Reflections from EdubloggerCon 2010

Edublog I am still trying to get my head wrapped around the amazing and thought-provoking conversations from "Edubloggercon" fondly known as the un-conference. It's a day where passionate educators, who love learning, technology, and being challenged gather in small groups to address the questions and issues that keep us all moving forward.

The morning began with a conversation around one of my favorite hot topics: critical reading and thinking; specifically centering around what  Howard Rheingold refers to as "Crap Detection 101".

Colette did a wonderful job of facilitating  the conversation around the following questions:

  • How do we make sense of information we are surrounded by?
  • How do we determine importance, organize, and share it with one another in meaningful ways?
  • How do we teach kids to do the same? What are the most essential lessons to teach?
  • how we help students and one another wade through the volumes of information in effective, efficient, and meaningful ways. It's a topic I feel have strong feelings about. 

I made the point that we can and must be considering these questions in every classroom and at every grade level; with and without technology present. Believing that critical thinking is a way of thinking, a habit of both mind and behavior not a curriculum unit with a set of masterful skills, I added my two cents saying:

"Great readers ALWAYS read with the writer in mind & great writers ALWAYS write with/the reader in mind! 

Do we model that? If not, we can change that without fancy tools or complicated curriculum.  Add to the reading/writing conversations the following questions, and see what happens!

When we interact with another's message-ALWAYS wonder…

  1. What is being said?
  2. Who is sharing the message?
  3. Why is it worthy of my attention? (Does it fit my purpose as a reader, viewer, listener?

The dialogue was powerful with wise words from:

  • David Warlick: "Teachers need to say, "according to this source, they say this" on a daily basis. Sources of Authority such as textbooks are often not accurate, and teachers need to point this out!
  • Judy O'Connell: Teaching research should also involve giving students experiences where they are immersed in investigation.
  • Joyce Valenza suggested "Mashpedia" as a starting place for research.

Edina did a GREAT job of summarizing the conversation and the resources here.

And what I really love, is that it was only the beginning. Inspiring posts like Ed Tech Steve's. On his blog he reflects:

I feel the whole issue revolves around trust. My question is – at what point do we begin to trust a source? And if we trust the source, do we need to constantly question it? Or do the questions change? By trust I mean not that the source is "correct" or factual necessarily- by trust I mean I consistently find value in that source's information, whether it's a person, a site, a newspaper, a chat- trust lies in the value it brings to me, not it's correctness or even if it agrees with my own views.

He goes on to offer even more advice for us our personal and professional "crap detection" process. What matters most:

  • Authenticity. I don't like fake people or those that put on different shows for different people. If they are telling people what they want to hear and changing their story for different audiences, I've got no faith in them
  • Connected to classroom realities. This is important to me. I want sources that have walked the walk and haven't forgotten what it's like to try to affect change at the local level
  • Practical. I enjoy real, grounded ideas and thoughts. Something that can be used. I don't like those that get hung up on semantics. Yes, words are important, but action is more important than debate. There is a place for the more theoretical aspects, but their point should be to inform action. Those that argue/debate just for the sake of doing so are not advancing the cause.

How do you address this topic in your learning? In your school or classroom? Have you had the conversation yet?

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