Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Keeping up with the information flow

I only have about 15 blogs on my bloglines account and of those I probably only read 6 or seven almost every day. Today I was reading Remote Access, one of my regular reads and as always I found myself both encouraged and challenged. Clarence writes aMini-Manifesto for the Web 2.0 Classroom which I think I want to adopt as a kind of mission statement. In the manifesto one thing he says….

“The Gatekeepers are Gone
Giving kids textbooks that are ten years out of date is not only wrong, but it is bordering on negligent. Students can access information online that is racist, hurtful, or perfectly false. They also have the opportunity to post information online and gain an international audience. As one of the grade seven girls in my class told me last year, “you don’t have to be a rich old guy from New York anymore.”

I think he is right on the point but it also raises an issue that has been bothering me. Many people are writing in one form or another that we need to teach the kids to deal with large quantities of information. I agree that this is an essential literacy skill however I am at a loss as to how we do this. I am struggling myself and constantly feel that I am on information overload and that I will never keep up.

Any ideas about how we are going to master and teach this skill? If I am overloaded my teachers are feeling even more so because most are not naturally inclined to the technological world. This issue has been troubling me for a while because it is a skill I also need to teach my staff to help them manage the rapidly changing landscape of education.

Jeff’s recent article in the Techlearning Blog on the stages of the digital immigrant is another important reflection for on going professional development. It helps us identify where we are and where we need to be…. I have left both Clarence’s article and Jeff’s for the faculty meeting today. I will not be there so I will be very interested in hearing about the ensuing discussion.


Art Gelwicks said...

Students need to learn to say "no" to irrelevant information. The key skill of being able to rapidly assess and dismiss unnecessary information without guilt or concern makes the issue of information overload much, much smaller. I have over fifty RSS feeds I deal with on a daily basis so sorting the wheat from the chaff has made all the difference in the world. Teach a student this and they'll swim like fish. Fail and they'll drown.

Clarence Fisher said...

100% agree. A vital skill for our time which kids ar enot getting in many classrooms because they do not use authentic information sources on a constant basis. If we spoon feed them constantly from textbooks, they will be simply overwhelmed dealing with reality.