Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

One of my main criticisms of Mike Caulfield's approach to critical literacy is his emphasis on authenticating the source of news or information. That's the core of his 'four moves' algorithm: "stop, investigate the source, find better coverage, and trace claims, quotes, and media back to the original context." And that, I think, is the sense of advice to not 'go down the rabbit hole' in this NY Times article summarized by Aaron Davis. "It’s often counterproductive to engage directly with content from an unknown source, and people can be led astray by false information," writes Charlie Warzel. I disagree. If you're not willing to look at what an unknown source has to say, you're going to miss most of what could be said on any given topic. Yes, there are flakes. But there are also expressions of lived experience from the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the silenced. And this is as true in a subject like online learning is it is in news and politics - maybe even more true. What's important isn't finding sources to trust, but rather, hearing a diversity of sources, watching them interact with each other, and testing their ideas against our own experience.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Mar 31, 2021 01:56 a.m.