I absolutely feel comfortable stepping out of the institutionally supported technologies like the LMS (Learning Management Systems.) For one thing, most of these technologies are ridiculously priced. With the economy and how expensive things are these days, there is no need for fancy LMS. Everything that LMS can do, can easily be created using free resources on the Web. The following article explains the many services that Web 2.0 offers that makes it possible to have free online learning: Never Mind the Edupunks; or, The Great Web 2.0 Swindle.
After taking a social media course, I have realized that almost anything can be done using free resources such as Google and WordPress. I’m wondering why we even use Canvas at all… All assignments can be posted on blogs, students can meet face to face with Skype or Google hangouts, discussions can be held on blogs or through Google groups, and private or whole group messages can be shared. The greatest benefit is that these technologies are not exclusive, but they are open to a much wider audience. Being open allows for a much greater source of information, feedback, and idea sharing beyond the classroom. Instead of just a small class audience, the world becomes the audience, which makes this a more valuable and realistic experience. Anya Kamenetz referrs to this as “massively open online courses” in her article Edupunks Revisited.
So… What are the implications of going Edupunk? I honestly had a hard time coming up with any implications. The only things that I could think of would be the learning curve for learning all of these new technologies, and the privacy issue. LMS are usually laid out and very straightforward. Once you have used one, they all tend to be very similar, which makes them easy to navigate. If it wasn’t for the current class that I am taking on social media, I would never have known all the great technologies that are free to use. I also would have never made the time to learn all of these new technologies. So, I am thinking that many people would be hesitant to learn various technologies when they could simply learn one with LMS. Also, I think many people would be uneasy about the openness of these online learning communities. With LMS, the information is shared with a small group, and protected by password access. When things become free, they tend to become open, and some people do not feel comfortable sharing with the world.
I for one am definitely a huge fan of the term Edupunk and what it stands for… I’m just hoping to learn more and expand my knowledge on the different technologies available.