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by Stephen Downes
May 29, 2008

Introducing Edupunk

The concept of Edupunk has totally caught wind, spreading through the blogosphere like wildfire. This post summarizes several recent posts and offers something like a definition (I would like to think that true edupunks deride definitions as tools of oppression used by defenders of order and conformity): "edupunk is student-centered, resourceful, teacher- or community-created rather than corporate-sourced, and underwritten by a progressive political stance. Barbara Ganley's philosophy of teaching and digital expression is an elegant manifestation of edupunk. Nina Simon, with her imaginative ways of applying web 2.0 philosophies to museum exhibit design, offers both low- and high-tech edupunk visions. Edupunk, it seems, takes old-school Progressive educational tactics--hands-on learning that starts with the learner's interests--and makes them relevant to today's digital age, sometimes by forgoing digital technologies entirely."

Brian Lamb, edupunk DJ extrordinaire, offers a distribute3d publishing framework screencast (distributed publishing is very edupunk) and writes "another dirty edupunk is bacvk on the streets." Jim Groom tells us that BlogHer nailed the definition of edupunk. He also ponders edupunk anthems - to which list I have to offer Alice Cooper's School's Out. And he offers examples of edupunk from the annals of murder, madness and mayhem (talk about running with a theme). Dave Warlick also comments. (And that's the entire world literature on 'edupunk' to date.) Leslie Madsen Brooks, BlogHer, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

The Business of Education
responds to my recent expression of concern about the commercialization of learning saying, essentially, that education is already a business, becoming more explicitly so, and so we'd better learn to deal with it. He calls his approach the 'pragmatic response' - that "argues that we should find practical ways of operating within this new environment" - as compared to what he styles my 'political response'. Except that I have utterly no faith in the political process to reverse the commercialization of edcucation. My response, I would say, is better characterized as a combination 'social and technological' response. The only way to respond to the commercialization of learning, I would say, is to make commercialized learning obsolete. Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Theory and Practice of Online Learning (Second Edition)
A second edition of Terry Anderson's Theory and Practice of Online learning is available online. Congratulations are do to Anderson for making this well-known reference freely available to all. Terry Anderson, editor, Athabasca University Press, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Converging Problems and Solutions
Hm. Something to watch. "XMPP PubSub is (part of) what makes collaboration work in Sugar as well, and that's got its own scaling issues on a school server. It isn't the "how do we handle hundreds of thousands of users with a rack of blades (or whatever)" problem, but the "how do we maintain very chatty collaboration between hundreds of kids on an inexpensive school server that's also doing 10 other things at the same time" problem." Also, "XMPP Pubsub is also the best route to a modern, open source SIF implementation (not that I expect to ever see one)." XMPP stands for 'Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol' and is what became of the original Jabber messaging protocol. PubSub is the XMPP XEP-0060: Publish-Subscribe protocol. Tom Hoffman, Tuttle SVC, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

George Siemens at eLA
John Connell summarizes what appears to have been a remarkable presentation by George Siemens in Ghana, returning to many of the themes he outlined in Saskatchewan - his slides are here. "What is the life of a learner?" asks Siemens. "Being a learner is about so much more than doing courses, and we need to understand the broad range of difficulties that can arise in the life of a learner, especially where the learner has other commitments and responsibilities beyond the learning itself." I wonder whether there is audio? John Connell, Weblog, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The main benefit of a term like 'ePerformance' for employers, I would say, is that there is no chance that learners will think that there is any intrinsic value to themselves in the transaction. Because if they did, then they would want to own the process, which is totally not what corporate e-learning is about. Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Knowledge-On-Demand for Ubiquitous Learning
Overview of an ambitious e-learning development project in Europe. "The result of the project will be a platform for ubiquitous learning that combines the usage of courseware objects from the LOGOS authoring studio with cross-media delivery via digital video broadcasting, mobile and IP-based communication channels." More information is available on the LOGOS website. Related: survey and profile of ElearningEuropa readers. Various Authors, ElearningEuropa, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Employer Investment in Workplace Learning
The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) has released summaries of two round-tables on employer investment in workplace learning, one from a session held held in Toronto (PDF) (December 6, 2007) and the second in Halifax (PDF) (February 18, 2008). The documents are very similar; skip down to the 'Highlights of the discussion' segment for unique content. The most innovative suggestion was found in the Toronto report, "'Take your teacher to work' days might be helpful in developing more support for vocational programs in high schools." The overall conclusions are utterly unsurprising: "Progress will require greater collaboration, at multiple levels, among governments, employers and employer associations, unions, providers of education and training programs, sector councils, training boards, and others. It may also require some form of government incentives for employers and/or employees to participate in learning activities." Various Authors, Canadian Council on Learning, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Readers' Survey 2008
Edutopia is conducting a 'survey' of its readership (mostly U.S.-based K12). I'm not sure where it got its questions from - the first question asks readers to select the "Best Blog for Educators" and then gives them a choice of Vicki Davis Dave Warlick, or Edublogs. The third option, of course, is not a blog at all, but rather, a blog hosting site. The remaining questions offer an equally narrow (and odd) range of responses. "Top Concern of Parents?" Choices are safety, grades or testing. Various Authors, Edutopia, May 29, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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