Blog Pile

The Stump Thunk The Punk Stunk

To paraphrase an old favorite tongue-twister:

A punk sat on a stump.
The punk thunk the stump thunk,
but the stump thunk the punk stunk

My blog hat is humbly dipped to the east to Jim Groom for feverishly launching the spreading EDUPUNK meme (must be in all caps, eh). That photo is scary enough.

And what could be more punk that getting EDUPUNK picked up on The Chronicle of Higher Education, though in true form, the Chronicle ends up with one wheel off the track crediting it to “a group of tech-savvy professors”. I’ve scanned a number of the blog posts and most are NOT written by “professors”. It always seems in the Chronicle lensed world there are two kinds of people- Professors and Everybody Else.

But I digress.

With some mixed bag responses.

I’ve been traveling while the meme unfolded and doing more reading than writing, and must admit, feel no compulsion for an “obligatory” post. I honestly have no internal resonance to punk music or the movement that was a bit before my time, though I cannot help but be totally overwhelmed with the degree of research Brian did on what must be the most mp3 embedded blog post ever.

I’m all for celebrating and playing up the DIY spirit of things, always have been. Yet I’m a bit wary of the pointing and prodding of “this is EDUPUNK” and “she is so EDUPUNK” — to one extreme it might be seen as an air of exclusiveness, to which I would respond with a Marxism of not wanting to be in any club that would have me as a member. Is it a club or ????

So after there is a rallying and labeling and antheming of songs, what actually happens? That is where I am falling short on jumping on the bandwagon. And I don’t see it really as being an all about bashing Blackboard– whom i would never defend, but whom I already considered doomed. I fail to see how their actions of trying to patent learning can do anything but poison the spirit of anyone afflicted with their product (including Jim’s own organization).

I am also wary of just calling something a name makes it into something. Maybe I just hate labels, like they way as a kid I would rip them out of my clothes, rather having a hole than someone else’s name.

And as I write this, it seems more negative then I thought it would go, when really, I am just sitting on the observation deck, trying to see what, if anything, bubbles from the EDUPUNK “thing”. I absolutely respect and love the manic energy the Good Reverend Jim puts into all he does, and that alone, the reputation, is enough to keep me open to his ideas, and the wacky visuals and metaphors he seems to generate.

Damn, he got his punk mug on the freaking Chronicle!

Whether, I am PUNK or not, I am doing the same things I was do and plan to do. So I sit on a stump, trying to figure out if I thunk the stump stunk.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Labels perturb me at times. Try to avoid them. Some of the tags on my blog cause me to pause and think. Should I delete them?

    Why do I resist the labels I wonder? Perhaps to avoid being labelled myself. Others out there wonder about memes and labels as well. You are quite right Alan, giving something a name does not necessarily make it something

    Occasionally I am caught up in the labels but then retreat. I do not wish to be become a clone I guess.

    Cheers, John.

  2. Alan,

    I’m glad you didn’t feel obligated to write this post, but I think we both know you’re so EDUPUNK! :)

    You can hide from the label, and try and transcend the meme, but it is futile. All resistance is futile, all your “50+ Ways to Tell a Digital story” has belongs to us! And your insistence on calling it a meme, like so many others, is somewhat disappointing. I don’t think of it as such, I think of it as a kind of ethos that we can rally around and draw support from one another with. Sure the term has real limitations, and I really don’t care if folks use it or not. But I think, as Downes notes, that it is “signifying” to some degree with a whole range of folks in EdTech, and that is relevant to what we do.

    I want to thank you for acknowledging “my reputation” (which should be checkered at best), yet I think this is bigger than anything any one person can do or say. (as my buddy Matt sugested quoting Meerrson and Whitman —EdTech was simmering, simering, simmering, and EDUPUNK brought it to a boil :) ). I could care less about the meme, but don’t for a second think I am not fully committed to the ideas that I think this represents (which are my own and don’t need to be bulleted as a list for anyone, they have their own and they should intrepret it accordingly, you can’t live a wrong Edtech life rightly).

    It ain’t about any one person or thing, it’s about the call to create and think about what it is we’re doing using a playful, theme-based aesthetic and ethos to provide a framework (which will prove annoying for some) within which to imagine. And I don’t want it to simply be an occasion for mockery, divisiveness, or “attitude” (as Gardner notes correctly).

    Ideally, it would provide an occasion for some fun and important stuff around some shared objects of a distributed reality. A sort of meaningful playing (both in the context of playing a game and playing in a band), that depends upon focus, riffing, disagreement, risks, faith, and a core belief that you have something worthwhile to say as a kind of communal moment of ion and jamming The eduglu blues was a moment wherein I think this was unwittingly brewing. Pick your genre, or give the band up and go solo, but I think that fact that we are all playing and we can make music and speak to others about what it is we do is important.

    On another note, I’m not as certain as you are that the future fate of Bb (and other LMSs) is that of irrelevance. I think we all control that more than we think.

    With love and kisses,

    bava vicious

  3. For a long time (at least 10 years?) I’ve been watching the intersection (or not) of the Ed Tech community with SoTL, educational research, science education research and reform, collaborative learning/cooperative learning, academia in general, commercial gaming and social networking companies, [insert your community here]. The growth of the web and Web 2.0 tools has made that easier and easier.

    CDB may know that my link into ed tech has often been him–via email, this blog, or conversations. Now there is Google, Facebook (Nexus, Friends Circle), NMC, and Second Life. I think I’m seeing more mashups of these human communities via folks like Jim Long at MIT and others like him. I hope so, I think that David Weinberg’s analysis in Everything is Miscellaneous hits the nail on the head in terms of what the huge barriers still are.

    As Sophrosyne Stenvaag put it at an Extropia Saturday Salon or maybe at the WoW Scientific Conference–the collision of “gnosis and techne.”

    Jim, I know one of your college colleagues via the PKAL leadership group. I’m pushing them to dive into the Web 2.0 waters and maybe you can help. :-)

    Liz Dorland/Chimera Cosmos

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