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Neil Witt :: Blog :: Edupunk?

June 13, 2008


There’s much around about Edupunk. Ok, I’m a late comer to the debate (though as this blog is very much in a backwater I’ll use debate as a very loose term) and http://edupunk.org/ has links to it all. And there’s the obligatory youtube vid.

It’s been interesting following the blog posts on Edupunk and as a backlash to Blackboard it’s unleashing a fair bit of frustration in the community.

But, it’s hardly new. Over the past 15 years we’ve been involved in project and developments - some funded, the most unfunded. These projects/interventions/ideas all have one thing in common - they are designed around user needs, and these needs are not those of the institution (though some times they coincide); they are not the needs of the developer/instructional designer/academic. They are the needs of the learner.

To paraphrase the opening line of a true punk classic from X-Ray Spex

Some people think little learners should be seen and not heard…..but I think Oh Blackboard, up yours

There’s a fair bit of evidence around  such as the recent JISC Great expectations of ICT: how HE institutions are measuring up report that users want to do their own thing.

 Evidence shows that using these [social networking] sites in education are more effective when the students set them up themselves; lecturer-led ones can feel overly formal

We can’t constrain them to using institutional systems, they don’t want to use them, they will look for their own ways of working - what we need to do is to support our users.

If they don’t use Blackboard or <—insert your own MLE/VLE here —> so what?

The Wired Campus article: Frustrated With Corporate Course-Management Systems, Some Professors Go ‘Edupunk’ states

A group of tech-savvy professors are claiming punk music as inspiration for their approach to teaching. They call their approach Edupunk.

Great, but it’s just as much about learners doing their own thing, making their own choices and we need to support them in this. Institutions love their Enterprise, out-of-the-box solutions, and yes as academics we can be anti-establishment, but there’s one part of the establishment we need to take with us…..the learners.


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