Boston Bombings: Close Reading A Media Frenzy

» 26 April 2013 » In Commentary, Literacy, Social Web, Strategies » No Comments

Suspects Together- High ResHere's a suggestion for high school teachers. Postpone a lesson you had planned for next week and use the time to explore the cacophonous infosphere spawned by the apprehension of the suspects in the Boston bombings. If that media circus tells us anything, it's that we need a lesson in digital hygiene and responsible use.

It's also a good chance for students to hone their close reading skills. The events should be fresh in everyone's mind. Ask students to reflect back on network news and social media coverage of the manhunt using these three critical thinking prompts:

  • What did it say?
  • How did it say it?
  • What's it mean to me?

To kick off the discussion, you might ask students to read James Gleick's powerful New York Magazine piece “Total Noise,” Only Louder. He observes:

The Boston bombings, shootings, car chase, and manhunt found the ecosystem of information in a strange and unstable state: Twitter on the rise, cable TV in disarray, Internet vigilantes bleeding into the FBI’s staggeringly complex (and triumphant) crash program of forensic video analysis. If there ever was a dividing line between cyberspace and what we used to call the “real world,” it vanished last week. … We need to get smarter about the vectors of time and information flow. … It starts to feel as though we’re Pavlov’s dogs—subjects in a vast experiment in operant conditioning. The craving for information leads to behaviors that are alternately rewarded and punished. If instantaneity is what we want, television cannot compete with cyberspace. Nor does the hive mind wait for officialdom. While the FBI watched and tagged and coded thousands of images from surveillance cameras and cell phones, users on Reddit and 4chan went to work, too, marking up photos with yellow arrows and red circles: “1: ALONE 2: BROWN 3: Black backpack 4: Not watching.” Virtually everything these sleuths discovered was wrong. Their best customer was the New York Post, which fronted a giant photo of two “Bag Men”—who, of course, turned out to be a high-school kid and his friend, guilty of nothing but brown skin. If the watchword Wednesday was crowd-source, by Thursday it was witchhunt. Total Noise.

If anyone asks you why you're deviating from your lesson plans, tell them you're getting a head start on Common Core Standards such as:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.8 Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, including the validity of the reasoning as well as the relevance and sufficiency of the evidence.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

Image source / FBI

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#Watertown #MITShooting: Unfiltered News vs Speculation

» 19 April 2013 » In Commentary, Social Web, Visualizations » No Comments

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This morning, Twitter broke the story of the events in Watertown MA. Following the hashtags #Watertown and #MITShooting, I selected a few of the early tweets for a Storify. Twitter scooped the major news organizations, but are we ready to curate our own news?

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Curating the Backchannel at the 3rd edcampPDX

» 04 February 2012 » In Events, PD, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » No Comments

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The 3rd edcampPDX is being held Feb 4, 2012 at Catlin Gabel School in Portland Oregon. This Storify serves as a permanent archive of the event’s social media backchannel. I’m following the hashtag #edcampPDX.
An edcamp is a unconference-style day of professional development organized and given by the local participants. It’s free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. Great teachers, interesting conversations and an excellent chance to network.

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Join Portland Educators at edCampPDX – February 4, 2012

» 19 January 2012 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

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Calling all educators from the Pacific NW. Join us in Portland on February 4, for the third edcampPDX – free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. As one participant from a past edcamp tweeted “#EdcampPDX what an incredible day! I’m ready for September.”

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Following the Backchannel at the 2nd edcampPDX

» 11 November 2011 » In Events, PD, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » No Comments

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An edcamp is a unconference-style day of professional development organized and given by the local participants. The 2nd edcampPDX was held 11/11/11 at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory in Portland Oregon. This Storify serves as a permanent archive of the event’s social media backchannel. I’m following the hashtag #edcampPDX.

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edcampPDX 2 – Educators’ Unconference – Portland, Oregon

» 21 October 2011 » In Events, PD, Teachers » No Comments

edcampPDX-featured

Calling all educators from the Pacific NW. Join us in Portland on Nov 11th, for the second edcampPDX – free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. As one participant from the August edcamp tweeted “#EdcampPDX what an incredible day! I’m ready for September.”

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Following the Backchannel at edcampPDX

» 18 August 2011 » In Events, Social Web, Teachers, Visualizations » 1 Comment

edcampPDX

edcampPDX is free, democratic, participant-driven professional development. It’s an unconference built on collaboration and dialogue, not keynotes. I’m at the edcamp and documenting the event via the hashtag #edcampPDX. This Storify will remain as an artifact long after the tweetstream moves on.

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Following the Backchannel at COSA 11

» 04 August 2011 » In Events, Visualizations » No Comments

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Here’s your backchannel resource to the 2011 ODE / COSA Summer Assessment Institute in Eugene Oregon. August 3-5, 2011. It features both Wiffiti visualizer and Storify social web curating tool.

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Following the Backchannel at Microsoft Innovative Education Forum

» 28 July 2011 » In Events, Social Web, Visualizations » No Comments

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I’m a guest blogger attending the 2011 Partners in Learning U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF) on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA. Here’s some of the Twitter stream following our #MSFTPIL hashtag. As one attendee tweeted, ” it’s like international speed dating for innovative education practices.”

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Curating the Social Web at TEDxPortland – PM Edition

» 30 April 2011 » In Events, Social Web, Visualizations » No Comments

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PM Edition – I’m attending the April 30 TEDxPortland. I’ll be curating the best of social media feed without the RTs, hype and chatter. I’m following the hashtag #XRD on Twitter, FaceBook, and Flickr. So don’t forget to tag! Newest tweets will be at the top of the page – older below. Check back for updates.

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