I went to an incredibly inspiring RSA lecture by Mark Miodownik http://www.instituteofmaking.org.uk/ where he set out his argument that public libraries were set up to empower the public by giving free access to books at a time when few people could possibly own them or indeed readily access them. However this has changed and books in general are readily available via technology. He was arguing that people are de-skilled in making things and we need access to public workshops we we can make things, but also borrow tools. He also related this to creativity, innovation, enterprise, industry and cross curricula provision.
Out of the debate and discussion that followed there was a lamenting in the audience on the demise of the technical colleges and the general split between academic and occupation/craft and skills based education. There was a great deal of talk about the missed opportunity when some colleges became universities and how the skills based, contextualised learning had been lost in Scotland. No-one mentioned colleges! I did my best, but it really hit home that for many people there is little knowledge of what the sector has to offer. Who better to offer a range of skills based public workshops that a college? What more can we do to raise the profile of the skills based learning opportunities that colleges have to offer?
I think this could be a good area to develop during the Festival of Dangerous Ideas - hands on experience of making, demonstrating cross-curricula skilled based work in action? Let me know what you think.