UPDATE: This article is now featured on ACM eLearn Magazine (thanks to Laurie Rowell!)
Following the emergence of Edupunk…
23rd Jan 2004: James Farmer blogged an entry called “Punk.edu“, which highlights an article on EmptyBottle.org about how “Weblogging is also being co-opted and marketed and corporatized” and reflects it on the issues educator face in schools.
25th May 2008: Jim Groom coined the term “Edupunk” in his post The Glass Bees.
29th May 2008: Darcy Norman lists his edupunk heros: “On thinking about edupunk, it strikes me that I’ve been drawn to a group of people that have embodied it for years. People that are open. That prefer to DIY. People who share, remix, mashup, and generally operate in the spirit of what is now being called edupunk”.
29th May 2008: Leslie Madsen Brooks provides an elaborate overview of Edupunk on BlogHer by citing edubloggers on their perspectives: “[Edupunk] refers to a scrappy, DIY spirit in some sectors of educational technology”.
29th May 2008: Stephen Downe defines “EduPunk”: “edupunk is student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced, and underwritten by a progressive political stance. [...] Edupunk, it seems, takes old-school Progressive educational tactics–hands-on learning that starts with the learner’s interests–and makes them relevant to today’s digital age, sometimes by forgoing digital technologies entirely”.
30th May 2008: The Chronicle of Higher Education: Frustrated With Corporate Course-Management Systems, Some Professors Go ‘Edupunk’
1st June 2008: Ken Carroll says “Edupunks need to grow up“: “Am I the only one to find this Edupunk meme ridiculous? The adolescent ethos, music, etc, are matched only by the adolescent narcissism, anger, wilful non-conformity, sanctimony, and tirades against authority. Fine, except this is all coming from teachers!”.
2nd June 2008: Stephen Downes responds to Ken Carroll and defends EduPunk: “I think you are mistaken to confuse the target of edupunk criticism as ‘the capitalist’. The target is, more accurately, authority. It’s true that many capitalists have used wealth to appropriate authority. But the two are not identical. [...] More significant is the suggestion that edupunks are “seeking to politicize (and I would argue, infantilize) discussion in this space.” Leaving aside the pointless ad hominem, I would suggest that discussion in this space is already very politicized, and that edupunk is a reaction to this.”
4th June 2008: Kathryn Greenhill notices the punk meme in “Steampunk, Edupunk and… Libpunk??“. Yes, Librarian Punks included.
13th June 2008: Alec Couros elaborates on Edupunk in “Edupunk, Meaning, Identity“. Alec explains his three point definition of non-conformity, DIY culture and critique of power relationships. Citing Wikipedia’s entry on Punk Rock: “According to Holmstrom, punk rock was “rock and roll by people who didn’t have very much skills as musicians but still felt the need to express themselves through music”. In December 1976, the English fanzine Sideburns famously published an illustration of three chords, captioned “This is a chord, this is another, this is a third. Now form a band.” That’s basically it for me… that you are enabling the non-experts the ability to participate and learn in the process!
What do I think of the term “Edupunk”?
I’d argue that much like how the Web 2.0 ideology came about… there’s nothing new (or neo) about it really. Edupunking is something that a lot of us in education have been doing when traditional means impedes our learning objective. Heck, Neil Postman’s “Teaching as a Subversive Activity” is uber-edupunk, and that was written in 1969! And if you were to ask who would be my edupunk hero, it’s really be non-other than Alex Halavais… he’s one who has tossed out his class syllabus in favor of a more student responsible learning session. It takes guts, as both teacher and students are challenged.
Your turn: What do you think about all this?
Just a load of B.S.?
Aside: Of course I’m an Edupunk. Need I say more?