Monday, August 11, 2014

Edupunk and student centred learning.

George Machlan
We do not need "them", we only need each other.

This group of pilgrims called "The Edupunk" are seeking a new paradigm for online learning. We hold to several core principals:
1. All can teach, all should teach
2. Mistakes and willing to risk mistakes are much prefered over the false goal of perfection.
3. Fun activities and gaming are not only more engaging, they are the key to a sustainable model for learning... anything.
4. Live interaction and group activities create the basis for deep and experiential learning.
5. Accountability and competition is the basis of our community. We build and only associate with leaders who can recognize that they and every member have knowledge to share.

Edupunk is a term that was first coined by Jim Groom, an instructional technologist working at the University of Mary Washington and it is a reaction against the attempts of corporate interests and commercialism to reframe learning into commercially defined products and applications.

Edupunk encourages more of a student centred and ‘do it yourself’ approach to the use of technology in education - student centred because it focuses on using the tools and applications students will need and use in their everyday lives, and these are very unlikely to be interactive whiteboards and learning management systems,  and ‘do it yourself’ because it relies on the teacher to assess the needs of the students and work with them to develop materials and activities that will broaden their understanding and use of these tools and help them to apply them to learning.

Of course this puts a considerable burden onto teachers and demands that they broaden their knowledge of technology and develop the ability to utilise an ever widening range of tools to help students achieve their learning goals.

In the training work that I do with teachers around the world I try to focus on a very broad range of tools and web based applications, so much so that I’m often asked, ‘Well isn’t there one tool or one place we can go that can do all this?’ but I’m sad to say that I don’t think there is a ‘one tool’ solution and I’m not really sure that there should be.EDU (Education)
+ PUNK ( a non-traditional attitude)
Edupunk English is the current course offering by George (the author of this blog) at WizIQ
an online learning portal.  The main goals of this course are:
1.    English Fluency
2.    Affordable
3.    Interesting & fun
4.    Friendly
English fluency, particularly in spoken English, has become one of the biggest needs world-wide.  At Edupunk English, we will focus primarily on activities that will challenge and grow your ability to speak comfortably.  There are no secrets in our methods.  The more you talk, the better you will become both at speaking clearly and without effort (fluency). George is not a traditional “teacher," rather he is an accomplished coach and encourager.  A constant focus on technique and practice will produce results that no amount  of traditional classes will give.
Affordable…  Value in online lessons is viewed in many ways.  We at Edupunk English know that most students need to be very cost conscious in today’s tough world economy. To find out more about the costs, please visit the “Join Us” tab at the top of this page.  Note that if you pause the mouse over that tab you will also see some sub-pages for those who need financial help.
Interesting ( = fun), why?  Because any learning system, to be sustainable, must be enjoyable.  Very few of us can develop the sustained effort and disciplined study to achieve success in an abstract subject area like English for the sake of English alone.  Unless you happen to be an English teacher, English is not one of your “fun” activities.  Only by finding a vehicle for your learning of English can we hope to make learning of English truly painless and “easy”.  That is why, even in our more traditional areas like grammar,   we find ways to make it interesting and even fun with games.
Friendly,  yes friendly!  Your American coach George is not interested in being a respected, all-wise professor for you to worship and lookup to.  He is a fun-loving person who happens to be a native speaker.  The best relationship for learning is to become partners and co-discoverers of the world by exploring English together.  This play is not without goals; rather it will be a joint discovery of many areas that we both find interesting.  If we can do this together, as equals, we both are empowered in our future endeavours.  If we keep up the traditional model of all-knowing teacher and submissive student, only one of us are empowered (the teacher), and the student will always have to depend on others to meet their goals in life.  So, let’s be friends and accountable to each other in our mutual path for English fluency.

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