Tag Archives: Ira Socol

Retweet or Share?

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Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook make sharing easy, much easier, in fact, than reading the full content or discovering the real source of the post.

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An algorithm, which you have no control over, determines what content reaches your eyes.

There is no human to complain to when that goes wrong.

Facebook makes money through likes and shares.  It wants you to be engaged and share what you see.  Critical thinking, truth, facts, none of these factor into the profit equation.

In what is now referred to the Post-truth era, it is disturbing to think about how much false content is circulated as fact.  Students struggle to determine the difference between truth and fiction.

As parents and educators, how are we modelling practices that promote facts and reliable sources over clickbait and sensationalism?

On social media, liking, sharing and retweeting  shows others the content that is meaningful to you.  It is a reflection of who you are, and what you believe in.

A decade ago, I used to retweet fairly indiscriminately.  If it looked like a good resource, I shared it.  Then, Ira Socol took the time to question my retweet.  I realized that retweeting is actually a form of curating.  If I want to create value online for others, I need to critically evaluate resources and ideas, and share them with descriptive comments.

What I choose to share reflects my professionalism.  What I choose to share is the value I am creating for others.  Before sharing, I carefully evaluate the source, and I often highlight (in my comments) the part I find most valuable.

Fortunately, I have a loud PLN that will quickly question almost anything I share openly.

Other curators help me sort through the unfathomable amount of information on the web.  Stephen Downes, Doug Belshaw, and Audrey Watters are examples of thought leaders who filter, curate and share information regularly.  I know that there will be value in their curations.

More importantly, what do we do when we encounter colleagues and friends sharing misleading information or sheer fiction as though it were factual? Do we just turn our heads the other way, or do we take the time, like Ira Socol did for me, and challenge the source or the thinking?

Barack Obama said that we can’t move democracy forward if we don’t have a common set of facts to refer to.  Now that we have seen the impact of the propaganda spread through social media, what will we do as educators to shut it down?

How do we ensure our students can critically evaluate information,  triangulate sources, and distinguish between belief and fact?

Featured Image by Wesley Fryer CC-BY-2.0

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It IS About the Tools

How will, and how do, our students navigate an exponentially changing world?

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How do they manage workflow, information, projects?  How do they know which type of social media best suits their message or their purpose?

How do they know where to find out about job openings, certification opportunities, concerts?

Managing our lives personally and professionally in 2016 requires knowledge of the tools available to us, and the ability to think critically about how to use those tools to best manage ubiquitous information.

Ira Socol has written extensively about this.  Toolbelt Theory is very clearly explained here in an easy read that is well worth your time.

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Last week, I had lunch with some of my colleagues who are also knitters.  What did we talk about? First, “What are you making?’, and then, “What is that you are working with?”.

For example, as I learn to knit wool socks for my granddaughter’s rapidly growing little feet, I need different tools from my other projects.  If I want a sock that fits (task), I need to determine how I will try it on her, and when I will work on it (environment), how much I need to learn about this (skills) and then what TOOLS I need to accomplish the task.

knitting socks

 

Little Chloé lives far from me, so I need to carry an outline of her foot with key foot and ankle measurements, enough pure washable wool for the project, tiny dp needles, and my ipad for the video of how to knit custom toe-up socks (skills).  These tools allow me to complete the project.

If I am knitting thrummed wool mittens, I need different tools.

knitting mitts

Because I fly every week (environment), I can’t use scissors or a knife to cut thrums (airport security will take them) so I make sure I have something like nail clippers to cut the 3.5 inch thrums, stitch holders for the thumb work, several dp needles of different sizes a needle size template so that I don’t choose the wrong needles while working, and a pattern book because I have not internalized how the pattern works yet (skills).

If I am missing any of these tools, I cannot complete the task.

Knowing which tools to choose, based on what the task is, where I am working, and the skill level I have for that project, will allow me to complete the task.

Similarly, I am always rethinking how I manage personal and professional information, and how I share back with my colleagues.

What tool do I use to gather information quickly?

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What tool to I use to organize ideas?  More recently, I have been using Google Keep for quick links and for short notes.Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 7.11.05 AM

I tend to put my learning notes in “Notes”, and both tools migrate seamlessly across all of my devices.

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How do I communicate over distances? I use Google Hangout with colleagues 24/7.  I just finished Facetiming with my daughter and granddaughter.  Yesterday I Skyped with a colleague in Arizona. And each week, I have a number of scheduled  phone calls and teleconferences.

I have many tools for many purposes available at my disposal. Choosing the right tool for the task (conversation, share documents, visuals, collaborate), given the environment (office, home, driving, airport, cab) and the skills (are colleagues familiar with collaborative documents or Skype?) is a decision I have to make many times every day.

In 2016,  our students need to develop the ability to critically analyze a task, and to choose the tools that are best for them in that situation. This isn’t about “offering choice”, it’s about applying critical thinking skills to the completion of a task.

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to spend time with my Early Years colleagues, and as we talked about the work they are doing around “How Does Learning Happen?”, they expressed their own interpretation of Toolbelt Theory as it applies to young learners.

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They asked me why we thought that it was okay to tell older students that they were to do this task on this computer, using this program, at this time.  How did this way of thinking respect individual abilities?  How did this type of task allow students to demonstrate their learning in the best way they knew how?

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As we consider TELT (Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching), how are we ensuring that students are becoming competent in the key digital literacy of understanding tools, and choosing the tool that is most appropriate for them to complete the task?

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Resources:

Toolbelt Theory – Ira David Socol

How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years

Question Everything

In my last posting, I stated a few of the findings in the Hole in the Wall experiments.  The last was that schools need to include a rational system to know what to believe in.

Tonight I read a post by Ira Socol called “Question Everything” that really helps me with my thinking on this one.

In particular, I love this section that so clearly demonstrates the cycle of memorizers getting good grades and becoming teachers:

The teachers can almost always rattle off what is wrong with this projection, including the innate cultural bias attached – the diminuation of the southern hemisphere (Greenland, 1/14th the size of Africa, appears larger than that continent), the Americentric splitting of Asia, et al – but if I ask why this map is important, where it would be valuable, those same educators often freeze.

but will this map help you get home?
 

They know what they’ve “learned” (memorized) about the Mercator Projection, but as generations of U.S. educators never questioned the map which unrolled over the chalkboard, our educators today fail to question the shortcomings of the new maps.

So whether it is homework or due dates, school bells or school desks, or any of the “facts” we tend to put before students. You, them, we all, should be doubting everything, questioning everything.

That process not only builds a real kind of learning unavailable through memorization, it will create a next generation unwilling to accept the mistakes of the past and present.

And to me, that’s what education is about.

– Ira Socol

And maybe then we will be educating citizens who think like scientists, and we won’t need videos like this on climate change: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change.html