Moving information from the “Stream” to a classroom Garden
Application to the Classroom
Tools for saving links or creating info webs
- Old school: 3×5 cards or prints, and string. It works because it’s analog! Downside: hard to keep up with digital info this way. Upside: quickly develop a web of understanding for a pile of separate ideas or articles.
- Popplet: Build virtual “mind maps” using text, photos, links to show relationships between ideas. Free app for iPad; Paid app for iPad allows for more features; desktop app. Another app of this type is Pearltrees (AppStore).
- Microsoft OneNote is surprisingly robust, and allows for collaborative note-saving via the online version of Office 365. Users can click anywhere on the page to add a snippet or photo. There are drawing tools to showing connections, and multiple notebook sections allow for deep organization.
- If you know your way around code, you can check out the federated wiki project discussed in the essay.
Talk about information ethics
This is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of technology — it’s so integrated into our lives, that it often doesn’t occur to us to question how we’re using it and why. Who has the right to restrict access to ideas and information? Are we accepting restrictions on access unthinkingly, because we fail to question the values being promoted around us? Or is there an argument for a public “commons” for ideas so that all may benefit?
The balance between access and cost has been swirling around online information since human society recognized that knowledge holds power. Most recently, this is emerging in topics like debates over whether taxpayer-funded research should be published in free open-access journals. (The British Academy sponsored a great series of point/counterpoint articles on the topic.) Even young students have probably encountered a paywall when they were reading about a topic on the web. Print journalism is undergoing a crisis of revenue as local newsrooms shed jobs because they can’t bring in enough ad revenue to pay reporters’ salaries.
Does your classroom culture promote collaboration or isolation?
Are students expected to carry out research independently or on teams? Do you discuss the pros/cons of both approaches with your students, to help them understand the metacognitive choices being made (or made for them)?