So I want to hardwire a lamp in the bathroom. You know, like a real man. My plan of attack? Youtube.
You see, my dad didn’t show me how to hardwire anything. Sure, he taught me how to put Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage in a bowl spaghetti. He taught me that five Coors Lights is better than three. He taught me that winning isn’t everything—but that it beats the hell out of losing.
But hardwiring a lamp? No. So, back to youtube. Or, if you prefer, what I call the "TIY movement." A movement so big, I guarantee you are a part of it and don't even know it.
Ask just about anyone under the age of 40 how to figure out how to change a showerhead, learn a guitar lick of a Rolling Stone song, or how to put filling inside a cupcake, and they’ll tell you to look it up on line.
We call it DIY- Do It Yourself. It’s an empowering idea, one that is about self reliance. It's also a bit punk rock-- "do it yourself" means "you can make it yours." An enormous swath of the internet is dedicated to people showing other people how to do it yourself. I think it’s biggest, least talked about movement in education today.
And it’s got the wrong name.
We should call it “Teach It Yourself.” It’s more fundamental than simply Do It Yourself: You have to teach it to yourself to do it yourself. And that is what so many of us do when we need to do something we don’t know how to do. It’s what I am going to do when I install this f#@$ing light in my bathroom.
It's time for us to have a much better conversation about why DIY (sorry, TIY) is the best example of the “state of the art” of Education today.
The best of "DIY" is really just great teaching.
If there’s something teachers notice about the ubiquitous TIY instructions out there it's how good (or bad) the instructions are. Because great think about instructions all the time- because great instructions allow people to teach themselves.
Anyone who has used an easy to follow instructional video or read a great manual (think workout plans or cookbooks), knows that these instructions can be great teachers, too. Great-instruction-givers allow us to invest in ourselves. It's schooling at it's most distilled: education improves us.
The best of DIY is really just great teaching. And, with the internet, its reach across age, gender, economic and social class, and geography barriers make DIY instructions the most powerful force in Education today.
Want to do what great teachers do? Study what makes instructions easy to follow, efficient, inspiring, and delightful. Look at the wide range of instructions available online and in books. See how directions are put together, how words and images can be used to model and guide. Now that's teacher training I could get behind. Great instructions are encoded teaching.
For my teacher friends and teacher advocates out there: instructions cannot REPLACE teachers, of course. Great instructions are the products and tools of great teaching. And great teaching is teaching other people to teach themselves.
Now, the way to CREATE and DEVELOP good instructions is much more complicated, certainly. For one, it's about knowing and connecting with your audience (students). But getting into that right now will keep me from a delicious meal of breakfast sausage spaghetti washed down with a raft of Coors Lights.
Just the kind of preparation I need to hardwire a lamp.
Images from and thanks to
the awesome blog http://harmonioushomestead.com/2013/08/07/homemade-cold-smoker/
and the fun site http://www.ohthelovelythings.com/2011/12/happy-friday-4-diy-projects.html