This week in ed tech our teachers issued the class an information race! We were instructed to pair up, one person was to be on the computer imputing the information, while the other held a research position. We raced through answering the questions, not once stopping to second guess the material we were breezing through. We visited various sites that unbeknownst to us were feeding us false information; we in turn added to the life of this purported information. It was a real eye-opener when our teacher walked us back through the information that we had provided, detailing how ludicrous some of it was. Keep in mind we are college students. The point of this valuable exercise was to really exemplify how easy it is to get duped on the internet. We all know that there is a ton of information out there, much of which is well researched and valuable, and a great deal of which is not!
Each of the above websites contain some questionable information and even downright ridiculous information but all three serve to reinforce that one does need to critically think about each and every piece of information they receive, but perhaps more critically, the information they send. To be honest I felt foolish, and a bit silly but the haste of the exercise had me throw aside my otherwise dubious self, and just race.
Often when I think of technology my first concern is the inability to provide quality resources without all the sifting, and distractions. This exercise really brought to light exactly why it is so important to think about information and its purpose: who is providing the information, why have they put this information here, how can I check this information for accuracy…. and the endless line of questions that can come from a serious consideration of technology.
When applied to education it becomes even more imperative that we begin to address the problem of the internet. We need to begin to really be able to define what it means to be a digital citizen. It is also necessary to be able to provide our students with the tools to see the motive behind the things they are looking at.
Last week we talked about create vs. consume, and how those applications can apply to learning. This week our focus is true or false, and why we need to provide opportunities for students to see past the photo-shopped picture, or the hidden agenda. A teacher may respond that they cannot possibly take on another burden. I propose, however, that we re-brand the responsibility of digital citizenship and instead think of it as an opportunity to provide the best quality education possible. To contribute to a student becoming a responsible and shrewd adult who knows how to get to the gems of knowledge that will help them on their way. Otherwise you may get a room of college students duped into thinking exposure to dihydrogen monoxide is lethal 🙂