October 25, 2010

Using PLE/Ns Effectively

Posted in PLENK2010 at 11:54 am by kristibroom

Last week I tried to use a new technology, and gave up. This week, I followed through. Here’s a link to my very first cartoon strip: http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/Comix/?comix_id=20777432c328993 and an image of it:

I’m struck this week by the conversations on digital literacy, and the grim statistics about those who are literate. I have been reflecting on the question “so what do we do about it?” What does this mean for my kids? What does this mean for the audiences whose learning my department influences? What does this mean for me? If we are illiterate, how do we “fix” it?

And then I made a connection…literacy isn’t a linear process with a start and an end. It’s about practice and refinement and continuous learning. And the skills I’m learning through this MOOC and through my PLE/N are the skills needed to move toward digital literacy. It’s about filtering. It’s about critical thinking. It’s about focus and clustering and contributing and trusting.

From the readings this week, Robin Good and Howard Rheingold suggest that a new skill in information management includes critical thinking about and validation of content sources. Good suggests the following questions to his 10-year old daughter:

Who is the author?

What do others say about the author?

What are the author’s sources?

Can any truth claims be tested independently?

What sources does the author cite, and what do others say about those sources?

So if those questions help with critical thinking, it seems that filtering becomes even more important, because now, rather than simply reading, time is spent in validation, in reflection, in questioning.

George wrote a short post this morning about information management, suggesting that it is the most critical skill on which all others depend. A quote from Wednesday’s session resonated with me, and I think applies as well. Clay Shirky said “There is no such thing as information overload, there’s only filter failure.” Through participation in this course, we are taught…forced…to manage our information and to filter. It seems that we are taking very useful steps toward digital literacy.

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