Imagine Joey Ramone as your principal, a punk rock principal for a rock-n-roll school. Scary? It shouldn’t be. That is what you might get when you combine Matt Mason, pirates, punk rock, do-it-yourself, Edupunks, Big Education, and the Open Model of Education.
I previously blogged about author Matt Mason (Teach Students to be Pirates and Plagiarists?). According to Matt Mason, author of The Pirate’s Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism, “The punk rock perspective is a subversive mind-set we can all use, especially now that we have equally subversive technologies.”
From the punk rock philosophy comes three separate ideas that will spell trouble for the future of education, but complement the Open Model of Education. Beware of pirates.
Philosophy 1: Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.)
“Today we live in a world where doing-it-yourself doesn’t seem that radical at all. We accept that anyone is capable of becoming a change agent.”
And that includes students. Students no longer need to wait for you to teach them what you think they need to know. Students can go create their own Personal Learning Networks of teachers, mentors, friends, and anyone anywhere who has something they want to learn. It's about choice, freedom, and change. Students crave it and with technology, they can get it. Our outdated notions of teaching students locked in a classroom will have to give way to the Open Model of Education that is focused on the student and their learning because, “Limitations suck.”
“It seems that ownership of the means of production—the backbone of capitalism—is falling into the hands of the masses. But soon the notion of ‘owning’ the means of production may itself be redundant.”
In other words, nobody owns teaching anymore. Nobody controls what students want or need to know. It’s now about the learning and that means nobody owns our students minds or bodies. They get to learn from anyone, anywhere, at anytime, and for their own reasons, not yours.
“DIY is about becoming more independent. The more independent we become as a society, the more industries become decentralized. Indeed we may reach a point where there is no ‘industry’ left at all, in its place many vibrant local markets producing value, but not controlled exclusively by big players.”
We have Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Drug Companies, Big Tobacco, etc. But, I say we also have Big Education. Big Education is a system. It is not about the teaching or learning so much as it is about the supporting an organization that does many things other than teaching (maintains things, buys things, monitors things, pays for things, transports things, paints things, cleans things, trims things, builds things, repairs things, etc).
These things have nothing to do with learning, but have a lot to do with maintaining the system. The key here is that Big Education operates on the premise that learning takes place in certain place and from certain people. Big Education exists to support those places and those people, but in the end does a lot to support the organization itself. Big Education is going to have to adapt to D.I.Y. learning.
Big Education is the “man.” And DIY is about sticking to the “man.”
Philosophy 2: Resist Authority
“Punk resisted authority and saw anarchy as a path to a brighter future. Punk capitalists are resisting authority, too--by leveraging new D.I.Y. technologies and the power of individuals connecting and working together as equals. This twin engine of the new economy is creating new ways all of us can live and work, leaving old system for dust. Technology + Democracy = Punk Capitalism”
Students are going to pirate their own education. You figured out the best way to teach subjects, now they are going to use your “best practices” for themselves. Teachers and professors have developed research based teaching methods for ensuring the best learning. Now, students and educational entrepreneurs are going to pirate those ideas and do it themselves. The Open Model of Education leverages technology and best practices to give learning and teaching anyone. They are not stuck in your system, following your rules they are following pirate rules, which means there are no rules.
Philosophy 3: Combine Altruism with Self-Interest
“Punk had high ideals—it looked aggressive and scary, but through its angry critique of society and subversion of it, it sought to change the world for the better.”
The Open Model of Education can look at little scary to someone who committed to Big Education. It takes their power away by changing the focus from teaching to learning. It allows students and other to pirate the best educational practices and methods and use them to meet their needs and interests.
But this is going to make education better. A focus on every student learning in manner and style that is uniquely best for that student. What could be altruistic than giving a person the best education possible? What could be more beneficial than giving every person a chance to succeed to their highest potential? As a country, is not in our best interests to ensure that our students receive the best learning possible? It is in our self-interest that we change. It is in our own self-interest that the students pirate “Big Education”.
“Pirates create positive social and economic changes, and understanding piracy today is more important than ever…”
Another term for this DIY learning is called Edupunk. Wikipedia describes it this way…
“Edupunk is an approach to teaching and learning practices that result from a do it yourself (DIY) attitude.  The New York Times defines it as “an approach to teaching that avoids mainstream tools like PowerPoint and Blackboard, and instead aims to bring the rebellious attitude and D.I.Y. ethos of ’70s bands like The Clash to the classroom.” Many instructional applications can be described as DIY education or Edupunk.”
“Edupunk has risen from an objection to the efforts of government and corporate interests in reframing and bundling emerging technologies into cookie-cutter products with pre-defined application—somewhat similar to traditional punk ideologies. 
“The reaction to corporate influence on education is only one part of edupunk, though. Stephen Downes has identified three aspects to this approach:
* Reaction against commercialization of learning
* Do-it-yourself attitude
* Thinking and learning for yourself 
Sticking it to the man. Sticking it to Big Education.