EDUPUNK poster boy

Rev. EduPunk

Given that Mike Caulfield has already provided an awesome way to start thinking about the DIY spirit of EDUPUNK, I’ll figured I’d do my part by shaving my head, busting out the sharpee, and sporting my WordPress hoodie (thank you, thank you Lloyd).

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35 Responses to EDUPUNK poster boy

  1. Scott Leslie says:

    I would hate to run into you in the dark library stacks. edupunk poster boy indeed!! Kick it out, Rev.

  2. Alan Levine says:

    Oh, and did punk boy write his message upside down on his knuckles or does he have assistance?

  3. hardcore! fear the reverend! love the buzz!

    and why am I the only one that hasn’t received the mythical WP hoodie? *sniff*

  4. Reverend says:


    I just got mine the other day, so yours is probably en route. Buck up little camper. And if it doesn’t come through I’ll get you a nice black EDUPUNK hoodie, already started the clothes line —“which one’s Pink?” 🙂

  5. Wouldn't you like to know says:

    Who’s the cutie in the hoodie???

  6. Tom says:

    I think I know your cousin.

  7. Oh, man, did I ever need that.

    You is one ferocious edupunk mofo.

    And @Tom: Yeah, Jim and his cousin are quite the pair!



  8. Mary-Kathryn says:

    Awwww. Can I run my fingers through the teeny-tiny hair on top of your head? (In a platonic sort of way of course)

  9. Reverend says:


    You know I had that image in mind when I busted out the sharpee. He is quite handsome.


    Edupunk has strange effects on people, even if platonic 🙂

  10. Tom says:

    It had to be done, right? EduPunk needs a posterboy! Or maybe, “Boy, edupunk needs a poster.”

  11. 5tein says:

    I know it’s as much tongue-in-cheek as the opposite, but I’m having a hard time acknowledging or embracing this “edupunk” term. While in some respects it’s apt, in other respects it makes me uncomfortable and irritable. Not at all because I dislike “punk” at it’s core–quite the opposite.

    The (idealized) “best things” about “punk” are: DIY, total expression, energy at all costs, indie/anti-mainstream, modernist mixing of high/low culture. Yeah, I can see the edupunk thing working into this same mindset to an extent, but in the end aren’t we in edtech still working for the man? Or is edupunk just another hipster label to help us feel young? Frankly, when I hit up the punk playlist on my iPod before skating (wait, I think I saw some irony in that phrase…), that’s what it helps _me_ do: overcome some of my old-man-ness.

  12. Reverend says:


    Can’t say I wholly disagree with you here. There is a fine line, and the idea that we are working for “the man” in EDTEch is somewhat true, but I have to admit I have a position where I am encouraged to experiment with teaching and learning while at the same time pushed to reach out to others across the internets.

    I have to admit UMW may be unique in this, but one thing I have learned these past 2 1/2 years is that I work just as much for the people around me, as I do for any disembodied man. They are why I come to work, and my network is why I am online at 3 am. I love all of it, and I’m underpaid and that is a reality, but I haven’t had a job before where I have felt so alive. Part of that may inform my sense of optimism and mania, at the same time I always wonder about the adult/youth distinction.

    I think the framing of adulthood as moment where you need to abandon your ideals and get serious about your future is as much a construction of cultural identity as EDUPUNK is. I don’t pretend EDUPUNK will be anything more than an idea, and if it gives me that youthful excitment—I might (and probably should) be laughed at—but damn it if I don’t feel liek it focuses me and some other folks who i deeply care about.

    Just thinking about you skateboarding makes me envious. I did that for most of my teens, and it is something I constantly return to as a transcendent experience I should have never abandoned, despite the innumerable broken arms. But how many times was I told I was too old, I often told myself as much, and walked away from it. Maybe there is a time to walk away, and I’m not saying EDUPUNK is some kind of youthful elixir or EdTech panacea, but it seems to have offered some folks a galvanizing moment to think about what we are doing as “adults” and why. And if that is all it does, then maybe that’s enough.

    But, as the Pursuit of Happiness notes (thank you Jerry) “I’m an Adult Now.”

    So maybe I shouldn’t be writing this, only problem is I make a terrible adult, and an even worse skater these days 🙂

  13. 5tein says:

    Yeah, no, I think I get it, and I’m probably trying to attach too much meaning to it. I’ll admit I shiver when I think about grown men using “edupunk” as a rallying cry for edtech, and I still haven’t pin-pointed why. Maybe it’s because just preaching ed tech comes across to my faculty and students as bizarre enough already–the same sort of bizarre that I used to see in response to punk itself!

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  15. Martin says:

    I _know_ this is an oxymoron, but I want to see Edupunk 101 – get a bunch of you lot to create a course (Lamb and Hirst on mashups, Wiley on openness, etc) that shows what education could be.
    Mind you I share some of Jared’s discomfort, we could be like 45 year olds going to a Pistols revival gig and spitting, then getting in our Mercedes to drive home. I already feel too corporate to be edupunk…


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  17. Scott Leslie says:

    Well I don’t know about all you old farts, but those young punks stay the fuck outta my way when I start slammin’.

    You know what, if the term bugs you, that’s fine, don’t use it, but do enable, liberate, disrupt, tear down, build up, do. And recognize bankruptcy and phoniness when you see it, and even when you’re scared about the possible results, resist it.

  18. Tom says:

    enable, liberate, disrupt, tear down, build up, do. And recognize bankruptcy and phoniness when you see it, and even when you’re scared about the possible results, resist it.

    Exactly. Nothing more needs to be said.

  19. Jim says:

    I love Scott Leslie!!! He is so EDUPUNK!!!

  20. Martin, I promise to leave my Mercedes in the garage. I prefer to pull out one of the Ferraris whenever the weather allows, anyway…

  21. Martin says:

    @Scott – I was joshing, I love the term too. It doesn’t need explaining, indeed it seems so natural you wonder why we hadn’t come up with it before. As Huxley said of Darwin ‘how stupid not to have thought of that’ (which is a compliment to Jim’s genius for coining it).
    And just to clarify, I haven’t actually got a Mercedes, UK profs aren’t paid that much (unlike you Canadians with three sea planes per family) 😉

  22. Gardner says:

    I’ve got a few concerns.

    Do we need another movement?
    Do we need another ideology?
    Do we need more labels?
    Do we need more honorary titles, more designations of who’s cool and who isn’t, who’s phony and who’s not?
    Do we need more “are we too old” or “are we too young” or “who gets to use this voice” or “are we appropriating this voice” questions?

    I really do not think so. I do not think they will get us where we need to go.

    Is Edupunk binary? You are or you aren’t? Or are there shades of Edupunk? Any edupunks corporate to the waist and edupunk from there on down, like centaurs?

    What shall we do with the non-edupunks? Can we sit on park benches with them without fear of being denounced?

    When I went to Ireland and England in 1979, I went to the (late, lamented) Marquee Club in London and saw a show headlined by Dave Kubineck. He wore the Stiff Records shirt that said “If it isn’t Stiff it isn’t worth a ****.” Oooooh. Sex and drugs and rock and roll. No one gobbed, but it was a punk scene, with more aluminum and spiky hair than I’ve seen before or since. I was there alone with a 101-degree fever, so conditions were optimum. It was in fact a good concert, particularly because of the guitarist, who as it turns out was a veteran of Mott the Hoople. Was he punk or a poser? Was Mott the Hoople protopunk? The Who? Does it matter?

    If Pete Townshend sat down next to an edupunk and started talking about rock operas or Meher Baba, would the edupunk listen, gob, scream, fix bored and staring eyes on Pete’s face? Denounce him?

    During that same trip, the number one song in the UK was the Bee Gees’ “Nobody Gets Too Much Heaven.” The number two song was “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick,” by Ian Dury and the Blockheads. At the time I didn’t like either of those songs. Now I love them both. Am I edupunk?

    Punks hated Led Zeppelin (“dinosaurs!” “corporate rock!”) and Little Feat (“musos!”) and Steely Dan (“posers!”). Clearly they were wrong about all three. But then maybe punk’s not about the music?

    There was DIY long before punk, and long after.

    As I understand it, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a song I really like, derives musically from “More Than A Feeling,” also a song I really like. I detect more than one irony there. Good! Single-layer ironies make me instantly skeptical.

    Edupunk is a sassy classy moniker. And an easy one. Maybe too easy. I’ll try to keep an open mind, but having come of age during the punk “revolution” (it wasn’t, few are), I feel pretty certain “punk” isn’t the word I want to line up behind.

    But I’ll keep thinking.

  23. Reverend says:


    I’ve been waiting for this 🙂

    I don’t disagree with you entirely, and as always you have some very salient and important points. But you and me both know that your Bluehost experiment and everything you did at UMW is very, very EDUPUNK. And even if that carries a torch for a few people beyond the limitations of the word, I think that is important.

    But like we have said, the people and the ideas come first. The term captures some of that—and it may even pose some challenges— but it might also have people think about the state of Ed Tech and cultivate an idea around creativity and doing. Which I agree with you is not limited to, or encompassed by, any one term. Think of it as an extended metaphor that has resonated and ma open up some powerful readings of our moment of EdTech. This is something you do so well, and that I have learned from you in so many ways.

    I like that your not EDUPUNk, and I love that you are Gardner.

  24. Gardner says:

    Jim, I love you, you know I do–and by starting off that way, I’ve made it clear not only that I’m not edupunk but that I don’t think punk is a helpful metaphor. What punk would start off with a profession of love?

    What I started at UMW had nothing to do with a punk ethos, so far as I can tell. “Tommy” is my favorite album; you know that. If the metaphor of punk helps some folks rally their spirits and keep pushing for the kind of educational reforms I long for with every fiber of my being, okay, I guess–but from here, and especially in the wake of all the comments I’ve been reading, it looks to me like the metaphor simply draws more lines in the sand. And I choose *that* metaphor very deliberately, as I think those sandy lines, whether on the playground or in the desert, can be very dangerous.

    Maybe I’m trying to say that I don’t think one has to draw a line in the sand in order to take a stand.

    In the end, in the cosmic struggles, I’m with Lillian Gish, who will not scruple to sing “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” with the Devil himself if it’ll keep Robert Mitchum in sight, and perhaps keep the possibilities of redemption and inclusion alive.

    Or maybe I just need to listen to “Amazing Journey” again, burn a candle, and see my future.

  25. Tom says:

    Maybe I’m wrong but I’m not taking edupunk nearly as seriously as many people seem to be.

    I’m looking at the edupunk idea as something that’s kind of fun and has some energy behind it. I’m not planning to get an edupunk tattoo/piercing/mohawk or start beating people who disagree with me.

    I don’t think the idea of edupunk will get us closer to or farther away from anything really major.

    It seems to have hit a chord in this tiny community and so why not ride it out and see what happens? Maybe something good will come of it. I don’t think it’ll somehow bring back the Cold War and the Berlin Wall.

    If the idea sucks then it’ll either get smashed or forgotten, until then it’s got some value for whoever gets use out of it. Let them use it how they will and don’t worry about it.

    Maybe it will cause conflict and drama and be a line in the sand. I think that conflict is often useful and let’s remember it is just sand. It’s not a line in granite. If Jim decides to call someone “SO EDUPUNK” rather than just screaming “GENIUS” at them, I don’t really see any difference.

    I can’t define punk, fun, pornography or edupunk but, then again, I don’t really believe anyone can and I don’t care.

  26. Scott Leslie says:

    Tom, head, meet nail, exactly.

    Everyone else, please calm down, this is only a drill, in the advent of a real revolution, we will notify the proper authorities.

    No off to get my “Reverend Jim Fan Club” tattoo!

  27. RE: “Everyone else, please calm down, this is only a drill, in the advent of a real revolution, we will notify the proper authorities.”


    But I will admit, it’s hee-larious watching this spread over the internet, and watching people get their knickers in a twist and/or sprain digital ankles hurtling after a bandwagon.



  28. Reverend says:


    I don’t know about you all, but I’m serious about my fun, and I want to create hardcore. This isn’t all a joke to me, it is my job, it’s what I do for fun, and I love it—I’ll fight for it.

    So, maybe the word will disappear, but the ideas must get stronger and the play more intensified, just like in Punk Rock —if only to be like the Bad Brains!

  29. Tom says:

    I’m not saying what you/we do is a joke or not serious (even in a fake Russian accent I’m dead serious). I am saying the name/title doesn’t really matter. What matters is what you do and if you aren’t having fun doing it then you ought to quit.

    If calling this fairly wide ranging, totally chaotic series of ideas, actions and beliefs one thing gets this much of an uproar, splendid. Let chaos reign and hope a few people think a little harder.

    I can always count on Jim Groom to cause a commotion and then double down with lots of chaos. Like Gardner, I love you but in a totally punk way.

    P.S. I’m working on the Rev. tattoo

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