Monday, April 10, 2017

Bigger On the Inside

Photo by Cynthia Cotten
Perhaps you’ve heard, the TARDIS returns this week, bringing with it all sorts of new adventures. (You may remember that I am as old as twelve Timelords, thirteen if you count the War Doctor. As such, I have been a geek long before there was a word for it.)

It seems to be the most obvious of memes that a book, like the TARDIS, is bigger on the inside. I’m sure a simple google search would produce a thousand illustrations.

Recently I read an interesting piece, The Importance of Ideas

I’ve long said that we are the product of all the stories we have ever read, and that we are influenced by all the characters we have experienced. The University Blog makes a similar statement, offering that “what you read and retain has a potential bearing on what you read and retain after that.”

We know as writers and teachers that reading is important. It’s another obvious meme. We learn about different perspectives even as we shape our own. That’s how new ideas are created. As the University Blog states:

“Ideas are important, too. Without ideas, progress isn’t made, change doesn’t happen, much of human development stops."

In other words, ideas are bigger on the inside.

“Ideas make the world, for they are the guide to future practice. Even the flimsiest ideas rooted in prejudice and ignorance make history and form public culture…Ideas, when mobilized, become the templates of thought and practice.” (Ash Amin & Michael O’Neill, Thinking About Almost Everything)

Librarians are the superheroes who stand guard for these “templates of thoughts and practice” and the stuff of future-building. These days, it seems everyone has an opinion about everything. But not all opinions are equally weighted. As the Doctor might say, some opinions are just “lasagna.”

Recently I had a wonderful librarian visit my college research class to help my students to refine their process of “crap detection.” Teaching media literacy is not new, but with the recent explosion of social media, and the rise of fake media, the process has become convoluted, and downright messy. The hour-long experience proved an invaluable lesson.

Here are a few interesting pieces on what we can do to battle fake news in the classroom:

Battling Fake News in the Classroom, and how one educator helps students develop media literacy.

Cool Tools for Schools, a technology program for librarians and teachers, focusing on how to use critical thinking to judge the reliability of news reports and information sources.

PBS Newhour Extra on how to teach students about fake news.

Ernest Hemingway once said that a great writer needs to have “a built-in, shock-proof crap detector.” While not all of our students need become great writers, certainly every student, as well as the rest of us, will become informed citizens when we are active participants in a better future-building, and stay engaged in that process of lifelong learning.

Remember what the Doctor said,

“You want weapons? We’re in a library! Books are the best weapon in the world. Arm yourself!”

Speaking of, I believe that's the TARDIS now!

Bobbi Miller

(PS. The TARDIS Free Library was designed and built by Steve Cotten, photo by Cynthia Cotten. All other photos courtesy of Pixabay)


Frank said...

Educators may be interested in my FAKE NEWS REMEDY RECOMMENDATIONS page:

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Librarians and libraries are critical to learning.

Shirin said...

This is especially wonderful as I have a Tardis Little Free Library on my front lawn-Darien, Illinois- I love the analogy of books being like the Tardis-bigger on the inside. Thank you for this wonderful post.

Anonymous said...

Great post and so relevant for today's world. We had a 'fake news' informational event at my library. Who would have thought such a thing would be necessary in years past? Love the little free library!

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you so much for stopping by and for the recommendations, everyone! And I'm pleased you found the discussion helpful!