When The Bones Are Good, The Rest Don’t Matter… Yeah, Fake News Can Post, But The Internet Won’t Shatter…

Reading, Viewing & Making Sense of the World

The Fight to Catch-Up

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The fight to catch up lately has been very real for me. Last week I thought I was finally on top of things, had a good roadmap of what I needed to get done and how I planned to get there, and then life, asthma, and allergies came into play and what I thought would be done, just isn’t. So here I am, a little later than usual trying to put together a well-planned outpost that has all the meat and potatoes, starter salad, and dessert to ensure I have a full meal deal post here. So all Y’all out there hoping that I too have these days can be fully assured that more than not I feel a little scrambly lately, and trying to do the best that I can. At least I feel like I have moved from being burnt out to having spring fever (snow mold and all), and I’m not sure which one is harder to deal with.

A Day in the Life of Moi

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To be completely honest, the stage that I am at in life right now is not one where I am using a ton of my critical thinking, reflecting, and reviewing skills as I once did. I attribute that to many things, but I think that the majority of it falls on my parenting plate. What does that mean you ask? Well, before work I get myself ready for work and my 2-year-old ready for daycare. I hustle around the house getting things organized, making sure the dog has food, water, and a treat (yes, spoiled dog), and then race to drop off my kiddo and get to school all in time to fulfill my morning bus supervision. The busy mornings don’t leave a lot of time to watch or read what’s going on in the world, and the kiddos on the bus are zombie-like, and I’m mostly managing to answer the question “what time is it” on repeat until the kiddos go outside. After work, if it’s not my evening to go to university or work on it, I tend to do chores, cook and play with my kiddo. Before bed, we read, but early reader books. Most times it engages us in conversations about being kind, why a character was upset, frustrated, etc. So, I guess I am reading the world a bit in that sense, but more playing the role of an educator helping my kiddo read the world. After reflecting on the writing above, I guess I am playing more of a facilitator’s role in helping my son learn to read the world around him. Like yesterday, for example, we went to the alley to shovel some snow and it surprised me how much he remembered about safety: looking both ways, watching for cars, avoiding sharp things, and more. Did that prevent him from climbing the step ladder? Nope. But what do you expect with a very active kiddo and fun things he doesn’t normally get to play with? Gosh, that’s a big role I am playing without even thinking about it. I guess that means that I need to be more reflective of my parenting practices, and how can I use my role as a teacher (rather tired teacher) to build my kiddo’s asset toolbox?

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I’m probably boring my readers to shreds (yes, I am making an assumption that people are reading my post), so I apologize for that but for the first time, I realized that I too can have an active role in something I used to be so passionate about and try to engage in daily, in a different way with a different audience. That too is important. Sometimes I find it hard to balance parenting and work-life with the expectations that society plays on women especially. Maintain a home, raise children, but at the same time put equal energy into the workforce, be successful and build a future. It can all be a lot sometimes, can’t it?

Anyways, I guess how I navigate the world looks different than before I had a kiddo. I used to spend time reading a ton, of books, online, news feeds, and more, and spent a lot of time critically reviewing, reflecting, and analyzing what I was reading. I spent even more time looking further into things and using other sources to find information on something I was reading or reflecting upon. I can’t say I spend as much time doing that anymore, and I spend even less time reading for enjoyment and relaxation. That’s something that I definitely miss and need to spend more time doing for my own mental health and overall, well-being. It’s a shame though, that I have been losing perspective on now taking the turn to focus less on my ways to examine the world and more on helping set my kiddo up to be able to read the world around him. Maybe that’s the pressure of an academia-minded person that once did research, to continue to use those skills in our everyday lives. I realize now, that I am only going to fall short if I don’t put into perspective the role I need to play now, and how that factors into my ability to read and engage in the world around me.

Strategies for Analyzing & Validating Information

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A lot of realizations happened while writing this post thus far, and it’s crazy to me that such an epiphany-like moment happened in such a short amount of time. Could it have been brewing for a while? Certainly. But it feels like a sudden shift in perspective. Something that I so desperately needed to move forward.

But what are some strategies that I used for analyzing and validating the information you ask? Well for starters, when using a website I check for authors, organizations they are affiliated or attached to, any reviews they have, as well as what the URL ends with (.org, .com, .ca, .net, and so on), as well as where they are located, and their ‘about us’ page. A lot can be said by looking at one’s website. The information can easily be discredited with a lack of transparent information, a lack of details, or something that just isn’t lining up. With online shopping sites that seem too good to be true, they usually are. I will look at the product on several other sites, and then read more reviews about the current site offering the best price to see in fact if it is a scam. Over the years I have always tried to find the best deal, it’s just something that gives me a rush (weird, right?). When I was younger, I purchased a lot from overseas, not worrying too much about quality, and was more focused on the price tag. When my kiddo entered the world and was sensitive to everything and anything (and I truly mean it), I was left being way more conscious of the choices I was making.

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Especially in the world today with everything going on with Ukraine and Russia, being able to decipher real versus fake news is critical. (If you need a reminder about fake news, check out the suggested reading from Cymone, here. We saw a surge in fake news arise with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we could see divides in population-based on information they were receiving, repeating, and adopting as truth. Access to information, technology, and one’s ability to critically evaluate information also played a role in this, as many weren’t fact-checking credible sources, or were using the internet to only back up their opinions (confirmation bias which I talked about last week here). Chris B also shared a good article that reminds us that ‘Fake News’ is An Information Literacy Problem—Not a Technology One, which I highly recommend checking out! Anyways, whatever the cause or reason, it ended up spreading misinformation or fake news like wildfires in Northern Saskatchewan during a hot summer drought. Holly also introduced us to a few ways to combat fake news in the classroom with these two readings: Fighting ‘Fake News’ in the Classroom and one that is highly focused upon a psychology perspective.

Without going into politics (and frankly, I am not interested in engaging with any comments left on this post that are politically charged as this is not the right platform to do so), the way that Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has gone about using social media to spread some real news to break through to propaganda that Russia is spreading, is quite inspiring. Using social media platforms to spread truth instead of hatred, propaganda and fake news is something that needs to be noted.

I’d Love to Hear from YOU!

I seem to get carried away in my posts and sometimes trail off to unknown lands or ones that are definitely not connected to the country I originally was landing upon. Anyways, like always, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to answer one (or more) of the prompting questions below, share my post, or like it. Whatever you feel, it all is seen, heard, and valued. If you read the entire post, thanks for your ongoing support. If you skipped to the bottom and read a few things here and there, hey, I totally understand. We all have to do what we have to do to hang in there.

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  1. What does an average day look like for you in terms of navigating information and media?
  2. What are your strategies for analyzing the world around you and what you are reading/viewing?
  3. Have you ever been caught up in fake news and shared it?
  4. How do you think schools can do a better job preparing students to critically review what they are reading, viewing and responding to?
  5. How are you feeling? Ready for spring? Teacher burnout? Something else?

6 thoughts on “When The Bones Are Good, The Rest Don’t Matter… Yeah, Fake News Can Post, But The Internet Won’t Shatter…

  1. Such a long.. yet interesting post Kelly! I prefer to read for relaxation and my mornings begin with reading typically on my phone these days…
    “I will look at the product on several other sites, and then read more reviews about the current site offering the best price….” With respect to online shopping, I also opt for this strategy but I had a bad experience even after being a little cautious about what I purchase… I was trapped in a new website which was selling me bedsheets at a very good price… I bought one, based on 5-6 good reviews… but it was not of good quality… After this incident, I came to know that these new websites have comments/reviews which they post themselves by making several fake accounts on Gmail or other platforms that they support…

    1. Thanks for popping by, Shirsty. Yes, my posts can be a bit lengthy, that’s for sure. But it’s my way of really getting my thoughts out there and in an organized (or so I think) way. I often will read reviews on products before purchasing, and I take into the date they were written, as well as other factors of course. I don’t purchase from many sites that I am unfamiliar with, and I always check what the return policies are before purchasing as well. It’s always important to do the research before making a commitment to shopping online. Hopefully, you found some other sheets that worked better! I know Costco always has a good deal on sheets. #CostcoForTheWin!

  2. I really like the personal connection you added to this post. Parenting totally changes perspective and when you mentioned building up your child’s assets toolbox, hell ya! The reflection piece plays in so much in parenting… and there are no perfect parents. Just learn from mistakes or challenges and grow. Same with anything… teaching, learning, family, friends… the list goes on. That is the best part of growth, and your little one is lucky to have a mom who is cognisant of the role she plays in the world around her.

    I have never really got too caught up in fake news, and typically do not share it. So many people are embarrassed when they share something fake, and so many people cannot admit when they are wrong, so that plays a large role in how much information can be spread. Some people will die on facts that they have only heard once, and refuse to acknowledge they are wrong. SO, it is easier to keep spreading mis/dis information rather than owning up to making a mistake.

    I like knowing the political bias on a company that is reporting the news, and often skip over unfamiliar sources as I deem them less credible (if I do not time to find out bias, funding, etc etc.) I kind of just wish we could go back to the days when people said “don’t believe everything you hear on the internet!” … that was probably the extent of my digital citizenship lessons in school, but damn, it sure has stuck and I think our next generation needs to hear a little more of that!
    Thanks for a deep and thought-provoking post. Well done. Keep your head up… we are almost done!

    1. Dalton, that last piece of advice really had me laughing. How true is that? Growing up we heard a lot of that saying… whether it was the internet or what we read in the newspaper, what we heard at the local diner, etc. But gosh was it ever good advice, that maybe needs to be shared again in today’s world. Simple, (annoying at the time) but true. A good a short reminder of needing to look more into things before we continue the spread of information. Those conversations as you mentioned where people base their whole arguments on one “fact” that they may have heard from a friend-of-a-friend kind of a deal. I feel like I used to be a lot more patient with those kinds of situations prior to COVID, and now, not so much. Thanks for reminding me of that simple, yet effective advice that may make a reappearance back into my teaching. As always, thanks for popping in. I always love the detailed feedback you offer. Thanks!

  3. Such a personal and thought-provoking post, Kelly! Your blog, your blog posts, and your comments make it hard to believe that this is what it looks like for you to be behind! Your work is consistently well-thought out and definitely something to aspire to.

    To answer your fourth question, I think that making educators and stakeholders informed about reliable resources is the first step to helping students develop critical reading, viewing, and listening skills. I know before taking this class, I didn’t feel confident in the resources I had or even my own skills which made the task of building these skills in students seem daunting. There needs to be some sort of great new resource (I know there are already many) that school divisions want to invest in and share with their employees. Developing these skills almost needs to become a trend in itself! Until that time, I think it is up to individual teachers to model, share, and help students build these skills.

    1. You’re too kind, Kate-Lynn. I am feeling a bit behind, so your comment was definitely encouraging, thank-you!

      I too wish we had a resource that teachers had to use to teach Digitial Citizenship in the classrooms. If only the government and curriculum writers also saw the importance of this topic, it would make it a lot easier to implement in schools. I know that there are a lot of great resources out there, but finding them is tricky. I think this subject gets missed as it isn’t really a part of the curriculum and it’s left up to individuals to teach it. So sad. It’s such a crucial topic to teach kiddos, to set them up for their futures.

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