Monday, August 20, 2012

Retweet! Not Reteach!

For quite a while now, I've believed that the skill of sorting and using information is of far greater importance than merely acquiring the information covered in the school curriculum. Therefore it behooves us to design learning experiences that require students to do that as we move through the curricula.

Today, students are accessing more information than ever via social networks. Unfortunately, young people are often abandoned to learn on their own and much of what they learn is just plain incorrect. Schools must teach skills and habits for students to not always believe what they read in the Twitter stream and to seek out the truth.

My latest presentation exhorts librarians to take the lead in teaching the habits and skills. Using current examples, including the Gabby Douglas hair controversy and the Apple asymmetrical screw hoax, I demonstrate how fake stories are quickly generated, spread and believed by millions of people. In my opinion, the detective work in getting to the bottom of these stories is downright fun!

Much of the material here is owed to Howard Rheingold and his amazing book Net Smart, which is currently serving as my reference Bible for planning my teaching. I welcome comments and requests for further explanation on any slide. Not all of the meaning is expressed, as much of it was spoken in my talk last week.