The term edupunk was mentioned in passing last week in class while exploring the ideas and offerings of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It sparked my curiosity with hopefulness that perhaps I had found a word to describe my growing belief in using collaborative, open-source resources to provide for personalized, inquiry-driven learning. I am increasingly enamored by the endless fountain of inspiration from my PLN, and recognize that the collective desire for shared resources in the education community has the power to decommodify learning. My experience in technology-aided collaboration in the past two months has quickly has made me value the role of technology in learning. Therefore, when I heard the term edupunk, I started to think…how can I help my students be edupunks?
I realize that I should be clear in what edupunk represents before I broadcast its merit. Apparently there is controversy over the term first coined in a series of blog posts written by Jim Groom, instructional technology specialist at the University of Mary Washington. Groom prefers a loose definition of edupunk, suggesting that it is an approach to education that uses “modern social networks to route around established disciplines” (borrowing from science-fiction writer, Brian Sterling’s definition of punk). To dive into the details of what edupunk means, listen to Jim Groom and Gardner Campbell (Director of the Academy for Teaching and Learning at Baylor University) hash it out (www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7MxVqe_uRI).
While I fear ascribing to a term with a debatable, contentious definition, I find edupunk inspiring, catchy, and empowering. By thinking of it as a loose approach, rather than a theory, perhaps a word cloud derived from the heavy-hitting edupunk articles on the web, best describes the ideas behind edupunk.
Regardless of terminology behind the approach, I am excited to be part of an education community that values shared resources, legitimizes learning from diverse sources, recognizes leadership outside of authority roles, and inspires and relies upon engagement. We are producers, not consumers, of learning. And accordingly, technology provides us with powerful opportunities to engage as co-producers in our learning communities.