Another dot in the blogosphere?

Rabbit hole learning 

Posted on: September 13, 2021

I listened to the closing song that played at the end of season 2’s episode 8 of Ted Lasso. The song was familiar but I could not place its title or the band.

So I Googled “ted lasso episode 8 end song” (I only did a partial search because Google completed the rest of the search terms for me). The first return was this list.

After I played a snippet of the song from that list, I looked for Somewhere Only We Know on YouTube. 

Video source 

The video featured some creepy sprites in a forest that I did not care for. But thanks to YouTube’s algorithms, I dove deeper into the rabbit hole by watching this behind-the-scenes creation of a John Lewis advertisement. 

Video source 

This video used the same song as a backdrop to showcase some of the hard work that went into the beautiful storytelling in the ad.

I would normally highlight how the video was a good example of learning from the processes and not just focusing on the product. This time I point out how technology mediates learning. 

I had a question which was quickly answered with a search. Searching does not always guarantee valid and reliable results, but mine was a low level fact, so Google’s algorithms provided a spot-on return.

But another set of algorithms also offered me answers to questions I did not have. Going down a rabbit hole is an opportunity for exploratory and discovery-based learning. 

Most schools seem to have curricula or programmes that teach kids how to search. These are necessary given how search results depend on search strategies; current online information, disinformation, and misinformation; social media bubbles, etc.

But I wonder how schools are handling rabbit hole learning, if at all. I know of adults who consider kids doing deep dives on their favourite game or celebrity a waste of time. I do not know if teachers are taking advantage of natural curiosity and tempering it with a combination of discipline and smarts.

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