, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 41–45 | Cite as

Geek learning

  • Caleb John Clark


The 1914 definition of geek reads: (1) a person, often of an intellectual bent, who is disapproved of, (2) a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken or snake (Merriam-Webster, 1997).

Nowadays geeks rule. Geeks are now enmeshed at a very high level in every facet of the information age that is changing the world spinning under our feet. Geeks are literally building this new information world by producing the software and hardware that make it run. Geeks get work, geeks are becoming attractive partners, and geeks are actually cool! The times they are a changin” !

Perhaps a new definition in the year 2000 might read: ( 1 ) a person prone to energetic acceptance of emerging technology, esp. computers and the Internet, (2) one whose act includes selfdirected learning of such technology.

Geek learning is basically self-directed learning with a heavy dash of exploratory learning thrown in for good measure. However, support for selfdirected learning in higher education has been shown to be very low (Wilcox, 1996). This low level of support is evidence of the resistance to the new information age, a natural but dangerous reaction to chaos.

I believe that the chaotic and decentralized nature of the exploding information age demands a reexamination of theories such as “self-directed” and “exploratory” learning— terms coined by non-geeks to describe things geeks do naturally.

In these times, teachers and instructional designers grappling with how to facilitate technology learning should heed the advice of the old expression, “When in Rome ...” and just let it go, and G.E.E.K.O.U.T!


Adult Learner Live Chicken Menu Item TechTrends Volume Directed Learning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer 2000

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  • Caleb John Clark

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