Mike Caulfield has a thoughtful blog post whose title alone is a nailing formula:

“Media Literacy Is About Where To Spend Your Trust. But You Have To Spend It Somewhere.”

This may seem to contradict Stephen Downes’s advice excerpted here:

“First rule: Trust no one. […] Don’t even trust me. Read this article sceptically. […] Did we see a tiger in the bush, or just black and orange stripes? It’s easy to jump to conclusions through bias and prejudice.

Take your time. Don’t jump to conclusions; evaluate the evidence.”

Tiger and magnifier

Picture credit (tiger): Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, CC-BY-SA

I think there is no contradiction, just another example of how our limited time and resources prohibit too much double-checking.

I like Caulfield’s term of ‘spending’ because this hints at the idea that trust is not (only) an idealistic concept from removed dreamers or verbose humanities scholars, but it can even be an economic idea: in our knowledge economy, it saves resources if I can trust someone’s information or judgment, rather than fetching external evidence. Or if a superior trusts me (rather than trying to check everything on his own).

And there is so much more connected to the idea of trust.

Early social bookmarking and blogging networks helped not only guarantee the validity but also the relevance of the recommended posts — before the cloaca of the ‘stream’ generated such a mess that everyone is now dependant on the platforms’ patronizing algorithms, whether we trust them or not.

Also the topic of my last post (see also Jenny Mackness’ covering), pedagogies of harmony and hope, which derived from a discussion on pedagogy of small and slow, can be related to trust which is, IMHO, an important ingredient of the described settings.

And finally, trust is distinctively human and cannot be learned by robots, since it grows from the early gaze ‘conversations’ where a baby learns about the world through the eyes of their mother (see here).

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2 Responses to Trust

  1. VanessaVaile says:

    I agree and suspect anyone who’s been at this for a while has zir own system, largely intuitive and internalized. I know I do. All the articulated systems both share elements and seem to contradict others. ‘sOK.

    When students are uncomfortable with a source, saying it feels biased — often less about “facts” than bias and loaded language — check it out. They are right more often than their instructors might want to except. That’s a lesson for us. Really listening is part of the trust package.

  2. x28 says:

    Thank you Vanessa for showing more from the “trust package”, and loaded language is a great point.

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