Just So You Know: Creepy Treehouses

We all see many trends, new web sites, and Buzzwords floating around the EduGeek-o-sphere. Most of them I just let pass because I don’t think they are going anywhere (of course, I might comment on something hoping to build buzz for something that I still don’t think will go anywhere but is still so cool that it really should…. but seeing that I haven’t been successful yet, I guess my big to rule the world is still falling short of my lofty goal). An example of something that I thought wouldn’t go anywhere and still hasn’t is the term “creepy treehouse.”

If you look up “creepy treehouse” at urbandictionary.com, you will see that it was added in April of this year and only has four ratings. Contrast that with a word like “driving finger“, added August 14th and already over 300 ratings. Are we really even dealing with a term that actually means anything to that many people? If you Google the term, you see the first several pages are mostly a handful of people all referencing each other’s blog posts, and not really a wide range of diverse sites examining the issues. Maybe it will still catch on – it’s still a relatively new term. Older than EduPunk, it seems – which is much more popular.

I’ve been arguing for a while that we don’t need to integrate LMS programs with existing social networking sites. Yes, it does invade student’s social networks that they probably want to keep separate. But I think that we need to make sure that it’s not the teacher using the tool that is the problem, it’s the concept of forcing their way in to social circles that could possibly make students uncomfortable (let’s also be realistic in noting that no one actually quotes any real scientific studies to see what students really think about this practice). If you are an instructor and you want to have a Facebook group or a Twitter account or whatever – go head and do that. Just realize that these are social circles and you shouldn’t force students to let you in their social circles. A FaceBook page is a new circle that you are creating – but also realize that it is a closed circle that pretty much mimcs everything that most LMS tools do.

It’s weird how we have the Marc Prenskys of the world telling us how stupid we are for not using these tools, and then this group of people telling us how creepy we are if we do use them. Can someone please do some research here?

Matt Crosslin

Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

My Obligatory Post on Yet Another Buzz Word

EduPunk seems to be the new buzzword for… oh, I who knows. Wired Campus had this to say about it: “Punk rock was a rebellion against the clean, predictable sound of popular music and it also encouraged a do-it-yourself attitude. Edupunk seems to be a reaction against the rise of course-managements systems, which offer cookie-cutter tools that can make every course Web site look the same.” I love punk rock, so I just don’t see how that term even makes sense. True punks really rebelled against all things organized and governmental, and education is exactly that – organized and governmental.

If anyone knows the history of punk rock, they know that there was a whole punk underground that existed for a long time before anyone noticed, and then it became popular to be punk. They you had a ton of poser pop-punk bands coming along just making the term “punk” silly. That is what this seems like to me – “edupunks” are just doing what many of us have been doing for years, but seeming to make it look silly. Especially when you use rap/hip-hop lingo terms to discuss a punk term :)

Besides, the true “punks” tended to hate be categorized in any way. (I type this as I listen to Bad Brains “Rock for Light” :). So, I guess maybe I am a true EduPunk – because I would really hate to be classified by such a silly term. But I really have severe problems with BlackBoard (like many do), so if the EduPunk movement is the one that is fighting against it, I guess I have to join it.

Ultimately, the true punk rock music movement came to be about doing what you want, regardless of what others told you was “cool” or “hip.” The problem with pop-punk was that it told you you still had to fit a particular rebellious mold to truly be punk (see a great song called “School?” by a band called Crashdog for a good riff on this concept). From what I am seeing of the term EduPunk, it seems more like it should be called EduPopPunk.

Matt Crosslin

Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.