Friday, October 26, 2012

Disrupting college?...

A sliding top "top box" holds some and displays favorites
Box makers who work with kids may enjoy my new design for a "top display box". The elementary school kids at Clear Spring School love tops and also love boxes, so the box shown at left provides a way to keep a few and display favorites. Some major preparation work must be done in advance, and all of the kids had some difficulty making this box... bent nails, negligent alignment of parts.

But if it were easy, what would the educational value be?

 Rip material for the bottom, sides and ends from 2 x 4 stock. Then cut a shallow groove down the length of the sides to house the sliding top. If I weren't so busy at the moment, I would offer plans and dimensions. Perhaps those can come later.

Just as the computer has disrupted nearly everything else from business, the exchange of information, sales (wholesale and retail), the lives and family lives of most people in the developed world, there is an idea that computers will disrupt the standard idea of college education. While students in many European countries attend college for free or nearly for free, even through masters and doctoral degrees, here in the US, the amount of money owed by students for college attendance exceeds the total amount of credit card debt held by every person in the US, and we have too little real evidence of its success. Many students attend for years without graduating.

Our students (and parents) invest heavily in education, hoping for some bright future. Parents push their students into college and university situations costing a fortune even though in many cases those students are emotionally unprepared to make best use of the opportunity and have no real sense of what their objectives might be. In other words, the inefficiencies involved in higher ed are staggering.

The October 29, 2012 edition of Time Magazine, reinventing college explores the issues in depth, from the staggering debt faced by our students and nation, to the on-line university websites that seem to be offering a solution that in some cases are free.

There are some things that can be learned (with sufficient interest) from lectures or on-line. But looking at all education (including university) through the lens offered by understanding the relationship between the hands and brain, informs us that all education to the extent humanly possible, should have an expressive hands-on component. To simply watch  or listen without becoming more deeply engaged in personal experience leaves us detached, ignorant and unproductive.

On a related subject, last night NBC New featured the North Bennet St. School. Ssorry for the advertisement but the video is worth the wait.

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Today in my woodshop, I am getting my small white oak knife hinged cabinet ready for shipping to Fine Woodworking where it will be photographed for the upcoming article. I am also working on boxes to fill an order for galleries in Washington, DC (Appalachian Spring) , and working on my presentation for the ISACS conference in Louisville, KY.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Liked the video a lot.

    I have a question and maybe you can give me a direction so that I can find the answer.
    Do you know where I can find the names of the different wooden latches that were/are made? Have been searching already for some time but without any luck.

    Thank you.

  2. I don't know the names of various wooden latches. And I don't know where to look. I'm glad you enjoyed the video.


  3. That's too bad Doug but thanks anyway.

    Have a lovely weekend.

  4. Doug,

    Considering how busy you are, sitting down at the computer to write something for the blog must be like resting.