Anarchist Lurkers?

A couple of weeks ago I was happily twittering away when @timbuckteeth (Steve Wheeler) dropped the link below into the tweetstream.

I have no idea why I clicked on the link. Maybe it was to test the livestreaming because I’d been experimenting with basic streaming from my phone. Maybe it was simple curiosity or perhaps it was an example of what Steve Wheeler called legitimate peripheral participation (lurking). Whatever the reason I spent the next 30 to 40 minutes watching a Skyped presentation in Bremen, Germany.

I was introduced to Edupunk, a term that’s probably familiar to many, but new to me. I watched with burgeoning interest as Mr Wheeler explained some of the ideas behind Edupunk, interacting with the class, answering questions and adding insights. You can view the Mogulus archive of it here (skip to 3:30) and read Mr Wheeler’s subsequent blogpost.

I think I’m beginning to understand Edupunk’s far reaching philosophy. It’s about teachers (and students) participating on their own terms. It’s cutting out the educational profiteers, directing financial resources elsewhere. Like using a Wii remote hack costing less than NZ$250 to create a multitouch digital whiteboard instead of paying NZ$3295 and lining the corporate coffers. It’s about finding ways to overcome barriers to learning by using, mashing and melding the available (usually free) tools. It’s dealing with lack of hardware by dragging things out of the bin and re-jigging them until they do what’s needed. Teachers have always done this in the classroom with the resources they’ve been supplied with, supplementing them with their own money, time and ingenuity. Edupunk brings this into the 21st century teaching and learning environment.

Steve Wheeler suggests taking it further-

“I would even go as far as to claim that Edupunk teachers should be challenging the curricula they are required to teach, and especially the assessment methods that are imposed from on high. These are the structures that constrain education and stop learners from achieving their full potential.”* Read more here.

Lurking
Digressing slightly, Mr Wheeler’s response to a question, describing lurking as “legitimate peripheral participation” rang so true for me. For many it is a prerequisite to contributing. In my case lurking has led to commenting, connecting, collaborating and creating… participating and learning.

A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed of writing this, but now I feel part of a global community, connected enough to comment and feeling that I have found my voice.

So what do you think? Does Edupunk encompass any of your teaching/learning? Were you or are you a longtime lurker?

More Edupunk below-

http://www.slideshare.net/timbuckteeth/edupunk-presentation
http://ubernoggin.com/archives/434 3 videos to watch

*from http://steve-wheeler.blogspot.com/2009/04/can-anybody-hear-me.html

This post originally posted at http://attheteachersdesk.blogspot.com/2009/04/lurking-anarchists.html

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this, and for your reflections on the Skypecast – it’s refreshing to hear of a serendipitous view of an event which transforms into clear insight and then into concrete opinion. I like the way you make this into a call for other teachers to acknowledge that change is needed in education and that they, the teachers, are in a position to make some of those changes just by doing things a little differently. It’s a form of anarchy, yes, but we are replacing something jaded with something a little better. Here’s to change for the better in education! :-)=

  2. Good post. Just submitted it to Stumble.

    Should I have submitted the blogspot version instead? Neither had a Stumble entry. Hmm.