EdupunkPosted: May 26, 2008
Jim Groom brings a new term into being in a recent post — edupunk.
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.
Yet all the 2.0 formulations — Classroom 2.0, Learning 2.0, and even Web 2.0 itself — work against this very notion that what we are chasing here is not product, but style. What does the 2.0 version number symbolize if not a shrink-wrapped box or set of features?
What began as a clever pun has outlived its usefulness to us. We’ve known that for a while, but as companies begin to reduce the social web to a set of ingredients in their products — we have to go further than whether product x allows trackbacks or not.
“Edupunk” gets us there — with its implication of technical accessibility, a DIY ethic, quick and dirty over grand design, and a suspicion of corporate appropriation it hits a lot of the right notes.
The wrong notes it hits are mainly historical — because of course punk had surprisingly little social impact — and it’s worth remembering the same attitudes that kept it pure relegated it to being a tribal phenomenon rather than a broad cultural movement. Punk culture valued its exile from the mainstream. We want to change the world.
That inevitiably leads to a lot of compromises. But when we stray too far into the world of enterprise software, three-month timelines and eight page budgets — when we have to concede the assessment system will likely be a centralized corporate affair — on days like that, maybe edupunk is the cassette we throw into the tape deck on the way home, the tape that reminds us loudly of who we are, in three chords or less.
It’s obviously late here … thoughts?