Becoming Smarter

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PART ONE: 7/15/13

Today’s team-teach readings by Katie Davis and Dan Priest was nothing less than an eye opening experience.

During their team teaching Katie and Dan touched upon Internet influences.  We as Internet consumers have a routine of websites that we check everyday to gather information.  When I first heard this assignment, I knew that I was doomed.  I looked over at my neighbors and everyone was posting intelligence blogs and newspapers– thought provoking stuff to say the least.  When it came time for me to sit down and come up with mine, I was stunned and slightly embarrassed with what I came up with.

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My top websites to gather information from were Reddit, Pinterest, Facebook, TeachersPayTeachers, MyFitnessPal and by a stretch NCTM.  I am literally only reading social media and collaborative message board.  I’m not reading news or by society’s standards “intelligent.”  Sure I am gathering great information from MyFitnessPal as far as diet and fitness is concerned, but certainly nothing earth shattering.  Reddit can provide interesting perspectives, but ones that can really warp my view.

What do I think this says about me as a teacher?  Well what happens if one of my students asks me about a worldly topic, will I know the answer?  What happens if something connected to my content area and I completely miss it?  What if I need to provide an unbiased opinion on a topic in the news?  What if I need to diffuse a topic in the news?  What if I really need to address it?

So I decided that I needed to change, and quick.  I knew I didn’t want to subscribe to the New York Times, one because it costs money and two, it feels too much above my head.  I wanted somewhere to find concise information that was relevant and newsworthy.  I didn’t need the celebrity gossip—I already knew how to access that.

So I stumbled on the Skimm, a free email subscription website where you receive and email a day with enough information from the headlines to be able to talk about the topic amongst avid newsreaders.  From the one email that I read from yesterday, I now feel like I fully understand the Zimmerman trial.  Also, the Skimm provided hyperlinks within their email that lead me to reliable new sources such as the Washington Post if I wanted more information.

My experiment begins now and I’m interested in where the information will take me.  I’m going to wait the next two or three days and repost later on what I have learned from this experience.

PART TWO:

So I been receiving emails for the past three days and I can honestly say that I haven’t seen a huge change, but a spark.  When we were in class the other day my colleague Dan Priest laughed about something he read online and I asked.  He said that J.K. Rowling had written a book and it bombed as far as book sales went because it was under a pseudonym.  I knew immediately of the book and that it now has skyrocketed on the book charts because everyone knows that she wrote it.

Baby steps, but I am certainly on my way.

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