Monthly Archive: July 2008

EduPunk?where did this come from? How did schools lose their way in the first place?

Introducing Edupunk | BlogHer

Edupunk is an interesting idea. To quote from the linked article, ‘edupunk is student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced, and underwritten by a progressive political stance.’

The example given of why Edupunk is important is that of Blackboard – we implement this technology supposedly to improve the educational experience of students, but Blackboard is a commercial product, designed to sell well, marketed by a commercial company that is watching the bottom line. And that this is – well, the implication is that this is evil.

I don’t know about this. That’s why this is ‘can’t be contained’ rather than just an ‘interesting link.’ I mean’a lot of the examples of what edupunk is – ‘Lego is edupunk. Chalk is edupunk. A bunch of kids exploring a junkyard
is edupunk. A kid dismantling a CD player to see what makes it tick is
edupunk.’ – are, in my opinion, too deviant to really be of use. Are we to all go super open-source/build it yourself/stop buying from “the man?”

I have two perspectives and experiences that are relevant. First, just because a technology is from a company doesn’t mean it’s evil. It’s only evil and manipulative of how we are able to educate students if we let it be. If we lose sight of the goal, which is to improve the learning experience of students. Personally, I am ridiculously demanding of vendors – I tell them what we want to do (based on our (progressive) ideas on improving education) and tell them that they have to meet my needs. I don’t let them tell me what I need based on their products. Yeah, it costs money, and I have to consider those costs. But the issue is about how I and my department see the technology. Not whether the technology is from a company or not.

Another issue is that, if DIY is the essence of Edupunk, then let’s look at some of the monsters that have arisen out of such efforts. You want to displace something as big as Blackboard? That’s one heckuva system one has to build, and that takes a lot of resources. And do Edupunk-heads think that managing resources for a huge project like that isn’t also dealing with capital and the issues associated with compromising educational benefit for the sake of actually being able to afford to do something’