Watching my Infodiet

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This week I had the opportunity to go on vacation with my wife. We traveled to South Carolina and spent the week on the beach soaking up the sun. When I am on vacation I like to unplug from checking social media or emails. Though I was on vacation, I still had to do work for CEP 812 and this week’s assignment just happened to be about our infodiet. An infodiet is the information that you spend time consuming. I get most of my information from Twitter, Facebook, and emails. Since I was on vacation I spent a lot less time consuming information. This gave me the opportunity to read for CEP 812 and reflect on the information I choose to consume on a regular basis.

In CEP 812 I learned from Eli Pariser that we are all in a filter bubble. A filter bubble is created by the internet, algorithms, and unexpectedly ourselves. Organizations use algorithms to determine what information they should put in front of us based on what we have looked at before. Apps like Pandora use algorithms to determine what songs to play next on a playlist. We can then like or dislike the song and the algorithm takes note of this. Pariser shares in his Ted Talk how he noticed he was in a filter bubble when Facebook stopped showing certain posts on his newsfeed. After watching Pariser’s talk, I decided to look into my own infodiet and see how my filter bubble was keeping certain information away from me.

I looked at my Twitter account to check my infodiet. I use Twitter for professional and personal reasons. I follow my favorite sports teams, athletes, and news organizations. I also follow other teachers and education organizations that I get ideas from. I noticed that most of the educational accounts I follow are ones who tweet out things that are happening in their classrooms and what interesting things they have read. I am a kindergarten teacher, so I follow other kindergarten teachers who talk about how technology can be utilized with students. Below is a screen shot of my TweetDeck. I use TweetDeck to follow multiple Twitter feeds at once. I use hashtags to show content for the information I am interested in. I follow #kinderchat, #edtechchat, and #sschat.

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As I looked more into my Twitter account and the information I seek out, I realized that a majority of information is geared towards technology and education. I had made a conscious choice to follow certain people and organizations to give me information that matches my interests. Pariser talks about how there needs to be a balance in our infodiets. He suggests that we sort our information by relevant, important, uncomfortable, challenging, and other points of view. If I compared my infodiet to the food pyramid, then I was only consuming sweets – all the things I wanted and not the things I needed. I was stuck in what James Paul Gee called “confirmation bias”(Gee, 2013, p. 2).

Next year I will be making the jump from teaching kindergarten to middle school. With this jump I will need to access new information that I will use with my middle school students that I may not have been able to use with my kindergarten students. I decided to use a #tagboard to expand my infodiet and follow other hashtags to gain insight into sources that are relevant, informational, uncomfortable, challenging, and from other points of view. Some hashtags that I have decided to follow are #worldnews, #mschat, #writing, #tlap, and #mindshift. Below you will see my #tagboard. Here is a link for my live #tagboard that I will continue to expand on. I have learned from Gee and Pariser that with the abundance of information available to me I need to be conscientious that my filter bubble is not keeping vital information away from me. I will continue to monitor my filter bubble and update my infodiet to make sure I am not only consuming the sweets.

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Resources:

Berger, W. (2014). A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing

Gee, J. P. (2013). The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning.

Pariser, E. (2011, March). Beware online “filter bubbles”. Retrieved on May 29, 2018 from https://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en

 

1 Response

  1. Hi Zach,

    How ironic that you were trying to get away from all of this media and our focus in CEP 812 this week is about our infodiets. I suppose it’s harder to escape than we think! I hope you and your wife had a nice vacation.

    Jumping from Kindergarten to middle school will be quite the change, wow! Have you ever taught anything other than Kindergarten before? I think you’ll be surprised with how many of your current organizational tools and classroom management strategies you’ll be able to use in your middle school classroom.

    I think you went in the right direction with some of the new hashtags on your tagboard. Keeping up with current world events will be so important while teaching your middle schoolers. They have a deeper world view than Kindergarten students, and this allows for more meaningful current event conversations. Do you think middle schoolers are too young to create their own twitter accounts at school for educational purposes? I wonder if that could help keep them connected to the outside world while still leaving room for some interest based learning.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Kat

    Like

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