Nutritious Thoughts

When reflecting on my informational diet, I started looking through my social media accounts, websites I visit, and who my general “go-to” people are for information.  I like to have a blend of art/culture and educational material to sift through in my spare time because I feel the brain needs a balance.  All work and no play makes Jen a dull girl.  Even the art and culture varies anywhere from classic art to cat memes.

I see from my choices how I’m trying to stay current with internet culture because I enjoy it and my students are really into it.  There is definitely a lot of science links such as NASA, Science Magazine and the AAAS, and the National Science Teacher’s Association.  I have politics mixed in there so I can follow the latest strife of the Chicago Public Schools and our state’s budget emergency.  I clearly cannot follow all the information available on every topic.  I empathize with my students that it takes time to sift through the expanses of the internet to find valuable or relevant information.  Then those sneaky cat pictures get in the way.


Gee’s theory that we are only as strong as our strongest network resonated with me throughout his reading since we want to learn and model for our students how to work in teams.  Affinity spaces can keep us focused on what our goal is for learning.  Through the technology survey submitted to the staff at my school I noticed that many of us learn about new tech sources via word of mouth.  Maybe we are designed to be a cog in a bigger system, especially with the vast amount of knowledge that exists in the world today.  Have our brains been able to adapt and catch up to technology?  Carr also addresses this when he speaks of our need to keep constant track of information.  Our primitive brains needed to do this for survival, but the information “deluge” overwhelms us.  We become reactive to knowledge and lose productivity.

Parisi’s idea that we exist in a digital world through filter bubbles begs the question of why algorithms are designed in such a way.  Is it to create unconscious consumers or is it that search engines cannot possibly turn up the same results to each person who enters that search criteria?  Regardless, without Parisi’s commentary I may not have made the connection that these filter bubbles could hamper our search for knowledge.  As Gee argues, our collaboration with others will help us get the bigger picture regardless of bad algorithms or capitalistic endeavors.


Jenkins raises the idea of how we transform learning environments.  If research is showing that team collaboration is best for the new era of education, and research points to a human need for collaboration then I need to make sure I can connect the two.  Three new infodiet sources I have committed to using are Zooniverse, Hive Chicago, and the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) group.  They stem from crowd sourcing data analysis which can be a powerful tool in the science classroom.  Finding more community connections for myself and my students lead me to the Hive and the ICE group is frequently recommended by my technology coordinator.  Although I am familiar with the resources, I feel they will support my current classroom goals of increased meaning of collaboration between my students.


Carr, N.  (2011).  The Dark Side of the Information Revolution.  Retrieved on February 8, 2016 from,AAAADXaozYk~,BawJ37gnfAnGoMxEdQj_T9APQXRHKyAC&bctid=1128986496001

Cat Armor [Digital image]. (2015, October 27). Retrieved February 14, 2016, from

Gee, J. P. (2013). The anti-education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.

Jenkins, H.  (2011, August 4).  Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement.  Retrieved on February 8, 2016 from

Pariser, E.  (2011, March).  Beware online “filter bubbles”.  Retrieved on February 8, 2016 from

Restivo, D. (2008, April 10). I’m Thinking Of… [Digital image]. Retrieved February 14, 2016, from



One thought on “Nutritious Thoughts

  1. Prior to seeing Pariser’s discussion on filter bubbles, I had heard that our social networks/web searches were customized towards our particular interests. Similar to yourself, I had never associated this customization of information that comes our way, as a hinderance in our acquisition of knowledge. In fact it’s quite scary. Especially when I think about how we send students out into the world of digital information, in search of new knowledge. Your comment about unconscious consumers evokes a crippling fear of the digital environments that influence our lives. As I shared in my post, I typically entertain myself with social networks, in order to get a break from the stresses of the physical world I encounter each day. This last week I ventured out, and “plugged” into more outlets pertaining to education. It’s provided a true balance, as I juggle life, social, and academic. Be it the demand of my coursework, or my new found interest to see what ideas are circulating out there, I’ve found an interest in reading about issues pertinent to education. It still leaves me to wonder if some mystery algorithm is in place even on these outlets, to limit what’s coming my way. Perhaps I’m thinking too outside of the box there.

    I’m a firm believer the more I think about it, that our ability to innovate, design, create, develop, etc., is dependent on how we utilize each other as assets. How are we collaborating with each other and plugging into each other? This idea that both Jenkins and Gee preach on, regarding people plugging into affinity spaces based upon passions, are brewing grounds of change. Creating these spaces for our students both in and outside of the classroom is the direction that we MUST take. Education has to take a focus on creating more than what we currently offer. It’ll be a gradual transition. Nothing taking place overnight, but like you said, plugging into networks that drive YOUR PASSION, will open up doors of innovation for your own classroom.


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