At the end of Educampakl I asked the question do geeks learn differently? I thought this would be an excellent topic to explore for the Virtual Learning Network’s November e-learning challenge to answer the question:
“What kinds of skills/knowledge/attitudes do teachers – and students – need if we are going to use technology effectively?
A geek will think nothing of sending you an instant message even if you happen to be sitting next to them. Non-geeks find it a bit weird or downright rude for someone to whip out their device in the middle of an important meeting or conversation and start checking their twitter feeds. However geeks think their conversations partners shouldn’t be limited to the people in the room.
Geeks have imaginary friends
Whether on facebook, bulletin boards, twitter or blogs geeks think nothing of spending the day interacting with people they’ve never met. In fact if you ask a geek who their best friends are they are more likely to give you twitter handles as names. The bonus of imaginary friends is that geeks always have people on hand to help them with their learning not to mention free tour guides sprinkled across the globe.
Geeks take risks
Geek might be chic but being early adopters of anything can also make you might unpopular. Gallielo had trouble getting invites to cocktail parties after declaring the world was round. Likewise geeks tend to engage in stuff like blogging which some people think is weird.
Geeks are curious
Geeks love to play with new gadgets and the internet is fill of all these clicky links that take you to different people and places. Because of this curiosity geeks don’t need large content-filled lectures just in time learning suits our needs far better.
Geeks love to share
Whether by blog, tweet or facebook update geeks love to tell the world what we are reading, writing and thinking about. Geeks are content creators rather than just consumers.
Geeks are superb information navigators
Contrary to popular opinion geeks don’t necessarily spend much more time on screen than non-geeks. But they work smarter when they are online. They’ll have RSS feeds, twitter PLNs which means that they don’t find relevant information, the information finds them.
Geeks come together for collaboration rather than content
Those big fancy conferences with important people are all fine and dandy but what geeks really come together for is the connection with others. Chances are a geek will have googled you and read your twitter feed before you’ve met. But this means the quality of our interaction is better when we do meet face to face.
So there you have it. Geeks aren’t that different from normal people. Think of them as a Facebook Friend you haven’t met.