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Author Archives: shiragolding

Report from the DIY Solar Panel Cooker Class

Last Saturday, Shawn Reeves of EnergyTeachers.org came over to Shira and Ari’s house to give a workshop on how to make a solar panel cooker using recycled materials. Visit the Shirari blog for photos and info on how to make your own!

Summer Calendar!

Posted on

Check out the new classes and come to our Social on Friday to celebrate and get your paper copy!

Or check out the PDF version here:

Calendar Summer 2012

Freeskool, Meet Swidjit

A letter from Swidjit founder, Alex Colket.

Hi Freeskoolers-

I hope your studies have been going well this semester, that you have all learned something from each other and hopefully a thing or two about each other as well :) I think what you all have going on here is one of the most beautiful things in Ithaca and I always tell people about it when I boast about the awesome place we live! However, I am a bit ashamed to admit that I have not attended class this semester, as I have been a bit obsessed with something else that I would like to
discuss with you today. It’s called Swidjit, and if you like to share or build community, I think you will like it.

Publicly, I often frame Swidjit as a platform for a local economy because that seems like a message that will resonate in this current economic climate. However, in my head and in my heart, I see it just as much as a platform for a collaborative community, a suite of tools to allow friends, neighbors and groups to share, network and organize in ways that provide easier access to local information and opportunities. Freeskool is a great example of the possibilities inherent in such a system of community sharing, as the number of useful skills or interesting experiences you can have on others generosity seems to grow each semester. Swidjit respects and embraces Freeskool and hopes to support and encourage it in many ways. For instance, I think it would be great if teachers/students had the option of creating a class community on Swidjit and using it to organize class meeting times, provide links to other useful resources, share relevant media files, host discussion topics, post notices, etc. It would be a way to easily supplement the hands-on, person-to-person teaching/learning/sharing nature of the freeskool with a virtual
collection of pertinent resources and a place to connect when not in class, for those who wished to take part in it. I believe that the Swidjit platform coming this spring is going to provide a lot of exciting opportunities to give and share and trade and connect with others around us and I hope that many of you organizing or instructing or attending Freeskool will share some of that energy with Swidjit and work with me to build another amazing community resource!

You can check out the Ithaca Freeskool page on Swidjit and see how they are already integrated. Classes appear on the public calendar, and viewing the Freeskool profile page will show you all the upcoming classes that are offered. You can even set an event reminder to have Swidjit send you an email the before to help you remember to attend. You can also use the calendar to find out about other community events or perhaps to discover other items related to the classes you are investigating. Much more will come down the road as I improve the platform.

Please feel free to contact me through the site to share ideas, feedback or questions.

Alex Colket

Video: Ithaca Freeskool at Ithaca Ignite


Ignite Ithaca
is a “high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea – and the guts to get onstage and share it with their hometown crowd.” Lily Gershon did a jam-packed presentation on Freeskool on November 6, 2010 at the Pixel Lounge.

Ithaca Freeskool on Shareable.net!

Ithaca Freeskool on the homepage of Shareable.net

“Shareable is a nonprofit online magazine that tells the story of sharing. We cover the people, places, and projects bringing a shareable world to life. And we share how-tos so you can make a shareable world real in your life.”

Freeskool organizer Lily Gershon wrote a great article about Ithaca Freeskool for the site called “How to Share an Education, ” featuring photos and a video by Shira Golding. You can read the whole article and here’s an excerpt:

You’re in the park surrounded by swaying willows, or maybe knee deep in goldenrod in someone’s backyard, or sunk into the couch in a small apartment on Cayuga Street.

Usually, one way or another, a circle is formed. What are you doing here with a professor from Maine, a few pink-haired chatty teenagers from town, a local diesel mechanic, and a retired couple who brought cookies? You’re here to learn how to weave baskets out of the long limbs of willow trees. You’re discussing how Thor got along with the giants in Norse Mythology. You are about to plant the first herb in your medicinal garden. You’ve been hearing about natural gas drilling, but want to get more information. Any one of these people might be your teacher today.

In Ithaca, New York, the Ithaca Freeskool offers you an alternative to traditional education. With classes like Mushroom Hunting, Bike Repair, Know Your Rights with Debtors, and D.I.Y. Movie Making, it’s a refreshing variety of completely free classes for people of all ages. Started only a few years ago and run entirely by volunteers, the Freeskool gives the community an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge.

Video: Crafting Herbal Formulas for Individual Constitutions with 7Song – Ithaca Freeskool Distance Learning

Missed a class? Loved a workshop so much that you want to relive it? As part of D.I.Y. Movie-Making, we’re filming other Ithaca Freeskool classes and making them available online for anyone who wants to participate.

Part I of a 3-hour class taught by 7Song, Director of the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine on April 3, 2010. Learn how to treat common illnesses with local plants, for free!

Video: Juggle, Spin, Hoop with Lily and Tori – Ithaca Freeskool Distance Learning

Missed a class? Loved a workshop so much that you want to relive it? As part of D.I.Y. Movie-Making, we’re filming other Ithaca Freeskool classes and making them available online for anyone who wants to participate.

Learn how to start a D.I.Y. circus with Tori and Lily who taught us how to make hula hoops, poi fire spinners and juggling balls on June 11, 2010.

Video: Trap, Neuter, Release with Kristin – Ithaca Freeskool Distance Learning

Missed a class? Loved a workshop so much that you want to relive it? As part of D.I.Y. Movie-Making, we’re filming other Ithaca Freeskool classes and making them available online for anyone who wants to participate.

Local animal advocate and TNR expert Kristin demonstrates how to trap feral cats so that they can be spayed or neutered and returned to the wild. This class took place on June 22, 2010.

Sing-a-Long July 17 NOT June 17

There was a misprint on one side of the freeskool calendar. Sing-a-Long II is July 17 NOT today (June 17). Stay tuned for more details…

- Shira :)

Ithaca Freeskool: We Are All Teachers

Wondering what it’s like to be a part of Ithaca Freeskool? Check out this ten-minute video and don’t forget to submit your spring/summer class proposals by May 1st!

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