Media Literacy

Don't bring me your problemsClassic classroom content override. I have now watched all the videos by Miguel Carrasco. I’ll write another post about that but meanwhile there is this one which came about because Miguel Carrasco was showing us how to get ideas for content and then popped onto someone’s Facebook page and there was the quote: “Don’t bring me your problems . Bring me two solutions.” . I was listening to Miguel Carrasco talking but my mind had gone off on a tangent because of that quote. It made me think of how I operated in a classroom with technology. It was standard practice for me to say to students:

“If you are having trouble, tell me what you have tried to do yourself and if you are still stuck, I’ll try and help you…or we’ll all try and help you. Have a go yourself first with your ideas. ”

When it came to research on anything I’d come into class with 20 minutes of teaching on good and helpful sites to get them started and on the right track and then we had the open invitation that if you had a good site too , you’d let me know and I’d put that into the list of resources on the LMS. Team effort on good research but as the teacher I shone the light on the path. Students also got into the habit of messaging me on the LMS to send me links at any time so I could add to those shared resources. Parents could enter that research arena because we blogged a lot of what we were doing. Based on their knowledge and experience they could come in with other information and links. It was always growing and pointing us in the right direction for good learning and reliable information.

Image: dreamstime

I  appliinformation supported the classroom tenet to myself. There were occasionally days where I had to walk in and say:

“I have tried to find some good examples of …. and I have looked here and I have looked there and the best I can do is this…”

I would go through my information and then we’d spend 10-15 minutes to see what the students could come up with that was better and then put that on the shared resources. Students had input into worthwhile content and reliable resources.

We learned from each other.

Dana Boyd has written a long and interesting article Did Media Literacy Backfire? It is worth the read because it looks at how we are bombarded with information and misinformation and how we may be trying to deal with that. On any given day everything is coming at us: news, fake news, distractions, red herrings, information and misinformation. We have to stay in control of that and we have to teach others how to stay in control of that. So we need to be coming at it from a solutions point of view and not a problems one. If we see it all as a problem we’ll collapse under the weight of what is headed in our direction. We need to step back and have a plan of how we deal with this and , in my book, networking and team effort wins.

Coder blogs

I really like this video by Chris Hawkes. He is a competent , successful coder who has taken time out of his busy schedule to take us on a walk and discuss his ideas about what he thinks the fundamental issues are with regard to contemporary coding . We can walk with him and listen to him unfold his thinking. Coding requires a very disciplined mind and thinking but it also requires a capacity to keep up to date. Chris Hawkes puts forward a very strong case for coders to be able to be efficient and capable researchers who share and discuss their knowledge. We no longer have the answers, the way, the method, the procedure. We live in 2016. We can’t just use Google a quick solution to something. We can’t spend our time reinventing the wheel . We need to have people who know how to get quality information which will move  a project and thinking forward. People need skillsets and knowledge but they need to be able to quickly update their capacity to function now, today. Coders have communities to build their skills and knowledge. They learn to connect , share and problem solve. Nobody can know everything any more and one thing will suddenly become obsolete. Programmers need to be able to learn on their own and they need to now how to do quality research and find things out. They need to be interested, self directed and lifelong learners. Communities develop best practices and share their updated knowledge and tackle trouble shooting and problem solving . It takes teamwork to solve complex problems. Coders are sharing their knowledge in lots of ways. Huffington Post published 25 best coder blogs. Makeuseof has recommended 7 coder blogs for student programmers. One of my favourite coder blogs is codercoach because Kristi Pollard (Stanton), RHIT, CCS, CPC, CIRCC gives such a personal insight into coding , the life of a coder and issues with coding.

Do you know Quora?

quoraQuora is a crowd sourcing question-answer site. The world really is there to answer all your burning questions 24/7. You never ever have to live in ignorance. People who go on Quora can vote answers up or down. You can also start building a name for yourself and some status as an expert as you go along. Start with one or two topics and once you get the hang of it you can branch out. It is a site you need to know about because it is yet another social site for information. That is good and bad. It’s good if you are offering help and solutions. It is bad if someone is using that information to complete homework tasks or anything like that. Somehow , though, that kind of behaviour stands out on the Net and people can read something and just know it’s not genuine. That aside, Quora is a great site for sharing ideas and information and helping other people to get on the right track when they are stuck in their thinking or skills.

Is the future tactile?

It’s worth watching this video so you can fully appreciate and enjoy the comments beneath the clip. This has had over 6 million views on YouTube and the real world has automatically connected with the idea in a very practical way with suggestions which bring a smile to your face. So is the future tactile? Tangible Media at MIT believes so. This clip was made 2 years ago and there are no obvious applications of it which have become apparent. That might be because it is being used in medical or space technology where you would not necessarily know whether it is being used or not. I’m curious to know where the developments are now with tactile technology.

Curating is a vital skill

Curating is one of the important building blocks of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence. The software for these Livebindersareas is going to be as good as the curating and if you have watched the video about Watson , you will know that intelligent software needs intelligent curation. The outcomes will only be as good as the input and that means resources on the internet need to be of a very high quality and peer reviewed. Cognitive computing is used widely in medicine these days and artificial intelligence is being applied in educational contexts. Currently we do not have many sites where students can safely curate information. Paper.li is a well established, well respected one and students can curate in Evernote but it is not the same as the widely available information aggregation sites. Safety and suitablity are important in schools so we needs apps and online sites which teach curation but which are student friendly and child safe. My own favourite information aggregation sites are Flipboard , Zite and Diply. I collect suitable links on my blogs and like  places like del.ic.ious. Livebinders allows you to curate your own material and is education friendly and has education support. These sorts of sites need to be more available on the Net, more prominent in schools and come with a safety tick for education.You need to use information aggregators to understand how they work and then that will inform good choices when you do your own curation on a site.

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