[iDC] Discussion: The Edupunks' Guide

Anya Kamenetz anyaanya at gmail.com
Tue Aug 2 16:46:13 UTC 2011

Hello all!
I was asked to try to start up a discussion for this week. This happens to
be the week that my new e-book is being released, titled The Edupunks' Guide
to a DIY Credential. It's the first-ever book underwritten by the Gates
Foundation, and a follow-up to my 2010 book DIY U. Where DIY U made
historical, economic and political arguments about the future of education,
this is a guidebook. The premise is that learners who are curious and
lacking in resources (money, time, physical access to a campus) can use the
guide to create the future of education for themselves right now, by writing
a personal learning plan, recruiting mentors and a personal learning network
of peers, participating in online communities, and using open courseware.
There are also profiles of a variety of institutions, organizations, and
networks that specialize in catering to the needs of learners who are
nontraditional in some way, and helping them to do all of the above and in
many cases receive accreditation for learning done in nontraditional ways
and contexts. The writing style is simple and assumes little prior knowledge
of anything, even Google.

As a guidebook, the arguments made by this book are implicit. One is that
anyone can be an edupunk, as long as they feel their needs are not being met
by the current education system. Among those who have objected to this
appropriation of the term is Jim Groom, who helped coin it (although Mike
Caulfield, another person instrumental in popularizing the term, agrees with
my usage).
Another is that rather than engage directly with reforming the system,
change can be made by learners pursuing their own goals with the resources
available to them now. One of the more prosaic changes I'd like to see is
for colleges to review their prior learning, portfolio credit, and transfer
credit policies to allow more students to receive credit for learning
achieved in open environments. I believe this might happen if more students
were aware of the options and petitioned their colleges to accept these

You can download the PDF
here:http://www.scribd.com/doc/60954896/EdupunksGuide and
an e-reader compatible plain-text version here
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/77938. In a couple weeks there will be
a better-looking Kindle version and an
EdupunksGuide.org<http://edupunksguide.org/> site
with community features launches in September.

I'd love to hear what people think about the implicit arguments I've
articulated here and anything else you find worthy of note in the book
Thanks so much,

*New ebook! *The Edupunks' Guide <http://goog_1627357189>*
Fast Company column* Life In Beta<http://www.fastcompany.com/user/anya-kamenetz>
*Tribune Media column* The Savings
*Book* DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of  Higher
*Blog* DIYUbook.com <http://diyubook.com/>
*Twitter *@Anya1anya <http://twitter.com/#%21/anya1anya>
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