I heard from a little bird about a new term for an old concept being termed “EduPunk” and in an effort to discover more about the meaning I found an excellent entry that sort of collates the chatter on the subject. The short definition as I surmise, is Educators using freelance and do it yourself teaching methods in order to avoid the yoke of corporate influence.
I love the concept. One of the examples of the yoke given is technological institutions like “WebCT Blackboard”, a program that many are familiar with if you have taken online classes. An inferior (and sometimes infuriating) product that teachers regularly use incorrectly (due to poor design and training), and often ends up being more noise in the already noisy learning environment, not to mention expensive. However I haven’t yet seen any mention of my least favorite corporate education technological institution, The Textbook. While I wouldn’t mind paying a high price for a high quality product (and won’t argue that SOME textbooks fit that description), the regular and mandatory edition updates that change just a few words or chapters, seem specifically designed to force students into buying new books as an attempt to strongarm used book sales.
So if you are an instructor/wannabe edupunk, shun the corporate textbook institution. Use open-sourced information, or better yet, write your own book. Give all the course materials for free on a cd full of PDF’s, or find some way to teach that doesn’t require tethering yourself to groups that are more interested in their bottom line then the bottom line in education. Collaborate with other educators and start free and more importantly educator controlled learning systems. Open-source BlackBoard (Online learning/collaboration) software anyone? There are lots of CS professors out there that have the skills, and plenty of wonderful platforms that are already free that you could use as a launch pad. Got an idea and want a hand? Post a comment. I’m in. Oi Oi Oi.