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Geek is not a four letter word

3 years ago

Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK
The boffins behind the Collins online dictionary have announced 'geek' as their word of the year! That's kinda like KFC announcing the tastiest food of the year is chicken, but it shows how far we've come. Not that geekery has changed much, mind – the Collins definition still reads 'a person who is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a specific subject' – but the world has changed around it. Those geeky stereotypes, the things the dorks are into, aren't something to be scared of – in fact, you should encourage them. 
Why? I'll tell you!
STEM subjects
Well, this one's kind of a no-brainer. Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects conjure images of kids endlessly tinkering with complicated stuff in their room/mad scientist lab... and could lead to them being, y'know, the head of the next hot startup or a life-saving medical researcher. Also, what with the way things are going, there won't be many jobs that aren't based around STEM subjects.
So there's not much of a case to be made for GTA or Call of Duty's educational value, but you don't have to look much further for the benefits of knowing your way around a gamepad. Besides the mighty Minecraft, playing your run-of-the-mill console game may provide learning, health and social benefits to kids.
Comic books
With even more ways to read them, and some pretty popular movies based on them (or so I hear), comics are everywhere – but don't worry about your sprog growing up to be Comic Book Guy. Those four-colour paper pamphlets will help teach reading, improve their vocabulary, and can even include some pretty positive messages. Besides the importance of punching your enemies until they fall over.
Dungeons and Dragons
Despite its reputation, D&D isn't for the socially maladroit (or Satanists; thanks, Tom Hanks). Like it's video game brethren, it could actually help kids become more confident, to speak their mind, as well as developing problem solving and people management skills. You don't even need to understand the whole 20-sided die thing to play!
Google it.

Do you embrace the word geek? Do your kids call themselves geeks? Or is it still a four-letter word in some quarters?

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