The growing footprint of the LMS into the ‘DIY’ space that is 2.0 is counter to the ideology behind edupunk, a term that surfaced in the past week or so, attributed to Jim Groom. I’m just getting up-to-speed on edupunk (it’s been morphing in my aggregator 10 days or so it’s like ANCIENT now) and thought I’d share my thoughts here because frankly, when I read Groom’s post about the same “vultures of capital” (LMS vendors) I’m writing about, I felt like a nasty old boil on the butt of an edupunk. (you ARE thanking me for the lack of a visual)
Why? In mid-May, I published a report: How LMSs are Incorporating Social Learning Technologies. In the report, I wrote about the idea of learning 2.0, how user-generated content changes things, how we can think differently about corporate training and introduced some of the technologies (wikis, blogs, social networks). I also summarized the developments of several LMS vendors in the area of social learning technologies. There has been a lot of interest in the report and in social media in corporate training in general where, like higher education, LMSs are part of the DNA.
So, as I’m reading all the edupunk posts, the question I seek an answer to is this: is the edupunk ideology saying that the use of social media in commercial learning management systems is an assault on the very philosophy of learning 2.0?
Ideologies shouldn’t be rigid should they? Rather they should be adapted and used in pragmatic ways don’t you think? If you’re a trainer embracing learning 2.0, who gives a rats ass where it lives. Any of us can come up with endless examples of innovative technologies that have been commercialized.
Anyway, here’s more stuff on edupunk. You probably know that the edublogosphere encompasses both higher ed and corporate learning. The edupunk term originated in the higher ed area so much of the criticism here is about Blackboard , the staple LMS of higher ed. But the conversation is the same in both worlds.
Some reading from the last 10ish days to bring you up to speed:
I don’t think our struggle is over the future of technology, it is over the struggle for the future of our culture that is assailed from all corners by the vultures of capital. Corporations are selling us back our ideas, innovations, and visions for an exorbitant price. I want them all back, and I want them now!
There’s a couple reasons why I find the term useful, but the most important is that it captures the cultural revulsion many of us feel with the appropriation of the Learning 2.0 movement by corporations such as Blackboard. Learning 2.0, like punk, is a DIY movement. Like punk it favors technical accessibility over grand design.
And to people like us, Learning 2.0, if it is to remain relevant, must not be relegated to the dustbin of “features” or “products”. It’s neither a product or a process, but a way of approaching things, of which products are only one of the results.
David Warlick, What’s this about Edupunk?
It seems to be a rejection of recent moves, among corporate contributors to the education community, to insert aspects of Web 2.0 applications into their products.
As we continue to promote the use of a more participatory information landscape for learning environments, I think that we should be explicitly promoting this DIY aspect — a sense that the information can be shaped and controlled by professional educators, and that sharing this control with students can be an appropriate, information-abundant, learning pedagogy.
I do not have any real objection to corporate embrace of these tools. We’re all trying to make a living.
What worries me, though, is school officials hearing the buzz, and thinking that they can buy their way into the crowd, rather than learning their way in.
D’Arcy Norman, on edupunk,
But, the key to edupunk is that it is not about technology.
It’s a movement away from what has become of the mainstream edtech community – a collection of commercial products produced by large companies…
It’s about individuals being able to craft their own tools, to plan their own agendas, and to determine their own destinies. It’s about individuals being able to participate, to collaborate, to contribute, without boundaries or barriers.
And it’s not new.
I’m not about to suggest that technology isn’t important or relevant to edupunk – of course it is. But only as an enabling piece of infrastructure. Technology can empower individuals, amplify actions, and connect communities. But without the edupunk philosophy underlying it all, it’s just a bunch of technology. Uninteresting and irrelevant.
Alane Levine The Stump Thunk the Punk Stunk
I’m all for celebrating and playing up the DIY spirit of things, always have been. Yet I’m a bit wary of the pointing and prodding of “this is EDUPUNK” and “she is so EDUPUNK” — to one extreme it might be seen as an air of exclusiveness…
Doug Belshaw, Are you an ‘Edupunk” I’m not.
an ‘Edupunk’ movement is not the answer. Why?
- It’s a group, not a network – i.e. 1.0 not 2.0 (OK, so I know you reject labels…)
- It harks back to a time when either I wasn’t born or was very, very young. I have no meaningful connection with the metaphor you’re trying to use.
- It makes any members of the movement sound vaguely violent.
- It seems to have the assumption behind it that we (either individually or collectively) have the answers, when actually we’re learners like everyone else.
- Most Web 2.0 apps are free, and I’m at liberty to pick and choose them at will and use them how I want.
It doesn’t really matter whether the term ‘edupunk’ has any staying power, what matters – to me – is the awareness of the idea that it at least, for the moment, signifies.
Am I the only one to find this Edupunk meme ridiculous?
Brian Lamb, Punks hate hippies
But reading the many posts, pro and con, that have so rapidly proliferated has me asking questions about how we practice this profession.
- Are you troubled by how power and money are manifested in society, not to mention our classrooms and our educational institutions? Do you feel like the human race can continue as it is?
- Do you think that learning is a basic human right function? Are practices that gratuitously withdraw learning into a circumscribed domain apart from the rest of the world inhumane and counter-productive?
- Are you committed to practices that place as much power in the hands of individuals as possible, while making sharing and collaboration as easy as possible? How much of what we presently license out are we already able to do ourselves?
I don’t have an acid test for how those questions must be answered. But if you are engaging those issues honestly and directly, then I want to party with you. And I don’t care if its EduPunk or EduStringQuartet that defines the aesthetic.
Dennis Coxe, Edupunk, the new generational battlefield
Professional organizations looking to use Web 2.0 tools to enhance learning need to step back and be willing to relieve control to the learners. Provide them with the resources (videos, podcasts, computer-based learning, monthly seminars, and the tools to create their own content) and let them construct their own learning at their own pace and let them talk about it.
And finally, just to wrap it up with a bow, a URL was registered by James Farmer for Edublogs on May 29. It is not live yet I guess.
Following all the conversations, I’d call myself an edupunk. I’m beating the drum for a new model of learning and teaching. And I write about it, for a fee, for the people that buy LMSs. Deal. Unless you’re a volunteer or independently wealthy, you’ve got a money trail. It doesn’t mean you are a part of the problem.
Is the use of social media in commercial learning management systems an assault on the very philosophy of learning 2.0? Hell no.
One last thought…The Sex Pistols turned out to be a commercial phenomenon manipulated by their manager. I’m just saying. Also…in the movie Edupunk, I would like to be considered for the role of Nancy Spungen, despite my advanced age (which may actually help me in that role.)