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Edupunk (Shhh..!)

Ce n\'est pas un pipe or Blurred at the EdgesEdupunk seems to be the word on everyones lips at the moment – well at least those that are talking about it!

See D’Arcy Norman; Lesley Madsen Brookes; Stephen Downes; Brian Lamb; Doug Noon

A conjunction coined by Jim Groom, however, as both commentators and protagonists seem to be agreeing, creating a name and a definition runs counter intuitive to the underlying Dogme of Edupunk. (and see also this article referencing Dogme and punk dogme in the context of English Language Teaching)

I was a teenager when punk exploded on the British music and social scene. A repeated comment at the time from anybody with a mohican or a piercing that the media could get a soundbite from, was that they were individuals and not part of a group. There is an inherent difficulty in talking about an idea or concept that bears no name – or that can’t utter its name for fear that this will cause its downfall – a la the ‘Scottish Play‘ quandry or liar paradox

Bang!Nevertheless, some have dared to name it and while I don’t think that it is about to turn into an Ouroboros and eat itself, I do wonder what the tipping point would be for educators to adopt this philosophy wholesale.

I ask that question because it is undoubtedly education that should be the beneficiary of the conjunction. I’m sure that it is for those who have nailed their colours to the mast and for many others too. However, raging against the machine requires a machine, which in this case is the business of education, particularly when promulgated through educational technology.

The reason ...What I’m not sure of is whether education needs to (or can currently) change through a revolutionary act or if it has to be through a steady chipping away at long held beliefs. If it requires revolution then how is a critical mass achieved? Is Edupunk building that critical mass or is it but a skirmish on a long road of attrition against the establishment? Who knows? What I do know is that the beliefs, realisations, understandings happenings, events of the ideals of edupunk can be important in the same way that Dada and surrealism were important, that Ike Turner and Elvis Presley were important, that Thomas Paine and Abie Hoffman were important and that Hutton and Darwin were important. These are not trivial names to be raising – that is because education is such an important thing for life, for freedom, for happiness that it can’t be taken lightly.

3 Responses to “Edupunk (Shhh..!)”

  1. Jim says:

    Easegill,

    What I do know is that the beliefs, realisations, understandings happenings, events of the ideals of edupunk can be important in the same way that Dada and surrealism were important, that Ike Turner and Elvis Presley were important, that Thomas Paine and Abie Hoffman were important and that Hutton and Darwin were important. These are not trivial names to be raising – that is because education is such an important thing for life, for freedom, for happiness that it can’t be taken lightly.

    Awesome, and to make it something even remotely akin to any of these we have to create from it, and not worry about being part any group, or even the term. But creatively fashion our values about something I wholeheartedly agree with about the importance of, education.

    Thanks for this, you give it context that makes my spine tingle :)

  2. Ken Allan says:

    Tena koe Nigel

    Welcome to winter in the southern hemisphere :-)

    Thanks for this plethora of links on edupunk. It must be my age, or perhaps some other disadvantage, but I can’t help getting a measure of deja vu.

    I began my teaching way back in ’69. They’d just put men on the Moon. Science was abuzz having enjoyed bumper years from the 50′s of BBC TV slots when Raymond Baxter, Carl Sagan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob_Bronowski, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore and other enthusiastic exponents of the ‘modern’ scientific age were given prime time. Books were to be lauded. New books were it.

    I’d had an experiential secondary education where my teachers encouraged me and my classmates to pick things to pieces – good old Scottish education but with a ‘modern’ pitch.

    We would dismantle television sets and automobile engines, clocks, electric motors, reed organs, anything material that held a mystery. I got my degree from the university of life doing all of that and more.

    Those were the days when boys knew the contents of a golf-ball like they did their fingernails, when students were encouraged to aim for the Moon or further. Models were built out of anything we could lay our hands on and used to give insight to what might be, not what’s supposed to be.

    I feel at home with edupunk. There’s a grubbiness about it that smacks of the fundamental. Gone are the days of deliberating on the ‘black box’ lesson. Let’s not hang about. Where’s the can opener!

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  3. easegill says:

    Hi Ken

    I remember the DIY education (Craigmount High) – although there was also stuff at the opposite end of the spectrum.
    One interesting task we had was to work out the petrol consumption for a car driven in each of its gears. We had our technology teachers car on the rugby field with a large titration tube connected by rubber hose to the carburettor. Needed to keep the bonnet up as we took it in turns to drive it around the field! No idea what the teacher was up to – he just left us to it!! PS we found that driving in 1st gear used least petrol – but that was at a constant speed for all gears so don’t think it was really a fair test.

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