Life has been a bit hectic lately (more on that at the bottom of this post), but I wanted to share a project I’ve been developing. Ever since the election, I’ve felt like society (or maybe it’s just me) is having an identity crisis. Politics is more polarizing with the prevalence of a “party before country” team mentality, and there’s trouble finding common ground on everyday truths. All that to say, I’ve felt compelled to pursue developing professional development that tackles these issues. I want to engage instructors in studying Information Literacy and the critical thinking skills that help us navigate this world so these teachers can, in turn, explore these skills with their students and prepare them for life.

Engaging Students In Information Literacy

Over the last few months I’ve been planning and putting together the resources for this learning community to explore fake news, social media, data privacy, and more. houses the curriculum of this learning community I’ll be hosting at the University of Oklahoma in the next couple weeks.

Here’s an excerpt from some of the promotional materials for this professional development:

Fake news, social media, and data privacy are just a few of the topics we’ll explore in this Learning Community. Join us as we identify fake websites and social media bots, study fact-checking strategies, and discuss surveillance practices and the platforms we use to access and share information. Together, we’ll pursue how to train ourselves to tackle these challenges and, just as importantly, how do we prepare our students to navigate this world?

As we tackle these challenges, we’ll examine practical approaches to diagnosing information and discussing the best practices to empower our students to think critically about the web and develop the skills needed to resolve the truth. No prior knowledge is required to participate. 

Building This Curriculum

The materials that make up this program started with Mike Caulfield’s Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers textbook and quickly expanded to include content from many phenomenal folks. Data4Democracy, Kris Shaffer, and Bill Fitzgerald are accounted for as they dive into Adtech. There are some critical reflective posts from Maha Bali, Chris Gilliard, and Amy Collier (just to name a few). I’ve assembled practical tools, video guides, podcasts, and relevant curriculums across media, web, and digital literacies. There’s even a few political scientists and journalists in the mix! And more is being added everyday. What started as research in EduFeeds is ongoing as I gather more materials from people through my Twitter networks and across the web:

I’m getting increasing excited by the resources I’ve collected thus far for this program. There will be many opportunities to kickstart discussion and reflection each week. 🙂

One vision I have for this learning community is for participants to make recommendations of what content should be taught to students and what changes they’re considering making to their courses. To use this as a reflection opportunity and collect such rich responses, I’m using a Google Forms plugin that makes the frontend of the Google Form look indistinguishable from a website form, but all the information will be gathered into  a Google Sheet. Meaning those responses can be readily shared or remixed into various forms for the benefit of other instructors. Imagine being able to hand a list of recommendations from a group of instructors about how they tackle fake news, fact-checking, or data privacy (etc.) in their classrooms!

Personal Message

Hello internet. I know it’s been a while since my last post. That was not my intention. I had plans to do some writing over the holiday break but I ended up getting pretty sick, having an adverse reaction to medicine, and being out of commission for a while. Having to take off time from work at the beginning of the year has made me feel like I’ve just been playing catch up since the start of 2018. However, I’m feeling much better now and have been craving the opportunity to sit down and write, even if it’s just this short post. All that too say, I may or may not revisit some of the blog post ideas I wanted to pursue during break (depending on the next few weeks). Regardless, I’m looking forward to some awesome programs this semester. From the aforementioned learning community to working with OLC Innovate to create an awesome Innovation Lab, there’s lots of important work to be done.

The featured image is provided CC0 by G. Crescoli via Unsplash.

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