This is a clip Bud Hunt posted in our PLP Ning. Clay Shirky talks about information filtering and information overload at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York last week. I have shared my thoughts on information filtering below. How do our students learn about this, and from whom?
I believe information filtering is shaped by our age, the era in which we grew up, and how extensively we use social networks. When I publish online I always think about the audience, what I say, how it may be interpreted, but I also grew up in a different time, when my social networking centered on being on the phone as much as possible, meeting friends at someone’s house to connect and talk. When I started participating in online communities I had a lifetime of offline experience to draw from, social face to face situations that shaped how I interact with others. I don’t think it is the same as growing up in a digital social atmosphere, as my own children have, and the students we teach from now on will.
We have chosen how we want to live our lives, what is public and what is private, and we made those decisions based upon our prior knowledge, our face to face experiences in the absence of digital social networks. Our students, my own children, live in another time, they have grown up with other choices, digital gathering places to meet people, talk to one another and connect.
Students are coming to us with no knowledge of filters, yet they have My Space and Facebook accounts, they are interacting in those social networks, in many cases with no models. They have no one to speak to them about digital footprints, what that means, terms of us, who owns the content they post, and how it can be used, how long it is accessible, or what the consequences are, in some cases, when they hit the submit button.
I believe it is my responsibility as an educator to participate in these social networks to be a model, to understand how they work, which will enable me to speak to the success and challenges of these tools with students and adults I come in contact with. Social networking, being part of online communities has changed the way I learn, the way I think, the way I look at everything. I have learned how to navigate these social spaces through those who I have met who have been doing this much longer than I have, they are my models, and they are my teachers. I believe we have to be the models for our students and understand the nuances of living life online in order to help them with what lies ahead in their future. We have to speak from a place of knowledge, how do we expect our school boards, state departments of education, parents and community members to feel comfortable when we recommend creating online spaces for students to work and publish in if we ourselves don’t understand all the implications.