

I am sure I don't have to spend a lot of time and space on this page convincing you that the world today as vastly different from the world a lot of us knew in the mid- to late-1900s. Business -- our jobs and everything associated with them (like our salary, time to rest, time to get up and off to work in the morning, no time for breakfast, eat fat- and sugar-laden snacks to keep up the high-pitched energy level ... all that sort of thing). It isn't a "bad"  world. It's just is simply one that is still in transition. 

The new ways of this crazy new world can get very cumbersome, bothersome, or even threatening, however, when we try to apply the old methods and standards. The old standards, expectations, and methods were okay for their day. The way people were educated, found and kept jobs for decades at a time, worked for a nice pension and guaranteed government retirement. It actually sounds kind of idyllic. (Sigh!). But we need to work with the new reality. Case in point:  Carving out your own workable niche is a world where very few niches are yet defined.

"Carving out your niche" is not to be confused with the trendy notion of "finding your passion." The latter -- this "finding your passion" thing -- is most often implemented using old-school  techniques and goal-seeking. We even get the impression that "finding your passion" is very much like winning the lottery or that $5,000 a week from Publishers C learning House. "Find your passion and you can live happily ever after!" I can't help but think it sounds very much like one of those street-corner evangelist.

The "find you passion thing" isn't an answer to a new problem. It's just an old school-idea (with its multiple-choice/short-answer aptitude tests and twenty minutes with a high school counselor. As is the way of the old school, a young person is forced to fit themselves into some sort of occupational niche. I mean that is absolutely essential--how else can take the "right" courses, apply to the "right" college, get the "right" degree, and get the "right" job? the pressure to conform. And with the crazy pace of today's world and the pervasive nature of social media, is it no wonder kids  are  stressed out about having no particular vocational interest or attractive college major.

Let's move on from this depressing old-school idea of conformity and tendency to shuttle nonconforming people to occupational leper colonies. (i hope you can soon get an appreciation for the fact that those old-school leper colonies can be a viable breeding ground for radical lifelong learners who set about changing the world and building super-satisfying personal lives).

So what is lifelong learning? What is radical lifelong learning? How it all different from the way things were done a generation ago. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What is This Place?

Hello. My name is Dave Heiserman, and I grow. revise. and maintain this site. It all started in 1997 when I wanted to demonstrate the feasibility of offering free online education to the global community. It worked. Free-Ed.Net  topped the Google search for "free education" until early 2012 when the notion of free education on the Web caught the fancy of organizations and institutions with bigger staffs and deeper pockets.

So I've had to face a choice: Fade quietly into the sunset, or ride ahead of the crest of the wave for the next revolution in popular education for the 21st century. Well, sunsets can be beautiful and inspiring, but I do so love the smell of napalm in my office every morning where I work to show so-called "ordinary people" that they can achieve extraordinary feats of invention and intellect.