Our information diet consist of all the ways in which we derive information such as social interest groups, Professional Learning Networks, or information mining to name a few. I continued my reading of James Paul Gee’s book The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning, while also reflecting on a variety of articles and how they coincide or conflict with Gee’s research. Specifically to what makes up an affinity space, and what affordances these spaces have on society. These spaces are what Jenkins calls participating cultures, where individuals form groups based on passions (DMLResearchHub). Jenkins and Gee see these types of groups as a foundation for answering and acting on societies moral issues. These groups are what Gee refers to as affinity spaces (Gee p.174).
During this examination I was enlightened by Eli Pariser’s 2011 Ted Talk, which sheds light on what a filter bubble can do to the information we consume. Although I am aware of how sites like Facebook and Linkedin recommend friends or feeds based on interest I had deemed these as conveniences that enhanced my online social experience. I hadn’t considered how these filters could also hinder the reliability of information I receive and limit multiple perspectives, from not only within my affinity space but also when researching. Filter bubbles affect (or restrict) affinity spaces and what consist of our information diet, by preventing your evaluation of information by providing you comfort within your normal diet of information that support your interest or thoughts, without challenge. The type of diversified spaces contributes wholly to the types of Mind Visions we create in order to propel society to the next level of what consist of the “Mind” which as Gee expresses can only be done by using our tools wisely as a collective in order to answer the question of the “What do YOU think WE should do?” game, empirically (Gee pp.167-170).
My Affinity Space
With the above concepts in mind I have been examining the ways in which I use networked affinity spaces to inform my thinking, and the limitations of my current information diet. My use of Twitter can be regarded as an affinity space, I use this to inform my passion for Teaching (more directly teaching technology). My affinity space informs what tools I may use in order to teach a certain standard, it informs my teaching theories, it drives what types of articles I read, which technology sites I visit, who I look at as mentors and most often it drives the people I socialize with. This space is made up of mostly educators and to that extent I tend to steer away from religious and political affiliations. In order to change my information diet I would need to add individuals who I tend to steer away from. My PLN is mostly made up of educators and individuals that express democratic views. These views align with my own and don’t challenge my preferences in social and educational policies. I decided to follow Michelle Makin and Donna Brazile in order to be connected with political aspects that may enrich my diet. I also examined why I stay away from religious affiliations, as many moral focuses within religious context seek to resolve social issues. With that in mind I discovered a post of the Top 25 Christian Leaders You Should Follow on Twitter, scroll down to see the comments from Greg which highlights an example of what Eli Pariser refers to in his TED talk, as critically examining what will help us burst the filter bubble (TED, 2011). I added individuals that viewpoint I was less familiar with, ones that seemed to post using resources that backed up their statements. I am hoping that adding these few individuals will acquaint me with unfamiliar perspectives and will challenge me to think constructively about my own views, processes, or biases in order to develop a more balanced information diet.
Dodd, B. Top 25 Christian Leaders You Should Follow on Twitter. Retrieved on July 13, 2014, from http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/162661-top-25-christian-leaders-you-should-follow-on-twitter.html
DMLResearchHub. Media Scholar Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture and Civic Engagement. Retrieved on July 13, 2014 from, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgZ4ph3dSmY&feature=youtu.be
Gee, J. P. (2013). The anti education era: Creating smarter students through digital Learning.
Johnson, C. The Information Diet-Introduction. Retrieved on July 14, 2014 from, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNFNOSzik14
TED2011. (2011). Beware online ”filter bubbles” given by Eli Pariser (video file and transcript). Retrieved on July 13, 2014 from, http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles