Monday, April 27, 2009

Lurking Anarchists?

A couple of weeks ago I was happily twittering away when @timbuckteeth (Steve Wheeler) dropped the link below into the tweetstream.

I have no idea why I clicked on the link. Maybe it was to test the livestreaming because I'd been experimenting with basic streaming from my phone. Maybe it was simple curiosity or perhaps it was an example of what Steve Wheeler called legitimate peripheral participation (lurking). Whatever the reason I spent the next 30 to 40 minutes watching a Skyped presentation in Bremen, Germany.

I was introduced to Edupunk, a term that's probably familiar to many, but new to me. I watched with burgeoning interest as Mr Wheeler explained some of the ideas behind Edupunk, interacting with the class, answering questions and adding insights. You can view the Mogulus archive of it here (skip to 3:30) and read Mr Wheeler's subsequent blogpost.

I think I'm beginning to understand Edupunk's far reaching philosophy. It's about teacher's (and students) participating on their own terms. It's cutting out the educational profiteers, directing financial resources elsewhere. Like using a Wii remote hack costing less than NZ$250 to create a multitouch digital whiteboard instead of paying NZ$3295 and lining the corporate coffers. It's about finding ways to overcome barriers to learning by using, mashing and melding the available (usually free) tools. It's dealing with lack of hardware by dragging things out of the bin and re-jigging them until they do what's needed. Teachers have always done this in the classroom with the resources they've been supplied with, supplementing them with their own money, time and ingenuity. Edupunk brings this into the 21st century teaching and learning environment.

Steve Wheeler suggests taking it further-

"I would even go as far as to claim that Edupunk teachers should be challenging the curricula they are required to teach, and especially the assessment methods that are imposed from on high. These are the structures that constrain education and stop learners from achieving their full potential."* Read more here.

Digressing slightly, Mr Wheeler's response to a question, describing lurking as "legitimate peripheral participation" rang so true for me. For many it is a prerequisite to contributing. In my case lurking has led to commenting, connecting, collaborating and creating... participating and learning.

A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed of contributing here, but now I feel part of a global community, connected enough to comment and feeling that I have found my voice.

So what do you think? Does Edupunk encompass any of your teaching/learning? Were you or are you a longtime lurker?

More Edupunk below- 3 videos to watch



John Strange said...

Interesting. Some connections to impediments to free speech and free access (after even buying) books, video throughout world. For example if i buy a book in the USA and want it delivered in New Zealand it can be mailed and received with no difficulty even if it was published by and/or distributed by an entity not licensed in New Zealand. Logical. It is a physical thing and can be moved freely over borders. But what about an Audiobook? Well, Audible makes it difficult since I can buy and pay for an electronic book and download it in the United States. But if I gift it in New Zealand, Audible won't allow the download there if distribution rights are not attached. EVEN THOUGH I BOUGHT IT AND PAID for it in the United States. But I think I have found a workaround. I just didn't know I was part of Edupunk movement in trying to protect MY rights to give away where and when I want!

Wm Chamberlain said...

@WinetimeJS You could download and burn the audiobook on cd and then mail the physical disks. The arguement you get from all publishers is you don't actually own the book, you just purchase the right to read the book. For a physical book it makes sense that the right to read transfers with the book itself. Unfortunately, there is a problem with audio books because they are so easily replicated.

John Strange said...

UGH! No wonder the numbers of Edupunks and Anarchists are expanding!

Is there an implied contract when you buy a book? Certainly we do not agree in writing to one. Now I will have to look up Audible's terms of service. And more than that their service is HORRIBLE, Can't go into that here, but when I get mad I get determined and I am MAD at Audible!

Yeah, I know I could make a CD and send it. But I am stubborn and want to figure out how it can be downloaded there. Information should be readily available without limitations, especially if you have paid for it! Everybody complains that the kids of today never pay for anything and share it with whomever they please. The authorities attack, like in the Searchtorrent case, and off they go to jail. But I PAID FOR THESE audio books! And Audible wants you to give gifts!

Anyway, thanks for the comment. It gives me more to think about.

NZWaikato said...

I don't know I guess the concepts okay but I think the reality is that we need to pay for certain things and I guess some aspects of information is one of them. It would be nice to truly have everything for free if it benefited the students (isn't Jarrod Lamshed there a massive scheme in Australai to buy students tablets or notebooks) but how could that ever happen?