“Wealth is now defined, at least in part, by the ability to be offline whenever you want” Fernando Gros.
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Blog // Thoughts
February 14, 2013

How We Learn Today

During my recent DIY adventure (see the articles WoodWork and My Startup) I faced some practical challenges. Namely, how to use powertools to cut and shape big pieces of wood, without injuring myself (or destroying my home). I did what anybody seeking knowledge does these days. I went to YouTube. It wasn’t hard to find […]

During my recent DIY adventure (see the articles WoodWork and My Startup) I faced some practical challenges. Namely, how to use powertools to cut and shape big pieces of wood, without injuring myself (or destroying my home).

I did what anybody seeking knowledge does these days. I went to YouTube. It wasn’t hard to find great videos explaing the ins and outs of using various tools, safety tips and really smart advice on how to get the basics right (like cutting a nice straight line again and again). It hasn’t made me a mastercrafstmen, but it did get me through the job.

How To Make A Rip Fence Jig For A Circular Saw

The Way We Learn

This kind of easy access to technical information is very different to the world I was born into. Information used to be hard to find; technical books were rare and prohibitively expensive, tradespeople tended to guard knowledge and many tools (along with advice on how to use them) were simply not on sale to the general public.

In less than a generation, that world has been turned on its head. Education, especially the parts that we used to call adult education, continuing education and technical education have been opened up, flattered and made radically less expensive (both in terms of time and money).

This is one of the less reported aspects of the digital revolution. Changes in the entertainment industry and the nature of political change get more attention. But, the changes in the way we learn are every bit as important. They radically alter the skills one person can acquire in a lifetime and the kinds of projects that are possible for all of us.

The Changing Face Of Inspiration

Not only were online videos a great source of information, they also inspired me to try my hand at this in the first place. For some time I’ve been fascinated with the mini documentaries that pop up on Vimeo, showing craftspeople at work. I shared the video for Cut Brooklyn knives as an inspiration back in November 2011. But, there are so many more. Here are five that have recently caught my eye and moved my soul.

The Birth Of A Tool Part I – Axe Making

Work In Progress – Klaus Lichtenegger

From Steel – The Making of a Soulcraft

Jewelry Designer – Philip Crangi

Nakashima Woodworker

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