Course 1 Random Thoughts

Aaron Swartz – A geeky Role Model?

I can’t remember fully when I heard the words nerd and geek the first time in my life. Probably it was during my time working for a Software Company as a trainer for their products. I thought some of my colleagues were nerds/geeks and for some reasons I was very impressed by them.

In theory everybody can be a geek and geeking out (Living and Learning with New Media, page 28ff.) on the internet. Compared to hanging out and messing around it is very intense, only interest-driven, therefore very knowledgeable, and highly social and engaged learning. Another big difference is the fact that

geeking out engagement involves accessing as well as producing knowledge to contribute to the knowledge network. (page 29.)

At the beginning of the year I read about the sad news of Aaron Swartz (Wikipedia) who killed himself. Unfortunately it was the first time I heard from him – probably I was / I am not geeky enough to hear from him early (or because I’m not surrounded by geeks anymore). It difficult for me to list what he was involved in and what he was fighting for – Wikipedia does it’s job. Anyways – I’m still very impressed by his knowledge, engagement, activism, understanding of complex topics, networked thinking, etc.

Today at school I had a group of five students (Grade 5) and I took some time to ask them what they are actually doing when they are on the internet. They definitely all playing games like f.e. Minecraft – hanging out with friends (chatting, etc.) and also kind of messing around (producing Minecraft-videos and posting them on youtube).

It’s a start but as a educator it would be great to support them to become more skilled on the internet, to use technology in a geeky way, to use their networks and eventually do action on whatever they are passioned about. Like Aaron Swartz who died way to early.