Here'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
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?
A step-by-step description of how a team of teachers used a G+ Hangout to manage their PLC sessions. It includes details about managing the Hangout, using it to analyze student work, and building meaningful collegial relationships. It’s a very helpful post for anyone looking for practical information on using G+ Hangouts.
Data comparing key metrics from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Digging beneath the number of accounts to data on activity and sharing. Some fuel for the debate: Google Plus – “It’s Really Popular Vs It’s A Ghost Town.”
When’s the last time you checked your G+?
Test prep courses, admissions coaches, private tutors. … So what I saw around me were great kids who had been trained to be world-class hoop jumpers. …They were, as one of them put it herself, “excellent sheep.”
We have a crisis of leadership in America because our overwhelming power and wealth, earned under earlier generations of leaders, made us complacent, and for too long we have been training leaders who only know how to keep the routine going. Who can answer questions, but don’t know how to ask them. Who can fulfill goals, but don’t know how to set them. Who think about how to get things done, but not whether they’re worth doing in the first place.
A how to for growing an audience for your thinking and my response to the question “If you could use only one method to market yourself online, what would do?”
It begins with freely sharing quality content. I use the Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 license. Use it, share it, remix it. Just tell people where you got it, and don’t try and sell it. Remember, as the price of commodity drops, consumption increases. I include tips for using URL shorteners, hashtags and blog comments to drive traffic back to your site.
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.
When it came to time to study the debate over the ratification of the constitution, my students didn’t have to ask the question – “why do we need to study this?” They realized that they were looking at “Round 1″ of an ongoing debate over how strong the central government should be.
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.
The traditional approach to instruction is failing our students. Here’s activities and sample projects to illustrate five reasons to “like” project-based learning. The post includes links to PBL resources, videos and more.