This week in CEP 812, we began to think about our infodiet. What type of resources do we draw on to develop our understandings of the world and education. As the world changes, we are able to draw on more and more resources. However as James Gee explains in Anti-Education Era, “You can, if you want, ensure that you never see or hear viewpoints you do not like or face people who do not share your values, interests, and viewpoints. You can customize your politics, just as you can customize everything else, and always hear arguments you already agree with and news reports that never venture far from or challenge your worldview.” (Gee, 2013, p. 117). So as Gee argues, even though we have so much available to us, humans customize their information to reinforce their view points. Eli Pariser refers to this phenomenon in his TED talk as filter bubbles.
One affinity space, I have found I am particularly engaged in is Twitter. I had a Twitter account I used prior to CEP 810. However, that class really pushed me to expand my understanding of how to leverage Twitter. Since that class, I now often reach out to other teachers asking for advice, to share curriculum, or follow conversations. I even sometimes join the conversations, but I have not actively contributed to a specific one. I also have been able to network with other teachers interested in using technology in my area through #CapitalAreaEdTech. I have begun to follow a number of accounts that share education related articles, blog posts, or tips. Having these resources have been invaluable to me in finding ways to improve my practice in my classroom.
As I began to reflect on my filter bubble, I start to look at my Twitter feed with a more critical eye. I realized I have done some diversifying in the views of what I follow, but not nearly enough. Very often the people I follow on Twitter are educators who I believe will push my thinking. However, I often see them as pushing my thinking in the direction I want to go. For instance Jose Vilson (@TheJLV) always pushes my thinking with his blog posts and writing about a whole range of issues: what it means to teach math to underserved students, what it looks like to be a teacher leader from the classroom, and how to be an advocate for your kids. Although he pushes my thinking, I definitely see him as a like minded educator, who values things similar to me.
In the spirit of diversifying my infodiet. I added a ton of new resources to my Twitter feed. I added these sources for a variety of reasons. Some have recently published articles about how technology is not the fix all we had hoped in education. For someone who has a very tech focused Twitter feed, this will be a big shift in perspectives being offered. Others (@GoogleForEdu, @geogebra, and @mathalicious) were added to help support the development of my wicked problem (how to keep formal education relevant). Ironically to my last point, our focus is how bring technology into a classroom can help keep formal education relevant. Finally others were added to help give me multiple views of issues facing teachers in Michigan (@MEAOnline & @mieducation). When I was looking for ways to add to my infodiet, I was shocked to see that I did not follow either my union or the Department of Education since they both have a direct impact on policies that affect my classroom.
My hope is through expanding my information diet, I will be able to now know more sides of an issue that what was currently being presented on my Twitter news feed. I would love to still add more to my Twitter feed, especially bloggers who present interesting perspectives on the issues facing teachers today.
Gee, James Paul (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York: Palgrave/Macmillan.
Nothing but… (n.d.). Retrieved August 5, 2015, from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gi/5497134432
Pariser, E (2011, May 2). Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles” [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=B8ofWFx525s