David Warlick Ryann Warlick Martin Warlick
Shakabuku Infographics Video

What’s this about Edupunk?

My first chance with my aggregator in days was the few minutes I had yesterday afternoon, at Olive Garden, waiting on my meal from the appetizer page — iPhone in hand.  At the top of the list was Stephen Downes’ daily filter — a good reason not to get very far. 

First to catch my eye was mention of North Carolina institution, Wake Forest University.  It seems that they, along with a growing number of liberal arts colleges and universities, are not requiring SAT or ACT scores for acceptance, or are making the standardized test optional.  The concern, according to a May 27 New York Times article (2 Colleges End Entrance Exam Requirement), are growing doubts about the tests’ validity in predicting academic success.  Also, there is growing evidence that these standardized test favor applicants from privileged backgrounds.  The article says that..

Some schools that have made standardized tests optional have found that they have attracted a more diverse student body, with no decline in academic ability.

Wake Forest University’s decision is important, because of it’s reputation, ranked 30th among national universities by U.S. News & World Report.

Cyberpunk Picture What also rocked my boat, and continued to draw my attention through the calamari and stuff mushrooms (a mistake), was reference to Edupunk.  Like Downes, I was drawn to the Cyberpunk movement, read many of the novels, and was intrigued by the network cowboy thing.  Edupunk, I’m not so sure about, for several reasons, partly because I’m too old to be comfortable identifying with the word punk.  Yet there are some very interesting distinctions being made in the still very sparse conversations about the concept.

It seems to have been coined by Jim Groom in his blog, Bavablog.  He starts providing examples in Permapunk.  Another, more direct explanation comes from Mike Caulfield in Edupunk.  It seems to be a rejection of  recent moves, among corporate contributors to the education community, to insert aspects of Web 2.0 applications into their products.  Specifically mentioned was Blackboard.

Mike implies that all the version 2.0 references may be part of the problem.

..Classroom 2.0, Learning 2.0, and even Web 2.0 itself — work against this very notion that what we are chasing here is not product, but style. What does the 2.0 version number symbolize if not a shrink-wrapped box or set of features?

It is certainly one of the most interesting aspects of the read/write web that so much of it has come from very small, garage and dorm-room endeavors, and that the growing toolset lends itself to inventiveness among its users — emoting a do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit. 

As we continue to promote the use of a more participatory information landscape for learning environments, I think that we should be explicitly promoting this DIY aspect — a sense that the information can be shaped and controlled by professional educators, and that sharing this control with students can be an appropriate, information-abundant, learning pedagogy. 

I do not have any real objection to corporate embrace of these tools.  We’re all trying to make a living. 

What worries me, though, is school officials hearing the buzz, and thinking that they can buy their way into the crowd, rather than learning their way in.

tags: , , , , ,


  • http://www.soulycatholichs.blogspot.com Charlie A. Roy

    Does switching away from basing the decision off of test scores require Wake Forest to hire more admissions counselors?

    • http://2cents.davidwarlick.com Dave

      It’s a good question. One of the points made by the NY Times article was that it was mostly smaller schools that were opting out of the tests, because they didn’t have as many enrollees to evaluate.

  • http://www.csteinberg.com CS

    The most interesting aspect of the article for me was:

    “Some schools that have made standardized tests optional have found that they have attracted a more diverse student body, with no decline in academic ability.”

    No decline. Hmmmm….

  • http://mcglaysia.wordpress.com/ Michael McGlade (mcglaysia)

    Regarding the Edupunk idea, I would like to reference a conversation going on over at Clay Burell’s blog, Beyond School (http://beyond-school.org/2008/05/29/prophecy-revisited/).

    The relevance is specifically to the idea of buying your way into educational technology. Clay’s post quotes a student who bemoans the school’s attempt to look cool by going to a 1 to 1 laptop program and all the teachers suddenly giving iMovie assignments instead of essays.

    The idea of a more participatory learning environment, where students and teachers work together to decide how technology can best serve learning is a must. Simply buying laptops or investing in Web 2.0 software is not a way to check off that technology integration is done.

    Fostering student self-knowledge of their own learning styles and encouraging them to experiment and explore new ways of learning with technology tools is the only way to make the technology truly relevant as a pedagogical tool.

  • http://beyond-school.org Clay Burell

    School officials – administrators, directors, principals – in my experience think that once they understand how to edit a wiki or create a blog post, they understand how such things can transform education. And so they don’t seek to explore beyond that. So they buy the laptops for the students, and say, “Voila. We’re 21st century.” Buying their way in indeed.

    That’s great news about the push back against the SAT. At least here in Korea – as much or more under the thrall of SAT, AP, and TOEFL as the USA – creativity and synthesis will never be possible until we find a way to overthrow the ETS. Korean kids literally spend their entire childhood prepping for the SAT and TOEFL so they can make it into an Ivy League school. And you’ve never seen a society less cognizant of the big picture than this one – though it’s expert at scoring high on the details in multiple choice questions.

    Forget dollar imperialism – what we have here is ETS imperialism, and it’s astonishing (depressingly so) how absolutely it controls Korean education.

  • Pingback: Are you an ‘Edupunk’? I’m not. at dougbelshaw.com

  • Pingback: Edupunk-The new way of teaching? | Tech Education Journey

  • Pingback: 1-2-3-4 we don’t want your….LMS? « the Shady Learning Blog

  • Pingback: The Edupunk Movement

  • Pingback: links for 2010-09-10 « innovations in higher education

Photo taken by Ewan McIntosh in a Taxi in Shanghai

RSS Subscribe



Books Written

Cultivating Your Personal Learning Network
2nd Edition (2012)

Redefining Literacy 2.0 (2008)
Classroom Blogging
(2007) • Lulu
• Amazon
Raw Materials for the Mind

Flickr Photos
Tagged with travel

David Warlick's items tagged with travel More of David Warlick's stuff tagged with travel
  • Meta

  • Archives