I first read My Daily Info-Wrangling Routine by Bryan Alexander. The initial thing that really struck me was when he said he has “several hundred feeds in 45 folders” because it sounds so daunting and unnecessary! But then I started thinking about how I would organize information related to my career. As a teacher, there are ultimately only 4 core subjects, but language arts, for example, would need individual folders for writing, reading, and phonics. Then writing would need to be further broken down as grammar would need its own folder, as would the different genres we learn to write in 1st grade. Quickly, I see how 45 folders to organize your information is not going overboard.
My second instinct is that this sounds like you would have to be a fulltime researcher just to have the time to devote to going through this information. Otherwise, when would you have time to do anything other than absorb and discuss? When would you actually put it into practice?
From there, I read The Journey from Digital Literacy to Digital Fluency by Karen Lirenman. She mentioned Twitter and how valuable it is to her growth and that made me think. If I were to share information related to my career on social media now, who would listen or engage? It’s clear that I need a Personal Learning Network with whom I can engage about these topics.
Comparing digital fluency to fluency in a language really helped me see the difference between digital fluency and literacy. If I am fluent in a foreign language, I can communicate in that language with ease. Right now, I feel knowledgeable (literate?) about technology, but using it to communicate feels like more work than it would if I were truly “fluent.”
When Lirenman said, “I am also ferociously reading blogs, gaining knowledge, and looking for ways to tweak the growth of others to better suit my own growth,” it answered the question I had while reading Alexander’s article regarding where you find the time to do all this research. Reading and gaining knowledge is part of our responsibility and is the only way to keep giving our students what they need. While sharing is new to me, that is how I will reach my goal mentioned in my last post, using what I know to help other educators grow their skills.
Next, I watched the video How Statistics can be Misleading by Mark Liddell. Immediately I found it interesting that by synthesizing information to make it more digestible for students, we are actually nurturing misconceptions about that topic. When Liddell said, “Next time you see a convenient chart… try to maintain a healthy skepticism” it really hit home with me. If it has been simplified into an infographic, you probably are not seeing the whole picture. This brings me back to Alexander’s “several hundred feeds” and how excessive that sounded. If you only followed a couple sources of information on a topic, you would not be getting the whole picture.
Last, I watched Endless Curiosity: The Science of Fake News by Filippo Menczer. The information in this video seemed like common sense to me, but I realize that is not the case for everyone. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, there have been so many people out there who seem to hear nothing but misinformation and that is what they spread online and parrot in person. My first instinct is to question the intelligence of those people, but perhaps it is not their intelligence that is lacking, but their digital fluency. They do not know how to synthesize the information they are finding online and isolate the legitimate sources from the “fake news,” so they take a “quantity over quality” approach- if I’ve heard it over and over it must be true, no matter who said it. This problem is not going to go away, so it is something that needs to be corrected, beginning in the classroom.