We’re going to ask, “What do we know & how do we know that we know it?” Essentially, we’re going to examine & reconsider what we know or what we believe we know. In fact, we may get rid of that “K-word” altogether and realize that most of what we know is simply beliefs that we can justify (or not).
MOSTLY, however, we’re going to learn to proceed with humility in the face of new knowledge, for if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we’ll come to realize that everything we “know” must be cloaked in uncertainty, and our confidence in that “knowledge” must be tempered by the limitations of our human condition, our minds, and our technologies.
Your curiosity & passion will be your greatest traits for this pursuit, and I believe our excursion will leave you looking at the world differently from here on out. I am hopeful that our experience will be enjoyable and enriching and one of growth for us all. I am excited to share this brief journey with you & watch you flourish.
Just click on the links below to find helpful resources.
NOTE: Daily assignments & updates will be served up using our Google Classroom Stream page, so you’ll probably begin there and sometimes end up back here.
- Love Letter to My Students
- Intro Letter – Senior Seminar
- Syllabus – Senior Seminar
- Mercy Critical Concerns & Core Values
- Who Have You Been
- Excel Grade Tracker (Be in control of your own destiny & know where you stand!)
SOME KEY CONCEPTS & QUESTIONS TO KICK IT OFF:
- How ‘Bout Them Apples?!
- The Seminar by Michael Kahn
- Phrases to Get Comfortable Saying 1
- Phrases to Get Comfortable Saying 2
- The Problem With the World – Bukowski
- Role of Questions in Critical Thinking
- “Three Questions” by Leo Tolstoy (:12 min YouTube)
- Whitman: Listen to All Sides… And Yourself
Maps For Knowing & Maps As Metaphors
The Medium is the Message: Media Literacy Enters the Fray
Let’s borrow from my Media Literacy course here because much of HOW we come to know our world comes via electronic media. These resources provide some general background & guidance for navigating media messages.
- Media Messages Key Concepts
- Key Questions for Analyzing Media Messages
- Keys To Media’s Hidden Codes (TedEd :6 mins)
- NEWSELA (Feel free to sign up as a student)
- STUDENTS HAVE TROUBLE JUDGING CREDIBILITY ONLINE (Stanford)
- Information Literacy in the Face of Conspiracy Theories (Atlantic)
- How Newsroom Leaders Wrestled with Covering a Tumultuous Year (NPR :9 mins)
Our Senior Seminar is inspired by a course I used to teach called Theory of Knowledge, or what philosophers might call “epistemology”. There are some vast Philosophy & TOK resources out there, but I thank these folks for their wonderful offerings, which will give us a chance to dabble. (Feel free to venture down any rabbit holes these sites provide, letting your curiosity take you where it may….)
- CRASH COURSE: Philosophy (YouTube – Hank Green)
- Theory of Knowledge Website (TOK 2022)
- Mr. Hoye’s TOK Website
- TOK Topics – A Theory of Knowledge Site
- MIT’s OpenCourseware: Theory of Knowledge
AREAS OF EXPLORATION, ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS, AND RESOURCES FOR OUR COURSE
- INTRO- Who Are We? In What Ways Does Who I Am Shape What I Know?
- Where Have I Been?: How Can We Become More Reflective & Critical?
- Laying My Burden Down: What Biases & Baggage Do We Carry
- Who Cares?: Is There a Difference Between Sound Skepticism vs. Silly Cynicism?
- What Can We Know & How? Do I Know It or Believe It? (Ways of knowing)
- Perceptions: Is the Lens Through Which We See Our World Clouded? How?
- Emotion: Can We Feel Our Way Into Knowing? What’s Emotional Intelligence?
- Language: Who’s the Colorless Green Idea on First? (Does Language Help or Hurt?)
- Reason/Logic: Socrates Minds His P’s & Q’s? (How Do Deduction/Induction Help?)
- What Are Strengths & Weaknesses of Systems of Knowledge (The Various Disciplines)?
- Mathematics: Pi in the Sky? Fibonacci & Mobius (How Can Math Beat Perception?)
- Natural Science: Our New Religion? (If There’s a Better Method, Can We Identify It?)
- Social/Human Sciences: We Can’t Put Humans Under a Microscope, Can We?
- History: Revise This! Can I Be a Settler If It’s Already Settled? Can We Know Our Past?
- Can We Ever Agree on Value Judgments? (What’s the Right Thing to Do? What’s Beautiful?)
- Ethics: Turning Right & The Difference Between Can & Should
- Aesthetics: Is It Beautiful? The Eye of the Beholder & Knowing it When I See It
- Can We Ever Approach Something We Might Call Knowledge…Or Even Truth?
- Limitations of Knowledge Revisited: Is Everything Just a Belief?
- Is Truth A Toothless Truth? Is There Anything We Can Call a “Capital T” Truth?
- Digital Dilemma? Does The Digital Age Help or Hinder?
Noam Chomsky (Linguist-Political Philosopher-Activist)
- “Manufacturing Consent” Interview w/Bill Moyers (Part 1)
- “Manufacturing Consent” Interview w/Bill Moyers (Part 2)
- Noam Chomsky: Manufacturing Consent
- Noam Chomsky on Propaganda Terms: Language & Meaning
AND A WHOLE LOTTA RANDOM ARTICLES TO BROWSE & DISCOVER:
(Many borrowed from Media Literacy, but we’ll add as we go)
- How to Escape Your Political Bubble for a Clearer View – The New York Times
- Study: Historians Easily Fooled by Unreliable Content
- How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds – WSJ
- How Technology Changes Teen Romance – The New York Times
- Fareed Zakaria What in the World: Fake news – YouTube
- Google Doesn’t Want What’s Best for Us – The New York Times
- A Brief History of Book Burning, From the Printing Press to Internet Archives | History | Smithsonian
- A record number of journalists are behind bars | PBS NewsHour
- People who know how the news is made resist conspiratorial thinking | Ars Technica
- How Random Events Create Conspiracy Theories — truTV.com
- CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity – The Washington Post
- 10 reasons why Americans don’t trust the media – Trust, Media and Democracy – Medium
- Social Media Is Making Us Dumber. Here’s Exhibit A. – The New York Times
- The Follower Factory – The New York Times
- ‘The Shed at Dulwich’ was London’s top-rated restaurant. Just one problem: It didn’t exist. – The Washington Post
- Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic
- The Enlightenment Is Working – WSJ
- Welcome to the Post-Text Future – The New York Times
- Center for Humane Technology
- What The Screen Time Experts Do With Their Own Kids : NPR Ed : NPR
- Screen Addiction Among Teens: Is There Such A Thing? : NPR Ed : NPR
- Student Journalists Launch Website After They Say School Censored Their Paper : NPR
- Tristan Harris: Do Our Devices Control More Than We Think? : NPR
- Tech Design Ethicist Works To Raise Awareness Of Internet Addiction : NPR
- ‘Irresistible’ By Design: It’s No Accident You Can’t Stop Looking At The Screen : All Tech Considered : NPR
- Inside Center for Humane Technology: Tech creators are pushing back
- Thirty countries use ‘armies of opinion shapers’ to manipulate democracy – report | Technology | The Guardian
- Snopes.com | The definitive fact-checking site and reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.
- The Big Loophole That Helped Russia Exploit Facebook: Doctored Photos – WSJ
- Truth Isn’t the Problem—We Are – WSJ
- The Man Who Knew Too Little – The New York Times
- Soft power — not government censorship — is the key to fighting disinformation and “fake news” » Nieman Journalism Lab
- Nate Silver on Twitter: “When someone regularly cites outlier polls instead of the polling average it’s an **extremely** reliable tell that they’re a bullshitter.”
- Hans Rosling: The best stats you’ve ever seen | TED Talk
- For the love of facts! | TED Talks
- Recent Research | Poynter – A global leader in journalism.
- This tool makes verifying crowd sizes a breeze – YouTube
- Data Defenders, a media literacy game about data collection and targeting for kids in grades 4-6 / Boing Boing
- Watch Jordan Peele use AI to make Barack Obama deliver a PSA about fake news – The Verge
- Press Freedom in U.S. Falls Again
- Is it satire or fake news? Depends on who you ask | Poynter
- Think You Can Spot Fake News? Take This Quiz.
- After a week of Russian propaganda, I was questioning everything | PBS NewsHour
- Google’s New Voice Bot Sounds, Um, Maybe Too Real : The Two-Way : NPR
- VR: Game Changer – 1A
- Why Disco Made Pop Songs Longer
- Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything – Home Page
- Did exactly 4,645 people die in Hurricane Maria? Nope. – The Washington Post
- Seth MacFarlane on Twitter: “A simple means by which to begin the rehabilitation of a deeply fractured nation would be through the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, which required all TV and radio broadcasters to present opposing viewpoints on all iss
- Everything you need to know about the Fairness Doctrine in one post – The Washington Post
- Correlation is NOT Causation (A FUN Take!)
- 23 Charts & Maps Showing the World is Getting Much Better
- 10 Most Important Events in Music History
- I Found the Best Burger Place in America, and Then I Killed It
- How a 19th-Century Teenager Sparked a Battle Over Who Owns Our Faces
- Movie Poster Expert Explains Color Schemes (YouTube :10 mins)
- Deepfake Videos Not Just Entertaining, But a Warning
- Social Media is Attention Alcohol With Same Downsides As Booze (Atlantic)
- Strategically Manufactured Ignorance & the Information Ecosystem (Data & Society)
- Why People Fall For Conspiracy Theories (538.com)
- Just Because You Don’t Fall For Conspiracy Theories Doesn’t Mean You’re Right (NYT)