skaealex

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” – Bill Gates

CEP 812: From Junk Food to a Veggie Platter

on July 15, 2014

In the usual sense of the word, I consider myself a very healthy person – I am active, and I make smart decisions about the foods that I put into my body. When it comes to my “information diet”, however, I am admittedly not health-conscious. When browsing the web, my “meals” consist of junk: Facebook, Buzzfeed, and Twitter. While valuable information can be gained from some of these sites, I admit that I am looking for entertainment value, not for bettering myself as a person or as an educator.

In order to become more enlightened about the world of education, CEP 812 encouraged me to branch out to explore different sources of information that I normally wouldn’t gravitate toward. I chose Twitter as my “hub”, as CEP 810 sparked my interest in using this site as an educational source. In order to accomplish this task, I had to begin following some new people/organizations (because let’s face it, the Kardashians and Uncle Si aren’t really doing much to broaden my horizons). Here were my choices:

US Department of Education – Because I rarely agree with the ways in which the government handles educational issues, I tend to avoid paying much attention. I realize, though, that it is important as an educator to stay informed, even if I don’t agree with the government’s practices and policies. As Pariser (2011) warns in his TED talk found here, we have to be careful about which information we choose, and we have to make sure that we aren’t only choosing information that confirms our prior beliefs. Following the US Department of Education on Twitter will help me stay in tune with what is happening in education at the government level, which will in turn aid me in forming my opinions.

HuffPostEducation – The Huffington Post is a liberal news site, and because I tend to lean more toward the conservative side of the political spectrum, I felt like a liberal news resource would be a perfect addition to help diversify my information diet. The vast array of information tweeted by @HuffPostEducation keeps things interesting – articles range from the link between exercise and learning, to the effect of a mom’s education on her kids’ health, to what learning to write looks like in different countries throughout the world.

Edutopia – As stated above, due to the constant bad news in education, I tend to shy away. The profile for this Twitter site intrigued me, though – “Inspiration and information for what works in education.” @Edutopia posts articles that talk about successes that teachers are having in schools, which is a refreshing (and informative) change. Various educational resources are posted, as well as articles on more specific topics, like how to write a successful grant.

Another great feature of Twitter is that once I started following the above groups, new suggestions were made for me:

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 1.10.12 PM

My recommendations used to consist of reality TV stars and celebrities, so the above screenshot already depicts progress!

It excites me that I will easily and painlessly be able add nutrition to my information diet through Twitter. I am doing more than just broadening my horizons – I am challenging my thinking and subjecting myself to information with which I will not always agree. I am done with only wanting to be entertained; I am ready to engage in ideas that I will want to dispute. Sometimes these challenges may only make my convictions stronger, but at other times my own thinking will be altered. Bring on the veggie platter.

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 1.17.21 PM

References

Pariser, E. (2014, July 15). Beware online “filter bubbles”. [Video file]. Ted Talks. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

 

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