Monday, June 02, 2008

EDUPUNK

Like Alan, I had my head down while the Edupunk meme flew around the blogosphere and landed in the Chronicle. I first caught wind of it at Leslie's (which seems to be where most everyone else caught it, too), and she provides a great summary of the whole movement. My favorite post so far, however, comes from Serena, who went so far as to interview some students to see what they think about the whole thing. What's clear from the answers from the students is that some are net savvy, some aren't, but almost all feel that their professors (with a couple of exceptions) just aren't on the same playing field with them on the Internet. And Blackboard? Booooring.

The thing is, for many faculty I've met, the whole idea should appeal. We've often discussed the idea that most faculty feel like they're entrepreneurs anyway, so why not do their own thing when it comes to using technology? Why lock yourself into a vanilla system? Well, because in their disciplinary fields, they know enough to strike out on their own and are, in fact, expected to. But in technology, not so much. Most don't know where to begin and are afraid to take the time to find out. So most settle for just the basics even though they're missing out on opportunities to help their students learn their disciplines better. In some schools, in some disciplines, there's also a movement toward standardization, which means using some kind of system as opposed to going solo. Which also sucks. This quote, from Lauren, a student at UMW, captures what everyone's missing by not exploring options:
I mean, there are no identical institutions of learning, classes, and certainly no identical students! We all learn differently and it’s great that now we have so many different and customizable ways to learn and share our learning.
Rather than tap into those "different and customizable ways to learn," too many people shoehorn everyone into one method or one place. Like I said below about focusing on process, it's harder this way, but everyone benefits in the end.