Bill MacKenty

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The four noble truths. Explained, part four.

Posted in Educational Tech Design Leadership on 10 - March 2011 at 05:50 PM (13 years ago). 191 views.

Original germ here

1. Engage, stop, turn off, reflect.
2. Program
3. Participate
4. Sift

I spoke about part one here, part two here, and part three here.

The last noble truth speaks to sifting through information. This is a new cognitive skill that most kids simply didn't need 20 years ago. You went to the library, grabbed an encyclopedia and got your answer. Today learners need to sift through several layers of information to find their answers.

They need to find the answer to their question
They need to navigate layers of information (media, images, sounds, text)
They need to carefully evaluate the information they find
They need to correctly source or cite the information they find
They need to put the information in their own words, or make it their own
They need to see the debate or discussion about their question

To sift is to cull - to look carefully at the noise and find the signal. No better argument for the neccesity of a teacher. Kids have access to an unparalleled amount of information. But they need to sift through it and look for their answer.

It's a specific skill, to sift, to cull through a torrent of flashing images, pictures, and movies. It's a specific sort of thing to do.

How to sift?

Well, google does this well, by elevating information based on who links to it (although, google, I think you need to be better at comment and blog spam, and efforts to game your search results).

By analyzing arguments, debate, and discussion.

By deeply knowing about one thing, and then hooking other knowledge into that.

I'll sum all this up and probably write a book based on it.