2012-05-30

Co.Exist

Trade School: A Learning Space That Runs On The Barter System

Education can be expensive. But a new learning system lets you pay your teachers with your own skills or goods.

Chances are, there are a number of things you’d like to learn in your free time. Some of them are probably not so cheap. A mixology class? That will be almost $40. Jam making? That will be a couple hundred dollars. Maybe there’s another way. Trade School, a learning platform spun out of the OurGoods bartering network, allows anyone to teach classes in exchange for barter items. In a sense, Trade School is like Skillshare (another platform for the public to teach classes), but run on a bartering system.

The Trade School project started in New York City two years ago, but it has since expanded all over the world--there are now Trade Schools in Los Angeles, Oakland, Calif., Virginia, London, Paris, Guadalajara, and elsewhere. Now OurGoods is soliciting donors for a Kickstarter project to launch 15 new schools and upgrade the Trade School software, which makes it easy for local schools to run independently.


Trade School classes span a variety of interests. In the past, classes have rum the gamut from butter-making to grantwriting, Scrabble strategy to composting, even ghost hunting--with students paying for entry with things like kombucha, cheese, mix CDs, and herbs. One recent class (How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal) saw students bringing sake, snacks for the class, handcrafted items, and a vintage Dead Can Dance t-shirt, among other items.

So what’s stopping you from taking that class you always meant to look into (especially if all it will cost is an old T-shirt)? Check out Trade School’s Kickstarter page here.

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