The rise of Edutainment, and its implications.

I came across this lit­tle arti­cle recent­ly from the NY Times, on the preva­lence of the broad­er gen­er­al pub­lic turn­ing to edu­ca­tion based enter­tain­ment for their down­time. Rather than mere­ly switch­ing off and not engag­ing their fac­ul­ties.

Let me quote from the article:

What does it mean when peo­ple who can afford to spend their time how­ev­er they please hun­ker down in front of their flat screens to watch the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cists or experts on oth­er sub­jects lec­ture for hours?

Entertainment val­ues have come to dom­i­nate many aspects of life, but anoth­er trend has been play­ing out, too. Call it the acad­e­m­iza­tion of leisure. It can be found in the live-stream­ing TED Talks lec­tures, the Great Courses, learn­ing vaca­tions, pod­casts, sci­ence cen­ters, brain-train­ing games and retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties like Lasell Village in Newton, Mass., whose res­i­dents must com­plete “a min­i­mum of 450 hours of learn­ing and fit­ness activ­i­ty each cal­en­dar year,”…

I find this real­ly fas­ci­nat­ing, cer­tain­ly the increase in ‘edu­tain­ment’ or more pos­i­tive­ly framed, the rise of a broad­ly edu­cat­ed pop­u­lace, is appeal­ing. In many ways hav­ing a broad­er edu­ca­tion and knowl­edge base helps peo­ple think from their own frame­works, and analyse per­spec­tives bet­ter. It should also help the gen­er­al pub­lic engage in bet­ter and jus­ti­fi­able pub­lic dis­course, rather than unsub­stan­ti­at­ed positions.

However, on the flip-side it also leads to a rise in the out­ward exem­pli­fi­ca­tion of the Dunning-Kruger effect, where a lit­tle knowl­edge actu­al­ly hin­ders engage­ment with longer term learn­ing and edu­ca­tion at a broad­er level.

Nevertheless, I am still opti­mistic about this trend, and will be inter­est­ed to see how it plays out. Thoughts? How do you see it work­ing in your context?

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