Week 10: Erik Duval Learning in a time of abundance

By Duval
Nov 14, 2011

The coming week, I will be ‘facilitating’ a #change 11 session on ‘learning in time of abundance’…

I put ‘facilitating’ between quotes, because I am not completely sure what will happen or what I’m supposed to do – kind of like what often happens to me in Real Life too … As in most courses I ‘teach’, I expect that I will be the one who learns most…

What I mean with the term abundance is that, for most of us, we now live in a world of plenty, mostly as a consequence of Moore’s law and its many variations regarding processing power, memory capacity, network connections, etc.

One result is that we are now more connected than ever before.
We are connected to the digital networks, with bandwidth available virtually everywhere.
We are connected to information, to the extent that it has become as much a problem as an affordance in the form of information overload or filter failure.
We are connected to one another, through email (40 years old), mobile messaging, and of course social media.
We are connected to all sorts of things, sensors that can track much of what we do, in a quantified self kind of way (see also the Copenhagen Wheel, the jawbone up, runkeeper, etc.).
Secondly, these connections offer us opportunities to be much more open and transparent in how we live and work and learn. This has obvious consequences for how we do research: think open access, but also much more radical open science or science2.0 tools and initiatives.
The third effect that I see is that it has turned our world into one which is ‘always on’. Think of the #change 11 experience itself: there is no obvious start or end the way that used to be the case when we had ‘classes’. Learning happens all the time, kind of everywhere (including, of course, twitter and facebook, if you want to start exploring).
In this week, I’d like to explore how this abundance and the ‘connected, open and always on‘ world it has created influences what and how we learn and teach. If our students will live in an even much more abundant world (Moore’s law is exponential!), then we need to prepare them to leverage that abundance – we should certainly not exclude it from our classrooms!
Really big caveat: of course, all of this abundance talk is only relevant to us who are the privileged few, who do not need to worry about where we will sleep this evening, or how we will feed our children…
OK – off we go: looking forward to learn with you all!

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