e-learning,  edupunk,  Open content,  web 2.0

The eduWomble manifesto


For those who have difficulties with the connotations of edupunk, straight of Wales we bring you – eduWomble! One of my twitter friends Griffithss4 tweeted yesterday that regarding their learning environment

“Current approach can be summarised (and will be referred to) as the #’Womble Strategy”

For those outside the UK, the Wombles was a children’s television programme set on Wimbledon Common about creatures who lived underground and made their homes and stuff by recycling the rubbish humans left around. The green message was very ahead of its time, but it’s the theme tune that offers itself up to us educational technologists as metaphor.

The main theme is represented in the lyrics by “Making good use of the things that we find/Things that the everyday folks leave behind.” For the modern educational technologist this means using non-educational applications in educational settings. It also applies to content – as I argued in the YouTube annotations post, what commentary allows you to do is to take any resource and make it an educational one, and what digital content allows you to do is find and locate any resource. So an average photo becomes part of a digital storytelling class, a clip from a 50s TV series part of a commentary on changing architectural styles, a Sex Pistols track a theme tune for RSS, and so on. We’re making good use of the things people leave behind.

A second theme is that of the loosely coupled nature of the educational technologist. Obviously this applies to our use of applications, but also our network. We all belong to different types of network (e.g. I sort of belong to networks such as ‘The OU’, ‘The OU plus associated people’, ‘UK edubloggers’, ‘The Canadian/US eduglu affiliation’, etc). These are bottom up, but still highly effective networks. Here the lyrics do the Clay Shirky by stating ”
Wombles are organized, work as a team.”

Another theme is that of change management by stealth. Here the lyrics remind us that ”
People don’t notice us, they never see/Under their noses a Womble may be.” And furthermore that ”
We’re so incredibly, utterly devious/Making the most of everything”. This sounds like Injenuity in Viral Professional Development mode.

And just to reiterate the reuse, mashup agenda the lyrics end with ”
Pick up the pieces and make them into something new/Is what we do!”. Surely written with Tony in mind?

Recently David Wiley asked if we should have something akin to a carbon footprint for education, which calculated how much you reused material. The status one should aspire to is eduWomble.

Here are the lyrics in full:

Underground, Overground, Wombling Free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we.
Making good use of the things that we find,
Things that the everyday folks leave behind.

Uncle Bulgaria,
He can remember the days when he wasn’t behind The Times,
With his map of the World.
Pick up the papers and take them to Tobermory!

Wombles are organized, work as a team.
Wombles are tidy and Wombles are clean.
Underground, Overground, wombling free,
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common are we!

People don’t notice us, they never see,
Under their noses a Womble may be.
We womble by night and we womble by day,
Looking for litter to trundle away.

We’re so incredibly, utterly devious
Making the most of everything.
Even bottles and tins.
Pick up the pieces and make them into something new,
Is what we do!

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