So recently in the education blog scene there’s been a hubbub over the term EduPunk. It was first coined by Jim Groom in his blog Bava Tuesdays, and from what I can understand, EduPunk basically covers two things:
- The use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, and so on (as well as non-web things such as Lego) in teaching and education
- The backlash against corporate education technology, such as Blackboard, in favour of more grassroots efforts.
The idea is that by using interactive and collaborative tools, and by going for non-corporate producers, education is following a more DIY ethos, which is at the core of punk ideology.
Now while I think the concepts are admirable, I think the “punk” term here is a little misplaced. From how the term’s being used currently (granted, it’s only been less than a week), it seems to me that the focus is more on the technology – rather than the actual mindset of being punk.
It’s great to incorporate latest technologies in education, particularly in encouraging students and teachers to interact and collaborate with each other in the learning process. But there’s no point in forcing students to start blogs or in maintaining copious wikis on every topic, if the central ethics are not the core of the learning experience. By focusing on the tools, this doesn’t become EduPunk – it becomes EduTrendy.
To be really EduPunk, and really adhere to punk’s DIY (Do It Yourself) ethic, participants in the learning process need to be given freedom and independence to learn their own way. Current technology has made this process simpler, but it’s not really the tools that matter – students can still educate themselves with paper and books if that’s all they have at their disposal.
I suppose in a way EducateDeviate and alternative education in general is very EduPunk – it’s all about creating and exploring your own styles and ways of learning, experimenting with different things, being free to learn what you want to learn how you want to. Instead of being dictated from a higher authority on what you ought to learn, you get to decide for yourself.
Some princles of the EduPunk Mindset, then, would be:
- Freedom to decide the content of your own learning
- Freedom to learn according to your chosen styles
- Freedom to express yourself through your learning processes
- Freedom to engage in different forms of education, traditional or non-traditional, including experiential education and service learning
- Freedom to incorporate your own personal experiences and thoughts with your learning
- Freedom to hold your own perspectives, ideas, and opinions on various topics
- Freedom to learn at your own pace
- Freedom to use any of the tools at your own disposal to learn
- Freedom to choose from various providers of education at your own discretion
- Freedom to set your own educational path
How then can we match up the tools-focused perception of EduPunk with the mindset of EduPunk? Should we think less of the tools and technology, and start thinking of ways to reform education systems to allow for more DIY learning?