Information Diet

Beep! Bing! Brrrrinnnnggg! These are the noises we here as a text, email, or phone call come in.  Add the alerts to a Facebook notifications, a tweet getting retweeted, somebody “liking” a picture on your instagram, or the Fox2News app alerting you about the weather and road conditions.  Each day we are consumed with thesephone rings and beeps that keep throwing new information at us.  Think about how you engage in technology each day.  Most people own a smartphone which includes the internet, apps, etc. on it.  These are ways we indulge ourselves in information.  This is our information diet.

This week in CEP 812, I got thinking about my own information diet, what I am seeing, reading, and intaking on a daily basis and how it has and could further effect my thinking.   I thought about the different technologies that I specifically use day to day.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Remind, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube are to name a few.  Others that I refer to on more of a weekly basis include BuzzFeed, Fox2News, and Flipboard.  I use FaceBook and Twitter to keep up with friends and engage in mindless entertainment activities, whereas I use Remind and YouTube more for my classroom use, engaging, communicating, and enhancing lessons.  I look to Fox2News and Flipboard to provide me information on what is happening in the world.  I use YouTube to learn something new from how to use a new technology to how to knit a scarf.  As Henry Jenkins described it, media is produced by people to share it with each other in hopes of learning from each other (Jenkins, 2011).

As we gain more knowledge through these networked affinity spaces we use, we are left to filter and determine if what we just learned to be true or false.  In Eli Praiser’s TedTalk he states that search engines, such as google provide filters that use 57 signals to personally tailor the results to the individual (Praiser, 2011).  The internet is therefore, providing me information on what it thinks I want to see, not necessarily showing me what I need to be seeing (Praiser, 2011).  This poses a limitation on my information diet and directs me to having a confirmation bias.  So the question is how do we see information that challenges our thinking?

This week, I added three new RSS Feeds to my Flipboard.  Integrating Technology, Rethinking Education, and Standardized Testing have already proven to push my thinking to a new level.  For example, the article titled “How to Cheat on State Standardized Tests and Not Get Caught” definitely had be in an uproar until I read the article completely.  I was already formulating a response to the writer in my head while reading the article.  Basically the thoughts going through my head were that yes, teachers are teaching to the test because their evaluations are based on it.  No! Don’t give them the answers, that’s just wrong and CHEATING!  It wasn’t until the final paragraph, where I took a deep breath.    This article got my heart racing and anger stirring because it was against everything I had believed in.  It got me to then stop and think, this really has happened, teachers have made this progression and turned to cheating; now what are we going to do about it?

As I reflect upon my work this week, I keep going back to what Gee  states, “We are exceedingly good at believing what we want and need to believe even in the face of counterevidence” (Gee, 2015, Chapter 1, para. 3). In allowing myself to indulge in information that is out of my comfort zone I am opened to new ideas challenging my previous thoughts and perceptions.  This will only help me in teaching my own students to plug into these affinity spaces where minds become Minds.

References:

Gee, J.  (2013).  The Anti-Education Era.  [Kindle DX Version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Jenkins, H.  (2011, August 4).  Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY&feature=youtu.be

Pariser, E.  (2011, March).  Beware online “filter bubbles”.  Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en

Rush, D. (2015, May 8). Essay: Drowning in Social Media. [Image] Retrieved on February 13, 2016 from: http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/essay-drowning-social-media