No trans fats?
I’d like to think of myself as up-to-date on topical events; after all, I make a point to browse Fark and Reddit; I listen to CNN while working; and I take a look at ideas on Pinterest and blogs like 2 Writing Teachers for more ideas to incorporate into my classroom.
Yes, I recognize how sad this list truly is…
When I was asked to look at my affinity spaces, I realized that my resources truly do only support my own ideas and opinions. Gee mentions that affinity spaces are places where people join together over shared interests (Gee, 2013). When I’m looking for recommendations for new books to read, I check out the suggestions from collaborators at Dear Author; when I’m stuck at a part in the game Dragon Age: Inquisition, I’ll consult the forums at Steam or GameFAQs. For more topical interests, I browse Fark’s News and Entertainment sections, and I’m subscribed to several subreddits that deal with news and technology.
Since I draw on and contribute to my own infinity spaces, I am involved in what Jenkins describes as participatory culture (Jenkins, 2010). My problem is that because I am not actively broadening my understandings on topics that I disagree with, I’m limiting myself to my own currently-held ideas and beliefs with no room for growth. I’ve got to get out of my own “filter bubble” – which has been specifically tailored to me – if I want to become more well-rounded (Pariser, 2011).
So, where to start? To solve my malnutrition, I delved deeper into Twitter. First, I decided to – grudgingly – embrace being an adult and subscribe to @TIME. I’ve recognized that subscribing to aggregates like Fark and Reddit have given me blinders. It’s important to understand important issues that affect the United States nationally and internationally. As someone who loves to learn about history, it only makes sense that I keep tabs on current events that will be found in curricula in the future.
Speaking of curricula, I also subscribed to the U.S. Department of Education @usedgov, the Secretary of Education’s Twitter account @arnedunch, and Michigan Department of Education @mieducation . I enjoy searching for lessons, units, and other ideas on the internet, but it just makes sense that I should also be keeping tabs on two of the governmental agencies that determine precisely what I will be expected to teach!
Similarly, I also decided to follow the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics @NCTM . I have spent time searching resources to help me enhance my teaching of subjects I enjoy: Reading, writing, and social studies. Organizations such as Read.Write.Think, and blogs like 2 Writing Teachers and Nerdy Book Club have helped me develop lessons for the subjects I enjoy. Math has always been a difficult subject to wrap my head around. Following advice from mathematicians who have been studying the subject longer than I’ve been alive seems like a good place to start.
Like any kind of diet, it has been difficult to get started reading the plethora of links these various companies and organizations publish, tweet, or retweet. I have been making a concerted effort to check a few a day. Reading articles from @Time or @NCTM hasn’t been too difficult; surprisingly, articles that were most difficult to read have been from Michigan’s Department of Education, especially about our new standardized test M-STEP! Ultimately, however, I know that in the end that this information is “good for me”, so I’ll hold my nose; swallow it down; and keeping checking these resources until it becomes a habit!
Gee, J. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan Trade.
Image sourced from: https://flic.kr/p/ckGHPy
Jenkins, H. (2011, August 4). Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY
Pariser, Eli. (2011, March). Beware Online “Filter Bubbles”. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles?language=en#