The New Frontier of Edu-Punk

I do see value in using UD’s institutionally supported technology (Sakai) as it gives students some continuity from class to class and semester to semester. They are familiar with the layout of a Sakai page, how to read the calendar function, how to upload assignments, how to post to the Blog or Forum sections, etc. Using edu-punk style sources will potentially force students to learn multiple new technologies every semester, which can take away from their ability to learn the material of the course. If students get frustrated with learning how to create a blog using a new platform, for example, they may be less likely to learn the information associated with the blog or course. As Ebner, Holzinger, Scerbakov & Tsang (2011) found, “the success of any application depends on how fast and seamlessly these technological innovations are incorporated into a practical classroom setting.”

I also am still struggling some with the educational benefits of some Web 2.0 items. Microblogging, for example, gives you the opportunity to get someone’s short opinion and make a connection with a classmate, but really what can you learn about something in 150 characters? A list of 10 microblogging tools shows that Twitter has possibilities, but how educational is moodmill or IRateMyDay?

There are clearly some topics that are better suited to edu-punk learning than others. I can’t even begin to imagine how a course like anatomy or accounting would be handled in a DIY setting. These types of courses truly need someone who is an expert in the area to direct the learning and share the information. That, I think can’t really be done in an edu-punk setting.

One of the pitfalls of an edu-punk approach is that an instructor risks the possibility of the learning going on a tangent not initially intended, thus resulting in students not reaching the learning outcomes established at the beginning of the course. It might also make it hard to evaluate how much learning actually occurred without homework, exams, etc. associated with traditional teaching.

Another pitfall of using commercially-produced materials (a blog on WordPress, for example, rather than the Blog tool in Sakai) is even more exposure to advertising. “The overriding and inescapable reality of [services such as Google, Facebook and iTunes U] is that their business model is predicated on advertising,” according to Lamb and Groom (2010). “To use these tools is to reinforce, however indirectly, the ‘advertised life,’ the incursion of commoditization ever deeper into human thought and interaction.”


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