Brian Lamb: the emergency of an open education

Disclaimer: this post is an exercise of liveblogging. Even when the content remains forever, must be understood as juncture, with some imprecisions. 



Brian Lamb’s dynamic conference @Zemos98, picture by Julio Albarran 

Disclaimer: before starting the talk, Brian shared all the material of his talk.

Brian’s beginning is amazing, he hasn’t started with a speech, he just asked everyone to show him their worst hate during 10 seconds so that he can record it on video and put on youtube. A teacher starts with a performance. Next step: watching a short documentary about copyright breaker DJ Girl Talk. Taking this as a beginning point, he talks about his three lines of speech:

In addition to the obvious issues of copyright, and we determine the ‘originality’ of an idea, let’s think about other ways that “the past” is asserting control over “the future”… and ways in which the essential properties of digital media are not understood by those who are making key decisions.



As shown above, the representation of the English language tags on the wikipedia makes obvious that all the wikipedia anonymous contributers, who are not paid or promoted, form the perfect example of what a well done collaborative work is.

Next step: he is mentioning the Murder, Madness and Mayhem course that inspired Jim Groom to create the term edupunk. Jon Beasely-Murray asked his students to write entries in the wikipedia about latinamerican literature “speaking” about dictators because the English articles about the topics were very poor: the result is that the topic became a huge success on the wikipedia, and some of the work groups where featured on the main page due to the quality of his work. All right, that’s edupunk.

Some other adventures in wikipedia:

The creators of these wikipedia articles are creating a very important source of knowledge. Quoting the original source:


Why does this work appeal so much? 

* fast, cheap, and out of control…
* augments traditional literacy with new media literacy
* results in genuinely useful public knowledge resources (perhaps the essence of open education resources)
* students will respond to tasks that are authentic

About the work with weblogs, it is very important for students to have their own platform. More examples, by chance held by the same professor running the wikipedia experiment:

After talking about the work of the students, comes the time about the cost of this educational model. The topic is simple: the cost is zero (personally, I’d say tending to zero): there is no cost on making blogs or creating wikipedia content.

This topics drive us to the concept of Open Education. Most people is working in Open Educational Resources (OER) search engines and lists. Again, the cost of sharing knowledge (educational content, in this case) is Zero. A very interesting thing in here are Mobile Course Discussions, that allows us learning anywhere and anytime with no cost. This technologies, combined with the use of RSS are the perfect fift for expanded education.

Quoting Cory Doctorow (Science Fiction Writer and one of the most famous Creative Commons supporter):

“If you blow your works into the net like a dandelion clock on the breeze, the net itself will take care of the copying costs.” — Cory Doctorow, Think Like a Dandelion

A simple explanation of what RSS is might be found (as usual) in one of the Commoncraft Videos:



Brian’s speech about edupunk is too well documented and authentic to be reproduced here, and even when it might be an abuse of the quotation rights, here it comes all his code related on the presentation:


What’s the deal with EduPunk? 


My only cred on this issue is I was there when EduPunk was born. We talked about writing a punk-themed zine along the lines of Hackety Hack on how to run an ed tech operation for no money. (Later we did do something like that with a different theme, the survivalist-tinged Radical Reuse).

To me, and perhaps me alone, the great enduring value was in three posts Jim wrote right after that discussion.


It generated an ungodly number of blog posts, and garnered a surprising amount of attention outside the world of education.

The South by Southwest Panel


L-R: Jim Groom, Stephen Downes, Barbara Ganley, Gardner Campbell

  • Audio here – revealed some strong divergences on the panel, some withering critiques from the audience backchannel…

Update 30/03/09

You can hear Brian Lamb’s talk in English here. Introduction was made in Spanish. No English version, sorry.

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