FNS

(FNS is Not a School).

FNS is a community of people learning about decentralized systems, growing as self-directed learners, and building tools and software anyone can use for their learning.

Join us and start your own learning adventure.

Sign up

What is it?

FNS is a collective of individuals learning together about decentralized systems.

We use formal structures, like a school, but unlike a school these structures are built, configured, and manipulated by you.

FNS consists of four main strands:


Decentralized Systems

Self-Directed Learning

Learning Structures

Code

Decentralized Systems

We're interested in decentralized systems, or systems made up of elements working together without a central hierarchy. Some examples include the internet, public blockchains, and git. Other examples can be found throughout nature and the social sciences.

Decentralized systems allow for interactivity and individual complexity within a framework of interdependence. As such, they enable powerful ways to coordinate in society without infringing on individual freedoms.

At FNS we're learning about decentralized systems in the digital realm -- how to navigate them, build them, and leverage them.


Self-Directed Learning

This is at the heart of FNS. We are striving to grow as self-directed learners, and to do so within a community.

What is self-directed learning? It's about having agency over what you learn, and intentionally constructing how you learn. It is constantly learning how to learn.

What is it not? Self-directed doesn't mean selfish, anti-social or contrarian.

We think everyone experiences moments of self-directed learning. FNS is a place where people can develop and expand those skills together.


Learning Structures

Learning structures are tools and systems people use to "structure" their learning.

FNS differs from other peer-to-peer or self-directed learning environments in its emphasis on formal structures for learning and on having learners create the structures for themselves.

For an example of a structure, take the classroom. It's a formally defined system, with different actors, that operates on a particular schedule. We think a more powerful classroom is one designed by the learners using it.

FNS is a place where learners are encouraged to explore these all kinds of structures, smaller and bigger than classrooms.


Code

Code is the language we can use to interact directly with digital systems and devices. It allows us to be more than mere users or consumers of these systems. Through code we can shape them to our needs, build on top of them, or even create them from scratch.

FNS is not a code school: for us, learning to code is not an end in itself. Rather, we think of it as a foundational literacy that can empower your learning. As with reading and writing in our world, learning to code can allow you to do a lot more in the digital world. We believe this feeds directly into your possibilties and range as a self-directed learner.

Is coding ability required to join FNS?
Knowing how to code is essential to getting the most out of FNS. However, it's not a prerequisite. As with self-directed learning, we think coding is a skill anyone can develop. And FNS is a great place to do so!

You can pick code up while you learn whatever it is you're focused on. And you can apply code directly to that something that affects you. This makes for a very powerful feedback loop, in which you grow in your coding ability as you learn.

Learning Adventures

Learning Adventures are one of the principal ways to engage in structured self-directed learning at FNS.

The Learning Adventure document is a format we're developing to capture an individual or group learning project. In the document, you'll describe what you want to learn (i.e., the questions you want to answer), the structures you want to use, how you'll document your journey, and the artifacts you plan to produce along the way.

In FNS we use learning adventures to anchor our exploration of decentralized systems and our experimentation with different learning structures.

How to join FNS

There are two ways to join FNS:

  • You can enroll in our Week One program where you'll map out a learning adventure
  • You can submit your own learning adventure

We're still developing these, aiming for a Summer 2019 launch, so if you're interested please sign up here. If you want to help shape FNS come join our discord.

Week One

Week One is a six day program we run online at the beginning of each month. It's open to anybody, and is designed to onboard people into the FNS Community and the kind of self-directed learning we engage in. If what we've laid out here excites you, we encourage you to sign up!

Part of Week One consists of a series of semi-structured dives into the strands that make up FNS: self-directed learning, decentralized systems, learning structures, and code.

The other part of Week One is about providing guidance in your design, scoping, and planning out of a Learning Adventure for yourself. This will result in a document mapping out a self-directed learning experience you'll be able to carry out in FNS.

Submitting Learning Adventure

If you're already confident as a self-directed learner and know what you want to dive into, you can just submit a learning adventure to join FNS. You'll get a community to support you while you embark on it, and peers to help you in your learning.

FAQ

Is FNS a school?

FNS is Not a School.

Why have a community for self-directed learners?

Self-directed learning doesn't mean learning in isolation. Learning happens within a social context. We aim to support each other in our growth as self-directed learners.

Does FNS offer Diplomas or Credentials?

Credentials are very important within FNS. We use them to capture our learning so that we can communicate both within the community and with the outside world. But FNS is not a school, so we don't issue credentials like a school would.

Instead we've built a decentralized credentialling protocol.
Anyone, in or out of FNS, can create credentials and build a community around them.

How does FNS handle my data?

FNS is set up to keep your data firmly in your control.

All your educational resources and the output of your learning are stored in whatever repositories or services you choose, though we'll encourage you to favor decentralized and open source solutions.

To communicate we use discord, a third party service with its own privacy policy. We also use some decentralized and FOSS (free and open source software) systems to communicate, such as Matrix and Scuttlebutt.