Featured Beta User, Educator Doug Peterson

I recently had the great pleasure to chat with one of our beta users, Doug Peterson. Doug is a retired high school teacher, current technology consultant, and sessional Instructor at the University of Windsor. Doug discovered Trapit after finding Zite. He’s drawn to services that provide serendipitous discovery because they have the potential to introduce him to unknown, high quality sources of information.

Without ways to encounter the unknown it’s easy to get into a rather static information consumption pattern (you read the same newspaper over coffee every morning). Doug suggested that while this doesn’t necessarily leave you uniformed as to what’s going on, it doesn’t provide much opportunity to find new perspectives as to what’s going on. Outlets generally report in anticipated ways over time and, as many lifelong learners should agree, variety is the spice of life.

I’ve been mulling over Trapit’s potential as a resource for educators (especially after our @TheEduTrap was recognized as a high quality resource on education), so I was curious to get Doug’s take on that idea as a teacher from the Ontario, Canada public school system. Says Doug:

In addition to being a good starting point for research, Traps are a useful way to follow a topic over time and provide a good way to easily compare and contrast various types of resources and their particular take on a topic (which appeals to me especially as an information literacy dork).

Imagined Assignment: Follow the online media coverage of the Syrian Uprising. How are various outlets discussing this event? Select sources that seem to have the highest quality information about this event and justify your selections. Additionally, how does the media coverage evolve over time?

One of the most valuable things about getting to talk to any of our users is getting the chance to ask for constructive feedback (fresh eyes are like gold when you work so closely with something). Doug’s main criticism of Trapit was that most of the resources coming through his traps seem to be United States based. He wanted a wider international spread, and in particular, more Canadian sources, since this supports a wider variety of perspectives (and greater serendipity).

After assuring him that we should have Canadian newspapers pretty well covered, discussing the unfortunate US centric nature of English language sources on the web, I promised to make a targeted push to find Canadian blogs. We’ve always envisioned Trapit as a tool for an International audience and we’re working hard to make sure our sources support that.

Thanks again Doug.


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