There are many, many, many sites out there where users generate, share and vote on content. One of the more popular ones in the past year has been reddit.com. Like any other site like this there is a wealth of inappropriate and downright nasty content that is found and aggregated. The content is not created by reddit.com, but submitted to Reddit and voted on by its users. There are also several reputable companies that use reddit.com to get their content to viewers.
Wikipedia can explain better than I can,
"Reddit, is a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text ("self") post. Other users then vote the submission "up" or "down", which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site's pages and front page." Users can then comment on t/,[stylized as reddit, is a social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the form of either a link or a text ("self") post. Other users then vote the submission "up" or "down", which is used to rank the post and determine its position on the site's pages and front page."Users can then comment on those links.
Anyway, a section of the website that you should know about is the "Explain Like I'm Five" series. It started, I believe, by users that are posting difficult questions and then asking that the answers are explained to them like they are five. My guess would be mostly high school and college students. You can view the series here http://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfive/ . Then users would attempt to answer their questions as if the asker was "like they are five." Some are actually really good and some are absolute garbage. Some questions are not meant to be explained to a five year old, but the community known as the internet is trying.
As teachers we need to be aware of sites like this for a few reasons:
- Students and Learners in general are really cleaver in how they use online resources to get information that they need. I think that this is really cool.
- We need to be aware about sites like this when designing assessments. Asking yourself is that "googleable" not enough anymore.
- Sites like turnitin.com simply can't keep up with the content being generated at sites like this.
- If a student uses information from here how do we teach them to take it further and check the resources?
- How can we harness (not necessarily reddit.com) this style of learning in our classrooms? Students today want to and do learn by being social. It is actually their preferred method of learning. I am not discounting the appropriateness of individual deep types of thinking, in fact that is also extremely important, but how are we meeting the needs of our diverse set of learners.
Finally, reddit.com has turned some of the "Explain Like I'm Five" series into youtube videos. You should be aware of these also. The series is, like the written questions, taking extremely complex topics and boiling them down. Whenever that happens people tend to "miss the mark." These videos will become viral and might create simplistic misconceptions in your content area. On the other hand they could be springboards into discussion. I have not watched them all nor evaluated their appropriateness for all audiences, but I wanted to make you aware of them and their potential impact.The video series can be found here: