SXSW: Edupunk: Open Source Education

Blackboards or Backchannels panel

Jim Groom, Stephen Downs, Gardner Campbell, Barbara Ganley

Edupunk an approach that results from a DIY attitude and brings the attitude of 70s punk rock bands to the classroom.

Campbell. Tools to put course content online in the 90s we are problematic content delivery model. It’s become a business system rather than a relational driven system.

Groom. LMS is a corporate logic system. It isn’t about learning. Need to think about going other ways.

Downs. Internet teaches us that we don’t need to preserve power authority to learn. Ed designed by people doing the learning is what he’s advocating.

Groom. WordPress Multi User is a communal sharing of resources in education. It’s not about a course, it’s about an individual.

Ganley. It is no longer working inside schools, but thinking in communities of learners.

They talked about open courseware and ways to interact with people without using LMS and if there is a way. How do we access the culture? Do we understand our rights to education and information? How can everybody make stuff?

Audience member suggested the library as a way to structure learning outside the classroom model.

Ganley. Working with rural communities to pool resources from libraries and other community resources. Says it creates a sort of homogenized culture where there’s only one way to think.

Groom. Talked about Black Mountain College in the 50s where there was no structure. Just people in a library who wanted to learn. Public open spaces for learning are dwindling.

A guy from Washington U talked about the tyranny of nostalgia. He asked if universities are still worth it; if not, what are the other models. How do you justify the cost of university education when the content is available in other ways?

Campbell. The conversation needs to start and end with how we realize our human potential.

Downs. Taught an open course, a free course with 2200 participants. 24 people paid tutition because they wanted credit.

Audience member. How does a public school teacher help students do their own learning? Public schools need tools and standards to support them.

Groom. University education and what’s happening in K-12 are not unrelated. Can we imagine a way that people come out of universities without $100,000 in debt?

Ganley. There are ways to work with kids in public schools and to work with parents. Move outside the walls even when you’re in them.

Downs. Personal Learning Environment (Personal Learning Networks) collects people who are practitioners in a given are and have them do their work in an open enviroment. Those who are interested in that area can watch and listen as practitioners create their work. Some tools that put people together in these ways are coming but are not widespread.

Audience member. Universities are mired in tradition. How can they set up a system that gives easier access to new ideas? Campbell. Stop hosting on the .edu server. He uses his own server. Groom. Used his own server space and got things started from there. No channels, open source. WordPress blogs. Not tied with sign-on or university id. Completely separate. Audience member. What if you did something like this successfully on an .edu domain? Wouldn’t other universities follow?

School of Everything.

Ganley. We don’t take advantage of people in our own neighborhoods who are experts in things that could provide expertise.

People are walking out. What does that mean?

Downs. Don’t need a new model for schools. Need to turn schools over to the community.

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