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Take That! Using Wikis To Pop Filter Bubbles!

Today I had the honor of learning and sharing with educators from Southeastern North Carolina at the New Hanover County Summer Technology Institute. Today's session was on using Wikis as a tool for content curation - a skill I believe both teachers and students need to develop as we become more and more saturated with information. This was a wonderful experience for me for several reasons:

First, this was the first time I was able to trot out an updated version a presentation I've been giving for some time now on wikis.  Lately, I've been thinking about wikis as a tool for content curation - an opportunity for students and teachers to think about how the internet works, about how information is filtered before it comes to us, about who edits it and why.  In the past, I've taught wiki workshops which focused on the benefits of collaboration and the idea that multiple brains are better than one. This presentation, on the other hand, emphasizes how using wikis for "collective curation" can help students/teachers burst what Eli Pariser refers to as "filter bubbles" while also collecting the very best of what the internet has to offer.  It's my own small attempt at transforming research into a metacognitive process in which researchers (of all ages) consider not only what they are learning about the research topic, but also about how their research skills are influenced by external factors.  (Big thanks, by the way, to Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano whose post on Students Becoming Curators of Information pointed me towards some powerful images which I used - with attribution - in this presentation.  Thank you!)

Second, this was a non-library crowd - while everyone in the room was an educator, I believe I was the only librarian.  I find that this kind of experience is good for me because it forces me to look at my message through new eyes, to see how it plays outside the echo chamber of library land.  That said, everyone was so receptive and open and willing to go along for the ride.

Finally, this was an incredibly good looking group of people.  Obviously. :)

Tomorrow I get to do a two part session with a colleague on eBooks.  Again, this is an updated version of a presentation I've given a few times before.  It should be good fun because it will be the first time that I get to do the presentation where the focus isn't simply on eReaders but on meeting student needs (instructional, developmental and emotional) through eBooks (both the eReader kind and the subscription kind).

Lately, I've been feeling a little sorry for myself because I won't be attending ALA or ISTE this summer - but today's crowd helped me feel good about the learning and sharing I get to do right here at home.  Thank you!

PS:  My #2000hour spreadsheet is filling up. 


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