You Are What You Eat, Improving Your Infodiet!

I wander around the breakfast buffet at my hotel in Luala Lumpur this week, and I have thoughts running through my head about eating a healthy, well balance diet.  This is always more difficult when you have a plethora of options ranging from healthy to very unhealthy.  This is the information world we live in at all times, in todays world.

While it is common to be reminded about a healthy food diet, how often do we reflect on our information diet?  We need to treat information like nutrition, we need a “rainbow of fruit and vegetables” (take in a variety of perspectives and opinions), high quality close to the source food (information that comes from a reputable sourcend is evidence based or research supported), and personalized to an individualized need (reducing the excess unnecessary information that can confuse or clog the systems).

This week I have been reflecting on my personal infodiet, in relation to it’s quality, quantity, and overall value.  I get information from television, social media, friends, books, journals, newspapers, the environments I am in, coworkers, and many other settings.  I created a short Prezi to show how I thought about my infodiet.

Am I always cognizant of what information I am putting in my head? No. Should I be more cognizant? Absolutely!

As I have reviewed my personal infodiet I was actually surprised to realize I was already making some “healthy” choices.

My “rainbow” informatin intake. I am very open to all “sides” of an issue and love to read information from that conflicts with any preconceived notions I may have and challenge my perspectives.  My social media feed is filled with an eclectic group with a variety of opinions on all topics. My PLN is filled with individuals who are on opposite sides of topics. One example of this is my PLN has Chinese teachers who are fully supportive of practicing one directional lecture based, rote memory style education, as well as teachers who believe play based learning is optimal, or teachers who believe in allowing student guided curriculums, and even people who only do “world schooling”.  This shows a variety of opinions that I take in and challenge my beliefs or thoughts, rather than creating a “bubble” of influence.  On a regular day I will read a worldschooler blog, a university based study, and an opinion piece from a newspaper.  Check out this tweetbeam that shows tweets about world schooling to change some of your thoughts and open new ideas!

“Close to source” is an important aspect of a healthy diet, and in keeping with this approach I reviewed where my sources come from.  In a normal week I will often read opinion pieces, posts online, or information from sources that are anecdotal and not evidence/research based, but what I realize is this is usually just a “jump off” point for me.  I go in and research this information from University online libraries (like MSU libraries, UT library systems, and UWyo libraries), google scholar, or other reputable scientific based resources.  This is great because I can then verify or refute what I read from other sources and then analyze this information and its applicability to me and my career.

“Personalized” diets are extremely important, because someone may be celiac, someone may be lactose intolerance and genetics influence how food impacts a body. With information a persons job, specific circumstances, and individual characteristics impact how information influences them or applies to them.  For example, while reading about teaching styles I could find reputable information on English language teaching, but this may not directly apply to me in the science realm and I need to make sure I am scrutinizing this rather than imediately applying unapplicable inforamtion to me.

After this deep review of my diet practices I found some new fun sources of intake and added scrutiny to some of my previous sources.  For example, I have added multiple social media groups to my intake to include a world schooler group, three IB groups, and an expat teacher group.  Some other sources I have added are a few online sources like IBO OCC, TES, the Wall Street Journal, and TED-Ed.  These sources add a nice variety of high quality sources.

I used this deep evaluation immediately in practice with work on my upcomming wicked problem I have to work on.  Deeply scrutinizing sources to look into the topic of “Changing Teaching” and how we can look to completely revolutionize, for the better, teaching worldwide.

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