Redefining the Geek

Reading the section on “Geeking Out” in “Living with New Media,” I was thinking of the stereotypes that accompany the word, “geek.”  Doing a quick Google Image Search for “geek” led me here (click if you’re up for a laugh). Anyway, I was getting a good number of images of people with giant glasses, a crooked grin, pants pulled up high etc. (You know what I’m talking about – there are even geek Halloween costumes). So, these stereotypes are still prevalent in every day culture.  I then went to Oxford Dictionaries and looked up the word, “geek.” The first definition I got was: “noun – an unfashionable or socially inept person.” With the feeling that the word “geek” seemed more like slang to me, I continued my search on Urban Dictionary, the top rated definition was “The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult” and the second was “A geek does not have to be smart, a Geek is someone who is generally not athletic, and enjoys Video Games; Comic Books; being on the internet,  etc.” Again with the negative connotations.

However, as I read the section, “geeking out,” being a “geek” is a source of pride rather than a social stigma. To “geek out,” one needs to put in a lot of time and effort into becoming an expert in an area, and in turn becoming a creator of new content to add to a knowledge base in the field. Thinking of how this all relates to hanging out and messing around, “geeking out” is when one becomes a contributor to a network that is beyond their immediate friends. Looking into the future where technology and media will be accessed more freely and easily, can one afford to not be a geek in one area or another? Being a geek should be seen in a more positive light as they are the experts of our today and tomorrow. They will be collaborating and working together to produce, create and share solutions to problems that we cannot even imagine today. I think the views are beginning to change and this stance is becoming more public.  The third definition listed on Urban Dictionary is: “The term now enjoys a special status within the technical community, particularly among particularly knowledgeable computer programmers. To identify oneself as a “geek” indicates a recognition that most people still consider programming computers to be a bizarre act, along with a certain fierce satisfaction in being very good at their inglorious profession” and on Oxford Dictionaries, the verb form of the word “geek” (which is, of course, “to geek out”), is “be or become extremely excited or enthusiastic about a subject, typically one of specialist or minority interest.”

Photograph by Wapster  Hooray for geeks!
Photograph by Wapster
Hooray for geeks!

This made me think of the former Technology Director at my previous school, Don Buckley (@donbuckley), I first heard the term, Education 3.0 from him. He referred the Education 1.0’s configuration of learning is where the Teacher is the expert and the students learn from them.  In Education 2.0, the teacher takes more of a facilitator’s role, but still leads when necessary.  Finally, in Education 3.0 (nice visuals by Jackie Gerstein), Don talked about how anyone and anything can be a source of knowledge and learning.  This idea also relates to Connectivism that I wrote about in the previous post. But, for just one second, imagine an Education 3.0 environment that were full of geeks! The learning potential for that group is so great that it shouldn’t be passed up.

Here’s a ShowMe of how I visualize Education 3.0.

http://www.showme.com/sma/embed/?s=RTFVEuW

So the I think the message is, “Let’s geek out! Let’s be passionate and excited about something!”

 

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2 thoughts on “Redefining the Geek

  1. Nice use of Show Me! Great connections between the readings for the week and your personal experiences. Thanks for giving something new a try and sharing it with us!

  2. Akio, I like how you used ShowMe to share your thoughts on Education 123. The visuals and the audio kept me engaged throughout the video. I’m so impressed with how your blog looks! I need to spend more time “geeking out” and “messing around” with my blog. I enjoyed your ShowMe video. Thank you.

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