What’s in your InfoDiet?

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Photo by Will Lion Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic

 

This week I looked at myself in a new light.  I looked at myself as an information junk food junkie.  It is quite sad that my time, outside of school, is filled with Facebook and Pinterest.  I do not spend my time reading the news, or looking for new educational ideas.  What has happened to me?  I realized that my info diet needed a major overhaul. 

Nicholas Carr states that information overload and out focus on multitasking has led to a “loss of deep creativity.”  Who am I to disagree?  I am guilty of trying to multitask every single day.  I also realize that my work is not at its best when I am multitasking.  Let’s be honest, when I’m multitasking, I’m usually reading, listening to Pandora and checking my Facebook from time to time.  I realize now that my “big thoughts (the ones that go against the grain)” have not been able to filter through all of the other junk I am feeding my brain every day.  With this in mind I decided to search for sources of information that take me to a place where I can revive my deep creativity. 

The first source I added to my Twitter feed was Edutopia (@edutopia).  This source gives teachers useable ideas that can be put into use immediately in the classroom.  I am incredibly guilty of wanting to create and invent my own activities for my classroom.  However, I have been told that good teachers work “smarter, not harder.”  I took this advice to heart when I was looking for sources.  Edutopia guides teachers with sources that will prepare students for accountability with common core standards.  Also, teachers can create new and interesting ideas that help to help students find their “deep creativity.”  I believe it is ever so important to raise generations of deep and critical thinkers. 

The next source I added was Common Core Ed Tech (@ccedtech).  This is an amazing site that uses the ELA Common Core State Standards and gives educators a wealth of resources that are aligned with the Common Core.  This year is my first year back in a core subject area.  The Common Core standards are new to me.  I struggle to find resources that will interest the students and also meet the CCSS.  This sources guides teachers to great resources like Animoto and Wordle, resources that help students with those ever important standards, but are also very interesting. 

The final source I added was the US Department of Education (@usedgov).  This source is what I consider to be the resource of all resources for teachers.  It contains a wealth of information about everything from Common Core Standards to other pieces of legislation that can affect teachers.  On top of this, the site also has a plethora of resources for classroom teachers.  I was truly amazed at the resources that the site had for ELA and social studies.  Again, I have a tendency to want to create my own materials for my classroom.  However, I am seeing more and more that site such as this will help me to become a better teacher and my students will become better learners. 

With all faith, I believe these sources will help me regain my “Big thoughts” and help my students have a productive life in and out of school. 

 

Carr, N. (2011). The Dark Side of Information Revolution. [Video File]. Retrieved from http://bcove.me/7j4zpzwz

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Autism Spectrum Disorder

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As a mother of a child who has major developmental delays, I see a focus on autism spectrum disorders as something utterly important.  Many students in schools are on the spectrum.  In most cases, the needs of these students are not being met.  In this paper, I discuss the ways ASD can be addressed more appropriately in a school setting.

The app that I found to be incredibly useful is called AutismXpress.  This site gives students with autism a form of communication.

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I have also included a link to a list of terrific apps that can be used with the iPad.  Research is showing that the iPad is becoming a perfect tool to assist the student who is on the spectrum.

What limitations prevent us from solving big, complex problems smartly?

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As humans we have a natural sense of curiosity.  We are constantly trying to find ways to solve the complex problems that we face on a daily basis.  However with a lack of critical thinking and reasoning skills, and an influx of outside sources that creates a sense of confusion and entitlement, many complex problems are being put on the back burner.  This issue was addressed in great detail in the book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning by James Paul Gee

In this paper, I will discuss how these issues, specifically how the influx of information creates more issues in critical thinking and problems solving.