#EDCMOOC ROCKS! – Sunset Observer #38, by Whitney Farmer – Un Pop Culture

#EDCMOOC ROCKS! – Sunset Observer #38, by Whitney Farmer – Un Pop Culture | @MDWorld

Edinburgh_blog@farmer_whitney (Twitter/FLICKR) or farmerwhitney (Instagram) and Facebook

#edcmooc #edcmooc3 #edcmooc.rocks #iLoveGypsies

Note: The University of Edinburgh’s MOOC “Digital Cultures and E-Learning” begins on Sunday night, midnight GMT. The course is FREE and open to ALL. To register or for more information, go to:


Once upon a time last week, a man told me that – if I break his heart – he will write a blog.

Drop the bone…back away…

He also told me, “U talk 2 much.”


When we were young and were ‘crushing’, we would dial the phone number of the radio station 13KYNO-Fresno and ask the DJ John Wallace to play a song dedication. Then we would drag the phone by its 16 foot cord into the closet off of the living room and wait for the Beloved to call.

Now we click through a YouTube hyperlink on Messenger or Viber, or click ‘like’ on an electronic image of a bouquet of flowers. Hearts pound when a smartphone gives the distinct alerts letting it be known that a text is being read by the Beloved at THAT EXACT MOMENT, and when the Beloved responds with a consenting emoji.

It is clear that living happily ever after now is more likely to happen with mastery of the use of social media platforms.

It also gets a boost if there is fluency in the languages of digital culture, if spoken as a native born into that village where everyone drives a Prius but forgets to bathe. It is a world wherein LOL has broken hearts because senders mistakenly assume it means “Lots of Love” and write “I can’t wait to see you…LOL”.

This is a world wherein mommies must learn from their children, rather than texting them “WTF!” when informed about a great grade in Chemistry and assuming that they just told a child “Why That’s Fantastic!”

When I first spent time in the Gypsy camp in Royan and then in Le Gua, I noticed that the Bright Young Things all had smartphones. Those who would be designated as illiterate in an academic setting were able to navigate better than me as they would log on to the wifi at McDonalds. They would hold Le Big Mac in one hand while notifying friends what were the coordinates of their encampment where they could be found for the next two weeks. Pop culture news would be downloaded while selfies emulating the good life would be uploaded. In a population that lacks access to formal education, literacy and other critical skill sets are acquired as a consequence of being a teenager. The push into education instead becomes a pull into learning as this next generation tries to understand the world beyond the sunflower fields where they are encamped.

Last year, I took a crash course from the University of Edinburgh called “E-Learning and Digital Cultures”, affectionately as #edcmooc.  For me, I felt like Helen Keller when she suddenly knew that ‘water’ was symbolized by the shapes that Annie Sullivan formed into her hand. I was one of 21,000, but I was grateful to contribute my data point to the Milky Way sample of a cluster. I was there for the purest reasons: I sought knowledge, and I didn’t want to look stupid anymore when I talked with teenagers.

This year, the #edcmooc team asked if I could be one of their Community Teaching Assistants for the class that goes live online on Sunday, sometime Greenwich Mean Time. I gave them the obvious answer: “THANK YOU, JESUS!”

Now my goal is to try and help others learn what #edcmooc taught me. Maybe I will be able to help be a part of establishing school without walls within the global Gypsy/Sinti/Traveler/Roma community…or education in areas oppressed by terror organizations like ISIL or Boko Haram which invariably have declared war on education and target groups when students gather together to learn…or help launch a startup for digital delivery of curriculae to support homeschool efforts worldwide…

Or perhaps, if successful, at the end of it all I will understand what in the world this particular guy is trying to tell me…

Quote of the Blog, from Sage Frances: “The rich get richer until the poor get educated…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8XPrz5FCKdQ  courtesy of Ezra Herbert at the Verizon Store in Huntington Beach, California, U.S.A., who helped me when I dropped my smartphone in the toilet.

Picture of Edinburgh, forwarded during class last year by Dr. Hamish Macleod of the University of Edinburgh to the #edcmooc community via Twitter.

For the archive of my previous Un Pop Culture blogs, click here:



Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

  • Subscribe to Blog via Email

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,327 other subscribers