I would have liked to learn more about Learning in Times of Abundance, but haven’t been able to keep up with that tyrannical weekly schedule of the Change11 MOOC. I was able to take in only a bit of information that week and plan to revisit the topic at the end of the month. I did get enough information to realize that the abundance issue is quite relevant to language learning, as English Language learners can absolutely immerse themselves in content these days. I also really enjoyed listening to Erik Duval speak. He comes across not as someone with an agenda or a particular view to promote, but rather with the moral backing of someone who is simply listening to and describing the situation.
So, speaking of morals, there is that whole issue of the Tyranny of Obligation that Jenny Mackness brought up. I strongly agree with her post and would recommend anyone interested in the subject, or anyone who considers lurkers to be unfortunately unapologetic, to read it for a very valid and important viewpoint. I did want to make a couple of supplemental points, however.
One of the points Jenny keeps making is that she is not saying that sharing is bad. This position doesn’t claim that, and to argue that sharing should be considered an ethical obligation because it is good and useful, misses the point. It would be almost impossible to understand what such an obligation means. Should I have to tell everyone I know about what I learned from reading Jenny’s post? Or, as Dean mentions in his comment, if ‘share’ is meant in the broadest term possible…is the imperative meant for hermit educators? I don’t think either was intended by the video, however it doesn’t distinctly draw any line for the limits of obligated sharing. For it to be an obligation it needs such a defined line.
The line is drawn by the limits of our technology, and this isn’t a good thing. This declaration of obligation is, to me, an example of what it means to be infatuated by technology. It is when we let technology and media decide for us things like ethics and best practices, that we are at the mercy of our media; when we are under our technology, being controlled by it rather than above it, commanding it. Social Media and communication technology allow for increased sharing, that doesn’t make it something we ought to do. No doubt that sharing is good, let me state that again…that’s a great message in Dean Shareski’s video. It goes too far, tough. A better way to explain this is to suggest that effective educator practices and sound course design can maximize the benefits of sharing in situations that call for it, which is probably a high degree in a lot of situations. The placement of that line needs to be left up to the learner and educator them self.
I would hope that this type of movement doesn’t become full-blown. Not because sharing is bad, but because an ethical obligation like this tied to an educational theory or an approach, would weigh it down as an ideology.