martin weller on disrupting disruption


Disruptors are not concerned about your specific problem, they only have blanket solutions. They don't worry about making something useful, only about sounding revolutionary. Disruption is about ego. You see disruption appeals to people because it's revolutionary, elite, new, sexy. Just being useful or practical looks all dowdy besides glamorous disruption.

So, everything has to be disruptive, a game-changer, a revolution, an all-encompassing tsunami of change. It can't just be useful in a particular context. That educause piece judges OERs a failure precisely because they are not disruptive. That tells you more about the author than it does about OERs - in their world only disruption matters. Take the OER based TESSA project. Useful? Undoutedly. Disruptive? Probably not. So, who cares about it, right? We should aim higher than getting well paid speaking gigs for middle-aged men with goatees who skateboard to work.

Martin Weller: Disrupting Disruption

So good.

Disruption for the sake of disruption is just chaos. Which may not be a bad thing, if it were somehow useful. But directed, purposeful, mindful change is more interesting, and likely more sustainable. Without this sense of purpose, all disruption does is blow up the establishment (which, again, may not be a bad thing) while leaving a vacuum in its place - fodder for crass commercialization and privatization of education, corporatization of curriculum, etc…

Disrupt, if things are ripe for disruption, but build something sustainable to replace what is taken apart. That's the more interesting part of the activity. Disruption is just clearing the ground for construction. It's a step, not the goal.

Update: Bonus video. While rereading Martin's post, I remembered the I Met the Walrus video, where a 14 year old kid sneaks into John Lennon's hotel and interviews him. Part of the interview is essentially about disruption vs. mindful change. How the ones that replace the establishment become the establishment, and how the infrastructure of the previous establishment is still useful.