Time is an invaluable resource as it cannot be manipulated or recuperated. All people, with their diverse life experiences have knowledge, valuable to the ones that lack it. These two resources combined empower people to collaborate on various projects and initiatives.
Think of it this way: Would your students learn faster if you helped facilitate their learning in some way as a teacher, or if you told them to learn X by whatever means possible and get back to you in two days? It wouldn’t be a huge stretch to say that your students would likely learn more about subject X with some facilitation from a person who already knows something about the topic.
Enter the concept of time banking: what if any individual could help another learn by using time as currency? How could that play into our educational system?
Time Bank is a collaborative system that allows individuals to exchange skills and services using time as currency. You can apply this concept to improve the educational ecosystem by allowing students and educators to locate the right mentor that can help them to improve their skills or fulfill their knowledge needs. Teachers can mentor students, students can mentor other students, students can mentor teachers, and mentors can be in any location, thanks to the flexibility offered by technology
As an example, student A is very interested in social media trends and they’re planning on writing an academic paper on the topic. A general internet search yields an overwhelming amount of material, which the student has to sift through and verify as a solid resource. With a time banking system, Student A can search for an expert in the arena of social media trends and contact a mentor, with whom the student contracts for a specific amount of time (an hour, for example). Student A transfers one hour of time into the mentor’s account. That mentor, in turn, can use that time to learn another skill or gain information from a different mentor in a different subject area, depending on what the mentor’s needs are.
This concept can be easily applied in the classroom, school-wide, or within extracurriculars – and can be a particularly great way to get students in the mindset of understanding subject matter or skills in a way that allows them to explain them to others (stretching across multiple levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy).
Educators can apply the concept to professional development, as well. This could be within a larger online and in-person community, or within a single school or district community. Educators can share their expertise – ranging from technology integration to classroom and time management. Think of it as paying with information – and getting paid in information!