the code that works to decentralize and enrich the learning process
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iPull is a social experiment inspired by a book on The New Culture of Learning, an essay on Bad Education, and backed up by Harvard's Colleges in Crisis. It is based on the assumption that in the coming years, for high school graduates interested in certain careers, there will be a shift away from universities, where in the past it had been seen as compulsory. The underlying forces of this shift will be:

  • The prevelance of free, high quality, easily accessible knowledge, thanks to entities like Google, Wikipedia, iTunes U and Kahn Academy.
  • The cost to acquire many college degrees will unquestionably outpace the typical graduate's ability to payoff the loans without severely limiting their career options.

With the cost of knowledge approaching zero, and the cost of a college degree outpacing wage increases, and the irrevocability of student loans, more high school graduates will be looking for alternatives.

This experiment is meant to explore one of many possible alternatives.

iPull is a platform for courses to be proposed by the people interested in learning about a specific subject. A motivated learner sets up a course, choosing the price, class size range, dates, times, duration, and creates an initial description. The learner then commits to paying the price for the course if a minimum number of learners also commit to pay and participate. Once the course begins, the learners are charged the price. At the conclusion of the course, the learners will be able to award iPull credits for the money they paid for the course to any of the other learners in the course. In this way, if there are some oustanding teachers or learning facilitators in a group, they will be rewarded for their skills and effort. They will also gain prestige in the iPull community because all awards are published.

For example, let's say a course costs $100 and there were 10 learners who participated. At the conclusion of the course, the learner would have the option to:

  • Do nothing, and iPull would use that money for operations.
  • Take all $100 and give it to one of the other learners, implying that this person was exceptionally helpful to the learner.
  • Take a portion of the $100 and give it to one of the other learners, leaving the rest for iPull's operations.
  • Split the $100 into whatever portions make sense and give it to multiple (in this example, up to 9) learners based on their helpfulness.

iPull credits would be able to be used toward future courses, in place of cash.

iPull will be a non-profit entity.

The codebase for iPull is freely available to all to use for any purpose.

I'm open to ideas, feedback, and collaboration.

Dave Hoover, @redsquirrel,

"In a society which emphasizes teaching, children and students - and adults - become passive and unable to think or act for themselves. Creative, active individuals can only grow up in a society which emphasizes learning instead of teaching. ... Instead of the lock-step of compulsory schooling in a fixed place, work in piecemeal ways to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city." Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language