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 is currently an Instructional Designer II at Orbis Education and a Part-Time Instructor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Previously he worked as a Learning Innovation Researcher with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His work focuses on learning theory, Heutagogy, and learner agency. 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.