Dana Gretton

Dana Gretton is a maker, programmer, artist, and informal learning enthusiast. He has some radical ideas about what education can be and what it is not. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in electrical engineering and computer science, and a current graduate student at the MIT Media Lab. His current work is in robotic biological process automation and cryptographic systems to make DNA synthesis safer.


Introducing *DAS: A Framework for Certifying Hacker Knowledge

Hacker knowledge is open to all, community-backed, and defies regulation. All education could be enhanced by these unique strengths, but they also represent challenges: How can we build trust in excellent hacker knowledge sharing? How can we start to style all education after hacker learning, while maintaining the level of trust people place in certificates and transcripts?

This talk introduces the Reference-Rich Decentralized Accreditation System (DAS), a conceptual framework and developing circle of open source software for certifying knowledge among learners and between far-flung learning communities. Dana will show how the tech backing DAS aligns learners' incentives to certify each other and themselves by offering statistical inference that reveals excellent teaching. He will describe high school pilot studies by makerspace learner-teachers in Beijing's Moonshot Academy as example applications. Dana will also demo how to use DAS to evaluate some of our own learning about other topics, like cooking and programming. DAS does not use machine learning and it prioritizes data privacy. The DAS concept is designed to democratize education, lessen systemic inequality, and reward exponentially spreading peer-to-peer teaching and learning.