1-2-3-4 we don’t want your….LMS?

June 5, 2008

I was away on vaction last week, a million mental miles away from the blogosphere. And now: EduPunks everywhere. Whaaaaat happened? Never heard of the word before, and now it is the buzzword of the week in my Google reader. 

So what’s with all the bruhaha and elephant talk? A wikipedia entry is already posted and summarizes it pretty well. Seems that there are two basic points of rage behind the edupunk idea:

A.      EduPunkers don’t like idea that the Man might take control away from the learners and teachers and

B.      Big companies taking 2.0 and other do it yourself (DIY) technologies, bundling them up, and profiting off of them. 

I’m not sure I really care about point B. Sure, it is annoying to see corporate machines taking cool ideas that others came up with, packaging them up, adding their spin, and re-selling it to consumers as if it was their idea to begin with. But I am fine with that. As David Warlick says, we all have to make a living. And besides, if we were really serious about not allowing profit with DIY capabilities, we’d all be baking our own bread and roasting our own coffee.

Point A is a more valid protest. Educational/learning control should stay in the hands of professional educators and learners not 3rd party sales directors, IT departments, and so on. My fear is that empire-builders and internal control freaks will succeed in telling trainers, teachers, designers, and learners how and when tools should be used. That defeats the whole point….and it ain’t cool at all.

As learning professionals, we should be focused on establishing an infrastructure that enables learners to discover their own learning path, create their own content, and have conversations in ways that work for them. We need to give them the tools…and get out of their way.  Does that make me an edupunk? I dunno……

I do know that having a “screw you” attitude doesn’t help. We in the workplace learning world need to work together to empower our learning communities as best we can. I don’t care who is making a profit off of whatever. I do care that I now have tools at my disposal that let me strategically design conversations, discovery, and construction right into my courses. And that is REALLY cool.

And when politics gets in our way of that, that is where we work diplomatically to make change. Not extend fingers.


Web 2.0 vs. Face-to-Face Networking

May 8, 2008

Here’s what I have discovered about myself and learning. I want and need to connect with professional peers and like-minded souls. I love to go to conferences, talk to others about what they are doing, and share what I am doing. I really get off on running ideas by others and getting their feedback. I love to see creative approaches to instructional design and problems that I myself am kinda crappy at. All of this can happen at team meetings, at the water cooler, or at some big gathering in a giant conference center.

But what about those of us who have very small teams (or who are a one-man team!)? What about those of us who work in an organization where the passionate exchange of ideas is not encouraged or is met with disinterest? One way social tools help is by empowering us to forge connections and create communities without having to rely on formal organizations, such as our corporations or professional organizations.

Brent Schlenker recently posted about the face-to-face versus Web 2.0 debate on his blog. He makes a great point: “it is NOT an either/or discussion we are having.”  As I commented after reading his post, the point is really about connectivity. We are richer individuals when we connect, regardless of the tools, means, locations, etc. It is up to us to figure out the right tools for us. Personally, Web 2.0 tools have helped me to connect with others in ways not possible before, helping me to share with and learn from others, as well as make new real-life friends. I still love F2F conferences and meetings, but am grateful to have new tools in my network kit.