Information(!) (?)

In 1993, the music group Duran Duran released a song entitled “Too Much Information.”

Again, this is in 1993.  I was a freshman in high school at the time.  I do not recall whether or not my high school had any internet connection.  At that time, we used computers in a keyboarding class and maybe some programming courses.  So the immediacy of information as we know it today was not a part of my life at that point.  And yet, that feeling of being overwhelmed by information was something that was real in that time.  Now, over 20 years later, I think about that time and it brings a smile to my face to think about the bombardment of information then compared to today.  I suppose that 20 years from now, I may look back and feel the same way about this current era.

What got me thinking about this?  Twitter.

I like to read various educational, leadership, and theological articles throughout the week and then I tweet them out a couple of days each week.  As I read articles and blogs, I’m struck at how much good information is out there!  There are so many great thinkers that now–due to technology–are able to share their thoughts with the world.  What a great time and place to live.  In fact, God has called us to be here and now and that is not an accident.

Of course, with this overload of information, there are couple of  things to consider:

1–Social media is a GREAT way to share our thoughts and build a professional learning network.  There is much to share.  Unfortunately, we are sinners.  As we share our entire lives with people, that means that they will occasionally see our sinfulness.  We must be very careful to watch what we say.  Sometimes in ministry we hear stories about peers who are fired for online comments or behavior.  We may think to ourselves that such events are unfair or question how invasive school policy should be on teacher social media.  But that type of thinking deflects from the issue of personal responsibility and sin.  Sin is still sin.  And it is still serious; there are still consequences.

A question with which I wrestle:  As a church of the Gospel, how can we convey forgiveness to those who have sinned in social media?  We are good at the Law side… how about the Gospel?  This is something that I think we are all working on.

2–Unfortunately, now that everyone has access to information, now everyone is an expert.  I guess this blog is living testimony to that.  Anyone with internet access and a keyboard can post something and look authoritative.  This leads to many challenges for teachers.  First, there is the threat of misinformation leading us (and our students) astray.  Second, the “everyone is an expert” mentality undermines the teacher’s authority in the classroom and can lead to a contentious relationship between home and school.

My simple advice?

1–Get started.  Don’t worry about catching up with a blog.  Just start now.  Find good sources.  I like to read Grant Wiggins, Tim Elmore, Dave Black, and Pernille Ripp to name a few.

2–Use an app to find articles.  Zite is the app I currently use, but in March, Flipboard acquired Zite and it appears that Zite will be going away soon.  This is too bad.  Hopefully Flipboard becomes more like Zite.  As it stands now, I find Flipboard to be far too narrow (and far too politically left-leaning) in the article suggestions.  Furthermore, Flipboard does not give you great blog posts suggestions.  So… let’s see what happens.

3–Always be careful with what you share, what you say, and with whom you connect.

4–Have FUN and LEARN!

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