10 minutes well spent

If you ever find yourself a spare ten minutes or so, you should do yourself a favour and check out the TED: Ideas worth spreading site. I do so on a regular basis, most often when I’m in bed browsing on my iPad before I head off to sleep. Last night I watched two very different stories being told, both of which led me to think, to contemplate, to reassess.

Watch both of them. They’re worth the investment. The first is the story of two very remarkable women, both marred by the tragedy of 9/11. They come from what some would see as opposing backgrounds, but they share the common thread of motherhood. Both have suffered, and both find comfort from the other. Their story is a lesson in tolerance, forgiveness and empathy for us all, and is one we should be sharing with the students we teach.

The other is a world apart, but it deals with something not apparent to all, but something that will definitely affect us all. Eli Pariser is the author of “The Filter Bubble,” and in this talk he explains how personalized search might be narrowing our worldview. Eli explains how web services that know what we like and direct results to us that meet our likes, are allowing us to get trapped in a “filter bubble.” The filter bubble prevents us from exposure to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview. Here’s another lesson for not just the adults in the room, our students need this kind of understanding if they are to become architects of their digital lives. After watching this, it’s apparent that personalised search, where organisations are making decisions about what we view, is dangerous territory indeed. Dangerous territory that can lead to lack of tolerance, an inability to forgive, and a decided lack of empathy. There’s the link you need to make these two talks some of the best learning that could take place in a classroom this week.

TED: Ideas worth spreading. Never a truer phrase was uttered. Spread away.

3 Replies to “10 minutes well spent”

  1. hi Jenny, myself and my two intrepid staff have embarked on the PLN this week…wish us luck and I’ll let you know when (if!!) I get my blog going…whoopee (the hardest part is what to call the darn thing)

  2. I have noticed the differences in the “filter” of personal search just by using two different computers, one at work and one at home. I share the computer with my family at home and with a colleague at work. As a result, the search results are very different. I have learned to bookmark (usually on delicious) anything that interests me because I can’t find it as I move from computer to computer.

    I have started to advocate that my students switch computers (i.e. with their roommates, go to the library computers, etc…) especially when they get “stuck” on a search and can’t find something relevant to what they are looking for.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Virginia. I think this is something I can use with my students as an exercise. There’s nothing like concrete evidence proving something is happening. You make a good point that bookmarking that can be accessed from computer to computer is essential if we are to be keeping track of results that have meaning for us. There’s no guarantee they may appear the next time!

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