credit Banksy — Brook Farm Primary School

Putting Love In It

The Hipsterfication of Learning

What can education learn from the revival of craft?

Some years ago I penned an article and gave a talk at the Edinburgh Festival titled the “Napsterfication of Learning”.

I was using the idea of piracy as a driver of innovation to unlock and provide access to a broader constituency thru the liberation of learning. We didn’t really get there and the alternative, as fuelled by huge commercial investments in EdTech, has been to limit access via business models that reinforce scarcity.

The Napsterfication of Learning

When I think of “hipsterfication” I’m considering the revival of craft whether, for example, it’s the creation of artisan beer or authentic unprocessed foods. To me this is a rejection of the industrialised models that seek to standardise to the extent that, today, the majority of consumer food brands are owned by just 10 global corporations.

The processes used to standardise and scale appear to diminish quality and distinctiveness. This has lead to a revolution on the high street and renaissance of the physical economy. I’m not talking about beards or tattoos but the love that is being put into craft and how the market responds.

The really successful case studies that I wrote about in Learning {Re}imagined were the ones where belief in the craft of teaching and inspiring generations were front and centre. I saw this in less affluent circumstances, for example in Ghana, as well as relatively affluent communities such as San Diego in the US.

Worldreader — Ghana
High Tech High — San Diego

To me these are examples to inspire rather than scale through the crude metrics of measurement and replication where reductionism erodes craft. The erosion of craft is a symptom of 20th century industrialism that sought to transform craft production to mass production. The result was a decline in localism, context and authenticity with all too obvious trade-offs in exchange for globalism and standardisation.

It occurs to me that a “hipsterfication” of learning and teaching is about the elevation of the teaching profession rather than an “uberfication” which seems to be a way of diminishing the role of the teacher and, for that matter, the learner.

We instinctively know when someone has put love in it. As, teacher and yogi, Bhagavan Das once said:

“Just put love in it, whatever it is, and if you cant put love in it, dont do it.”

If you like what I do, let me and your friends know by hitting the 👏🏼 recommend button below — it makes me happy!