Monday, December 22, 2008

edupunk -- do we like it?

A "Buzzword" article ("Choice Syllables for 2008i, You Betcha") caught my eye in the Sunday, December 21, 2008 New York Times. TV talking heads have picked up on the political buzzwords mentioned by writer Mark Leibovich, like "Caribou Barbie" and "Obamination," but readers of this blog might well focus on "edupunk," the term coined this spring by Jim Groom and defined in Wikipedia as an approach to teaching and learning practices that result from a do it yourself (DIY) attitude.

Leibovich says edupunk is "a style of hands-on self education that benefits the student without concern for curriculums or the interests of schools, corporations, or governments. In other words, an autodidactic aproach that spurns commercialism, mass-market approaches, and top-down goal setting."

Does this sound like quality generic education?

I don 't have the time to look into the various layers behind the edupunk term, but I bet there's more than one meaning and that some aren't flattering. Can someone elucidate?

Barbara Figge Fox

PS. The plural for curriculum is curricula. After three years of high school Latin I thought it didn't look right, and I looked it up. Hands-on self education at work.

1 comment:

Steven Egan said...

Well, depends on how much clearing up you want. It is indeed one of those words with a fuzzy, gray clad, definition. The most solidified definition I've found is that the students take at least partial control and responsibility of their own education using whatever it is they have access to, and strive for what is called life-long learning.

Alongside this is the sharing aspect that most public "edupunks" make a big deal of, because it enables more efficient self-education.

The original idea was not to make a buzzword, but to eventually create a zine of sorts like what were used in the original punk culture to make connections, build awareness and nurture networking for those who are working towards a more student-centric education model. That's from Jim Groom, if I remember correctly.

Jim's quite a character. The amount of sarcasm in the term and conversations is evidence of that. Punks are/were dissatisfied with the freedom limiting behavior of the music publishing institutions, like many are dissatisfied with many limiting behaviors of the educational institutions.