Down the Edtech Rabbit Hole – Conversations and Cursing about Edupunk and DIY Education

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by pasukaru76 (down with flu)

Reading Jim Groom and Brian Lamb’s article Nevermind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle is what started it for me. It’s not the beginning, as there were links and networks that brought me to this article – working with e-portfolio at York College and the CUNY Academic Commons are two. But this article lead me to start following a hyperlink trail that lead me to read George Siemens, Leigh Blackall, Stephen Downes, Tim Berners Lee, Seymour Papert, David Foster Wallace, Mark Weiser, Jay Rosen, Gardner Campbell, Clay Shirky, Dave Cormier, Andy Carvin, and this was the beginning.

From there I discovered ds106 and leaped into yet another rabbit hole. One that has helped me become more productive than I have in years – creating art, teaching new ways, building spaces, and most importantly making relationships with people I truly am excited to engage on a daily basis. I’m so lucky to have found these people online and connected with them and believe it’s literally changed the trajectory of my career as an academic – all in about a year and a half’s time.

I don’t know if this is what will happen to you, or what exactly you’re looking for as you prepare for your future career in education. And this course on using educational technology is only a brief time on your path to getting there. You may believe that this course should be about learning how to use technologies that will change education, and we are lucky to be in a time when we can play with a lot of digital tools cheaply and easily which can truly affect a classroom. But I want you to think about this quote from Jim Groom from the blog post in which he introduced edupunk. He’s responding to a particular LMS company’s advertising that their product will “enhance critical thinking skills” and “improve classroom performance.”

These things are not done by technology, but rather people thinking and working together. Our technology may afford a unique possibility in this endeavor by bringing disparate individuals together in an otherwise untenable community, yet it doesn’t enhance critical thinking or improve classroom performance, we do that, together.

The idea that we cannot replace the person that is teaching and the students connections with one another with technology is an important one. There is so much we can teach ourselves, and learn from the rich resources of the Internet. But the connections with others online with which we can share and engage provides can be what we really need to strive for. Is it the technology or the community that matters most.

The conversations and cursing you might find about DIY Education and Edupunks can be a case-study on this particular issue of tech vs. community vs. the innumerable other lenses through which people are (re)envisioning these ideas.

So for your next blog post start with the Groom/Lamb article linked at the top and see where it and your journey through articles, blog posts, videos, images, etc. takes you. Quote, embed, and/or link to as many of the pieces you find that strike you. Give your perspective on what edupunk and DIY education looks like or means.