Rev. Edupunk photo by umwdtlt.
During the holidays I was catching up on reading old Wireds and a word in the Jargon Watch caught my attention:
Edupunk n. Avoiding mainstream teaching tools like Powerpoint and Blackboard, edupunks bring the rebellious attitude and DIY ethos of ’70s bands like the Clash to the classroom.
Since I started teaching I have disliked Blackboard with its unfriendly user interface. It’s clunky, ugly, gray, closed and supposedly extremely expensive. Unfortunately I have to work with Blackboard with the first year students because the first year courses are attended by 400 people which all have to hand in the same assignments. I must admit edupunks would have a hard time with grading and supervising over 100 students.
But at heart I am an edupunk. I prefer to have my students blog their assignments, or send a link to whatever form their assignment may have. On top of that, as a teacher, I would prefer a blog as well. It’s easier to maintain, the usability is much better and it allows for feedback from the outside. Of course there is the downside of spam but it weighs up against the disadvantages of Blackboard.
Another aspect of me as an edupunk is the fact that I am not a big fan of Powerpoint. It has become a noun. Thus, during our last New Media team meeting we decided not to ask the students to do a Powerpoint presentation but instead make them aware that there are other formats or forms they can use to deliver a slideshow presentation. Keynote, OpenOffice, PDF, HTML, an image slideshow. Anything. A presentation does not equal Powerpoint.