EdTechTalk Discussion of 'Learning in a Time of Abundance' (Chpt 2: Abundance)

The EdTechWeekly gang continues its discussion of Dave's new book, Learning in a Time of Abundance
This week: Chapter 2 - Abundance

Audio Recording     Transcript

We continue the conversation next week.
May 20, 2300 UTC (7pm EDT)
Global Times

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The team discussed the concept of abundance, particularly in relation to material and information goods, and its impact on the traditional teacher-student relationship and the role of education. They also explored the challenges of staying informed on various issues, the importance of critical thinking and information literacy, and the need for simplicity and transparency in recipe websites and cooking approaches. Lastly, they engaged in a lively discussion about the impact of music on society, the changing definition of authorship in the digital age, and their preferences for educational podcasts.

Discussing Abundance and Social Implications

Jeff, Jennifer, Dave, and John had a discussion centered around Dave's new book "Learning in a Time of Abundance." They explored the concept of abundance, particularly material abundance versus information abundance. Dave explained the difference between the two, emphasizing that while material abundance is finite, information abundance is not. The team shared their personal experiences of abundance and discussed the social implications of abundance and scarcity, using the example of a barbecue. They concluded that abundance offers more choices, while scarcity imposes rules and social expectations.

Disrupting Traditional Teacher-Student Relationships  From 07:50

Dave, Jeff, and John discussed the impact of easily accessible online information on the traditional teacher-student relationship and the role of education. Dave highlighted how the abundance of information online has changed the dynamic between teachers and students, as students can now easily find alternative sources to reinforce their own views, thereby reducing the teacher's authority. Jeff emphasized the importance of facilitating critical thinking and helping students sift through and evaluate different viewpoints. The group also discussed the need to redefine how learning and school success are measured in this new information landscape.

Critical Thinking and Information Literacy Discussion  From 14:25

Dave, Jeff, and Jennifer discussed the importance of critical thinking and information literacy in the face of an abundance of available information. They debated the value of relying on experts, such as Dr. Is in Jeff's example, to help sort through conflicting information and arrive at more reliable conclusions. Dave emphasized the need to teach people to be information literate and fluent, to better navigate and evaluate the vast amount of information available. The group also touched on the danger of taking information at face value and the role of education in promoting these skills.

Challenges in Literature Review Process  From 21:10

Dave, Jennifer, and John discussed the challenges students face in completing literature reviews and the information filtering process. Dave emphasized the need for a process-oriented approach to information acquisition, highlighting the importance of commitment and persistence in uncovering relevant material. Jennifer pointed out the difficulties in determining when to stop researching and the challenges of distinguishing between reputable sources and those that lack credibility. Both noted the need to teach students how to critically analyze and synthesize information effectively.

Navigating Information Overload and Engagement  From 28:00

Dave, Jennifer, John, and Jeff discussed the challenges of staying informed on various issues and the pressure to be knowledgeable about topics that are important to people. Dave expressed frustration about feeling overwhelmed and John highlighted the abundance of information which can lead to uncertainty and conflict. Jeff suggested that people's interest and care levels for a topic should determine their engagement with it, while also noting the rise of demagogues and the demand for simple, authoritative answers. The group also discussed the danger of aligning with a figure or group not for their ideas, but for the sense of belonging they provide.

Balanced News Sources and Research  From 37:20

John shared his realization that many of his previously trusted sources for balanced news, such as Associated Press, Reuters, and New York Times, have shifted to the left, making it challenging to find truly balanced reporting. Dave then shared his research on the safety of new pressure-treated lumber for use with vegetables, emphasizing the importance of fact-checking and considering multiple sources. Jeff added his trust in Dave's research and his appreciation for DW News and Al Jazeera for their informational content. The team agreed to continue exploring different sources for balanced reporting.

Simplifying Recipe Websites and Cooking Approaches  From 43:40

The group discussed the need for simplicity and transparency in recipe websites and cooking approaches. Jeff and Jennifer expressed frustration with the excess of unnecessary information often found on recipe sites. Dave introduced Kenji Lopez-Alt, a cookbook author who approaches cooking as a scientific experiment, emphasizing the importance of testing recipes under various conditions and providing detailed results. The group also highlighted the value of trusted sources like Kenji and Wikipedia for reliable information and the need for a slower approach to ensure clarity. Dave presented the results of an experiment and John shared about Kenji's podcast, which focuses on simple and efficient recipes.

Music's Impact on Society and Evolution  From 49:20

Jeff, Dave, and Jennifer engaged in a lively discussion about the impact of music on society and its evolution over time. Jeff argued that while the accessibility of music has increased, leading to a broader reach and more diverse interpretations, it has also resulted in a lack of effort to comprehend the lyrics. Dave supported Jeff's views while highlighting the benefits of the digital era, such as the abundance of music and the ease with which one can access it. Jennifer, on the other hand, pointed out the cultural significance of music and how it brings people together despite linguistic and geographical barriers. The conversation also touched upon the business side of music, with Taylor Swift's career being cited as an example of a successful artist who has leveraged her platform for personal and commercial growth.

Digital Authorship and CBC Radio News  From 58:00

Jennifer, John, Dave, and Jeff discussed the changing definition of authorship in the digital age, particularly the implications of manipulating digital content for authenticity and ownership. They also explored the difficulties in distinguishing authentic content from manipulated one, using examples such as political speeches. Lastly, John shared the news of the discontinuation of the CBC radio show 'Spark' after 15 years, expressing surprise as he recently started listening to the show, along with Nora Young's podcast. Jennifer agreed to investigate the reasons behind the show's cancellation.