When we look in the mirror we rarely see ourselves as others see us. Our reflection is skewed by our own biases - by the filters we create. Similarly, we present ourselves to the world through alternate personas...but what if we went with the philosophy of 'what you see is what you get' and as a result our world became less limiting?
We all have multiple personas that we willingly and openly share with the outside world; Masks, if you will that we interchange as and when we feel the need, or circumstances dictate. In reading Rettberg’s “Seeing ourselves through technology: How we use selfies, blogs and wearable devices to see and shape ourselves” we are presented with the theory that it is not, perhaps, so much about censorship, but about presenting an alternate persona of our choice to the world. Whether it be to gain acceptance, to create an image, to impress or impersonate, our reality is seen through the personas or ‘filters’ that we create.
While we are filtering and presenting our alternate selves to the world, the world is filtering information back to us based on that image. These filters exist technologically, culturally and cognitively. Search engines make decisions on what information our searches pull up based on our history, Facebook posts advertisements on our page based upon personal information that we have shared, group pages we follow, our friends and our profiles, Pinterest recommends pins that we may be interested in based on previous pins…the list goes on. In short, technology shapes our reality; skews our reality and through personalizing, in actuality, limits our reality.
In a similar vein, cultural and cognitive filters can have the same limiting effect. We each have our own cognitive and cultural biases based on our upbringing, education, and measure of ‘intelligence’. Bringing these biases to the education system can be detrimental to our students, as it may prevent us from considering alternate explanations, possibilities or methods.
As educators we need to break through the filters of our own creation in order to avoid living through the filters of the outside world.
Walker Rettberg, J. (2014). Seeing ourselves through technology: How we use selfies, blogs and wearable devices to see and shape ourselves. Berkshire: Palgrave Macmillan