A Two or Three Step Process

I’ve always been a reader.

With edTech, it’s a losing battle.  You can read all you want and still not stay on top of things but reading gives me the illusion that at least I’m trying.  Those that know me know that I was in early to work and, if you happened to drop in, you’d find me reading away.  My morning routine these days is similar only time shifted a bit.  I try to be up and reading by 5.  The dog’s asleep still so I don’t have to deal with the “walk-me” eyes.  Ditto for the rest of the household.

So, I’ll put on a pot of coffee and head to the rec room where I’ll turn on the morning news – I end up flipping between three news channels as background information and an occasional distraction, open Hootsuite to see what my learned colleagues are sharing and I open Flipboard to do my morning reading.  I have a few things that fall into place when I find a story of interest – I’ll share it to Twitter in case anyone else is interested.  Then, automatically it gets tucked away in my Diigo account for later retrieval.  I’ve mentioned before that my default search engine is Diigo so that my first results are stories and learnings that I’ve already previewed.  It’s a routine that works very well for me.  There are a bunch of other things that fall from this like RebelMouse, Facebook, OTR Links, etc.

But it all starts from reading a single story.

The other day I stopped to think about this.  From my personal, selfish perspective, it just works.  It’s the sharing part on Twitter that made me think.

Most of the stories that I share come from blogs, research reports, technical tips, or news reports where I don’t worry much about the truthfulness of the article.  Blogs are personal pieces and anyone with a keyboard does (and should) share their perspectives.  The others, by their nature, are pretty much validated.  And, after all, in terms of digital literacy, don’t we preach over and over again to students that they need to verify their sources?

So, I’m reading along and I read this wonderful story about a boy who couldn’t afford books.  I was intrigued and the educator in me just loved it.  The believer in a better world said that we need more stories like this.  Teachers, students, and society all need to read and learn from this.  I was just about to share it when I thought “How do I know this is true?”  Do I want to be responsible for sharing misinformation.  I put on the brakes.

And yet, it was too good a story not to share.  I dropped my reading to see if I could prove or disprove the truth in the story.

My search led me to this Huffington Post article on the topic.  “Boy Who Couldn’t Afford Books Asks Mailman For Junk Mail To Read; Mailman Responds Spectacularly“.  The story is fleshed out in detail and includes an embedded television news report.

Now, I’m feeling better and better about the story.  It’s still a wonderful story but I now have a reasonable assurance that it’s true.

So, I send the link out in a Twitter message.

My original message was retweeted and favourited a few times and I see that others have shared the story as well.  The world loves a heartwarming story.

This is a story that deserves a place in the classroom for the fall.  I think back to advice from my parents about eating vegetables because there are other kids that can’t afford to eat vegetables….

People read and share constantly.  For that, I think we’re all so thankful.  But, I wonder about the end use of the stories.  For the most part, I think that if you follow quality learners, you’re going to have access to quality resources.  And yet, I think we need to question when we hear someone who indicated that they “read it on the internet”.  Have they taken those second or third steps to make sure that it’s truthful?

2 thoughts on “A Two or Three Step Process

  1. Slam-dunk here, my friend. I really think that one of the key skills we can teach our students is “crap detection”. How do we figure out if an article/picture/video is true? A friend, who is a TL in my board did an amazing mini-unit this year with her Grade 5’s, looking at a popular YouTube video about multiple lightning strikes in one spot. It was fascinating to see them using their critical thinking skills. It,s the same set of skills used when looking “inside” a Wikipedia article, to see if it’s well-sourced.

    Thanks for terrific modelling here. We need to model this in our classrooms.

    Like

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