There’s a nice debate going on out there, this posting is just my own perspective and a signpost, if you want to engage more fully take a wander over to the funnymonkey posting and follow the trail.

“Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom.”

Looking at the wikipedia entry for punk it identifies a plethora of social, political, fashion, music and philosophical standpoints all under the term punk. The views ascribed are not only diverse but in some cases diametrically opposed.

“Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom.”

And so it is with great unease that I find that my educational technology inbox is filling up this month with a new phrase ‘Edupunk’, even the Guardian is on the bandwagon. I started to write this post because I was disturbed to find another fashion term on horizon that described what so many of our practitioners are doing, edupunk is another label, it comes hot on the heals of the 2.0 movement – you know, learning 2.0, learner 2.0, student 2.0 – and I’m as guilty as the next person for doing it. Here’s the irony, edupunk isn’t edupunk once it’s edupunk. The wikipedia entry as of today reads:

Edupunk is an ideology referring to teaching and learning practices that result from a do it yourself (DIY) attitude. Many instructional applications can be described as DIY education or Edupunk. It describes inventive teaching and inventive learning.

There it is, some ‘edupunk’ as defined it as inventive teaching and inventive learning. Here’s the thing – that’s been happening since the concept of teaching and learning. So that surely can’t be the defining thing? So do we mean, as some commentators have suggested, that edupunk is associated with the 2.0 movement. Web 2.0 tools in education are allowing individuals to make small changes in their practice – the ability to ‘do different’. That might work.

Back in the mid 90’s I worked with an edupunk, he built stuff himself out of toolbook and used these small homemade programs in his teaching, he retired before we had web 2.0, but if he was around now he’d love it. I suggested that John was an edupunk, but I was corrected apparently he was a protoeducpunk. Is the creation of labels and the advent of a ‘new cool’ really what we want to be the defining characteristics of innovation in eduction. I’ve ranted about language before, arguing that these terms form exclusive cliques, and here I think we go again. I actually believe  by inventing the term the originator thought they would do some good and that it was inclusive, however the debate started almost as soon as it was posted. I think the best thing I’ve read on this issue is from Bill Fitzgerald over at Funnymonkey:

learning 2.0 is a useless expression that, like most labels (and I include edupunk as well, btw) reduces some useful ideas to bitesized pieces the marketing guys can sell

I am not an edupunk, I work in education and try an make a difference through the use of technology in practice.

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