Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Edupunks sing the body electric

The blogosphere is alive with action/reaction to the labelling of learning openness and sharing as "edupunk". Rick aptly summarizes the use of edupunk - "It doesn’t just seem to be about a sense of moral outrage directed against commercialized, corporatized, institutionalized education for example; it also seems to be about sharing, openness, freedom and liberation."

brian lamb in his usual creative form cites Hoffman's stategy for free schooling - audit the class, learn for free - (and then we developed e-learning commodified the content and closed down the interaction - more on that later). Brian goes on to list what could be the tenets of "edupunkism":

"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?

... if you are engaging those issues honestly and directly, then I want to party with you." I'm with Brian on this - and ready to share in the good times.

And time to plug the open school set up by Brian's partner Keira.

"The Sustainable Living Arts School is a rural and urban learning initiative that emphasizes bringing local folks, local knowledge and local resources together for free-of-charge, hands-on learning experiences that help us reduce our ecological footprint, increase our individual and community self-sufficiency, and build healthy community relations. We value and work towards non-commodified, non-institutional, non-credentialized, non-evaluated learning and yes-accessible, yes-joyous, yes-empowering, yes-collective learning (among other lofty goals)! Consuming less and relating more, might be one way to sum it up."

I love this! What a great piece of work. Congratulations to Keira!

Courtesy of Bava there is Junger's The Glass Bees and Sterling's intro statement to the book stating:

"J√ľnger perceived that industrial capitalism is a ridiculous game, so he proved remarkably good at predicting its future moves….[He] understands that technology is pursued not to accelerate progress but to intensify power. He fully understands that popular entertainment comes with a military-industrial underside."

And Blackboard 8, seeking to be part of the web 2.0 world while it locks the gates and hoards the assets of those that reside within (for short spurts of time). As bavatuesday advises us it isn't the technology, it's the people, andf the people's experiences that drive learning. And what rises from this, for me too, is am I complicit in this manifestation of technology as the learning controller?

My work in developing online cooperative learning spaces that live beyond courses, that grow organically through free and unfettered access and user controls - this is what drives my initiative - but I could be asked tomorrow to create a course for delivery on blackboard - and add a blog within that garden - and I would struggle with the weight of my knowing I am contributing nothing in that act to the learning and teaching process. In my blog I can express my edupunk desires, and in my presentations seek to provoke and awake the learn/teach community from their chains of control - but my job is as assigned, and I create another controlled space, closed environment and a little bit of me dies...till rants erupt and links arise with others who also see the ambiguity of their professional life - and also strive to be free of their chains and , well, make the world just a little brighter place, after all.

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