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robertogreco : jadabumrad   7

ISTE | Learning happens in a zigzag – and that’s OK
"Jad Abumrad is quick to say he doesn’t feel comfortable giving educators advice, and yet his career in radio touches on many topics educators are familiar with.

Tinkering. Curiosity. Messy experiences. Failing forward. Transformation.

Abumrad, host and creator of public radio’s “Radiolab,” will be the opening keynote speaker at ISTE 2017.

“I firmly believe that if the act of teaching could be closer to the act of living, that would be a good thing,” Abumrad said.

“Teaching and learning shouldn’t be things that happen in an artificial space," he said. "They should happen in as messy and chaotic a way as the rest of our life happens.”

Sounds like he speaks ISTE.

On tinkering.

Abumrad has said that “Radiolab” was a product of his tinkering with an idea for a show that would include dialogue, sound effects, music and interviews. Educators might call it inductive learning, and the idea of tinkering certainly connects with today’s makerspaces.

But what Abumrad knows for sure is that tinkering can help learners externalize their thinking “by fumbling around to find the other piece of your idea.”

He recalls tinkering around to solve the problem of defining a radio show without using a theme song, but instead by using sound. He spent hours creating 25 versions of layered voices and glitchy edits that would play at the top of “Radiolab.” It became a signature of the show.

“I feel a lot of my own development has been like that. The material somehow teaches you something and you keep tinkering until it feels good,” Abumrad explained.

On curiosity.

It’s an education industry debate. Can curiosity and creativity be taught? Abumrad says, based on his experience, the answer is “yes.”

He says “Radiolab” co-host Robert Krulwich turned him on to the idea that nothing propels you like a really well-asked question. “If you have a good question, you have tension and suspense. It’s like having booster rockets on,” Abumrad said. “I’ve learned that if you surround yourself with people who are relentlessly curious, you begin to get that practice and get that muscle.”

He describes it as having a sense of unease about the information that’s being provided and then pressing to know the question behind the question.

“I didn’t start by being someone who woke up and had a relentless curiosity about the world. I worked with people who do, and I just sort of stole their moves,” Abumrad said. “We need to allow kids to understand what it feels like to have a question and then give them permission to ask it.”

On messy experiences.

As a self-proclaimed late bloomer, Abumrad acknowledges that he didn’t learn in a straight line, but rather stumbled his way through things, wishing along the way that others were familiar with the way he learned.

“Learning happens in a strange zigzag that’s not neat. We try to clean it up and make it a set of facts, but it’s not that way.”

In his experience, if there was room for learning to be messy, it might be more interesting for students.

On failing.

“Radiolab” listeners have become accustomed to the show’s cadence. The interviews are not always clean. Speakers stumble. There are pauses. Flubs are part of the vibe.
Abumrad says those mistakes make the show more authentic and acknowledge the unnatural artifice that exists when people are placed in a studio in front of mics and separated by panes of glass.

Mistakes happen and they don’t have to be edited out. Imagine if that thinking were applied to learners.

“If you start in a prosaic place and think, ‘what’s going on here,’ and you fumble and you ask the dumb questions that get you to the next questions, and you don’t pretend you know more than you know and you flail through the dark until you hit on something ... the spirit of the show is more of a stumble than a podium-style presentation,” Abumrad described.

And he thinks that willingness to make mistakes is beneficial, even scientific.
“Nothing we do is definitive. We do our best and we try to get everything right, but at the end of the day, every sentence that comes out of our mouths is provisional. And that’s how science is.”

On transformation.

The New York Times asked Abumrad why anyone would create a new aesthetic for the retrograde form that is radio. A similar question could be asked of the education system. Why attempt to change the factory model?

Abumrad said his contribution to transforming radio was inadvertent, based in trying to do something others hadn’t and rooted in his experience as a musician.

But he pondered the question, why try and change the way things are taught?

“I actually think the way things are taught is a little like how I feel about any meeting I go to. You can have a plan for a meeting, but every third meeting, you have to throw the plan away. You have to blow it up.

“Teaching is one of those things that inherently has to be blown up every few years. By its essential nature, it should be continually rethought because in some sense, the act of learning should embody the spirit of learning. And the people doing the teaching should be constantly learning how to recalibrate. I feel like the idea of blowing up your preconceived forms should just be something that has to happen – like every quarter.”"
2017  jadabumrad  sfsh  learning  howwelearn  tinkering  failure  transformation  messiness  radiolab  nonlinear  non-linear  alinear  linearity 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Chumbawamba Principle: A Commencement Address : Krulwich Wonders... : NPR
"It's time to design a version of yourself that might work. That might make you happy…To Become Somebody ... defined by you…

In high school, in grade school, you didn't have to design yourself. The folks in charge were happy to do it for you. You were marched into a school building at age 3, 4 or 5, placed at a desk or put in a circle, inspected by your teachers. And after that, you did what you were told, what everybody is told to do: Show up and learn stuff…

You can't always name the thing you're going to be. For most people it doesn't work that way. You have to back into it…

My second thought is that — and I'm sorry to tell you this — the designing never ends…

I've had to redesign myself so many times, I can't tell you how many…

Here's the point: When you are trying to create a version of yourself that will one day make you happy, half the battle is know your insides — know your pleasures.

And the other half is to know your outsides — to find allies, partners, mentors."
teaching  cv  adaptability  schools  interdisciplinary  interdisciplinarity  howwelearn  alternative  alternativeeducation  unorthodox  tcsnmy  chumbawambaprinciple  chumbawamba  deschooling  unschooling  schooliness  education  self-knowledge  happiness  work  learning  collegeoftheatlantic  2012  commencementspeeches  robertkrulwich  self-defintion  failure  mistakes  yearoff2  yearoff  change  self-reinvention  reinvention  radiolab  jadabumrad  why  yesbut  whynot  commencementaddresses 
june 2012 by robertogreco
How 'Radiolab' Is Changing the Sound of the Radio - Alexis Madrigal - Technology - The Atlantic
"What's different about Radiolab (&…changing about the web) is that it *is* a production…one of a very new kind. Radiolab is actually post-blog & post-livestream…not aping oratory of old or raggedness of new…a hybrid that takes lessons from the past, recent & deep.

That's where…web journalism is headed…"No one wants to read a 9,000-word treatise online. On the Web, one-sentence links are as legitimate as 1000-word diatribes—in fact, they are often valued more."

While this might have been true at one point, it simply no longer is…at The Atlantic, there is a very strong positive correlation between length of post & readers attracted. The genre conventions of blogging are changing. Few old-style linkblogs exist & a whole culture has developed around the longread. New online publications…look beautiful.

This is the Radiolab effect extended: expect less pretension to authority, greater understanding of one's nodeness, but greater respect for the production culture of the pre-web era."
post-livestream  post-internet  pretension  radiolabeffect  robertkrulwich  twitter  blogging  journalism  storytelling  productionvalues  authority  longformjournalism  longform  theatlantic  online  web  radio  alexismadrigal  jadabumrad  2012  radiolab 
january 2012 by robertogreco
Jad Abumrad, Radiolab’s ‘genius’ storyteller, on what public radio needs now: ‘more joy, more chaos’ » Nieman Journalism Lab
How do you hang on to a successful formula while also trying to break free from it?

“I think about Stefan Sagmeister,” the Austrian graphic designer, “who every six years, I think it is, seven years, he just quits his life and moves to some distant spot on the globe and just throws himself into some new art and comes back, refreshed. I think to myself, how can I do that without actually leaving?” he said.

“It’s also going to be about, frankly, it’s going to be about sucking, you know? The only way to really loosen the reins a little bit is to say to yourself, ‘Let’s do an experiment that makes me actually deeply nervous, because it could be bad.’ I’m prepared to suck for awhile.”…

“It needs more joy. It needs more chaos. It needs more anarchy. And it needs more moods. The range of human experiences is covered and reported about on NPR, but it’s not reflected in the tone, and it’s not reflected in the style…"
radiolab  radio  npr  jadabumrad  2011  stefansagmeister  sabbaticals  cv  risktaking  sucking  chaos  anarchy  messiness  work  disruption  thisamericanlife  iraglass  anarchism 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Transom » Radiolab: An Appreciation by Ira Glass
"Artists compete. Not head to head like athletes, but in their souls. Within the appreciation of our fellow artists is the tiny wince, “I wish I’d done that.”

Ira Glass joins us again on Transom, this time for a loving and envious homage to our friends at Radiolab, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich. A radio master salutes his comrades.

The great thing about Ira’s analysis is that it’s so detailed. He breaks down exactly what’s so good about Radiolab and why. You could almost learn the tricks and do it yourself. Almost. Honestly, though, you’d lose. It’s better sometimes just to appreciate."
art  science  media  storytelling  jadabumrad  iraglass  robertkrulwich  2011  radio  thisamericanlife  radiolab 
september 2011 by robertogreco
On The Media: Transcript of "The 'Decline Effect' and Scientific Truth" (May 13, 2011)
[Great story told with Jad Abumrad, Robert Krulwich, and Jonah Lehrer]

"Surprising and exciting scientific findings capture our attention and captivate the press. But what if, at some point after a finding has been soundly established, it starts to disappear? In a special collaboration with Radiolab we look at the 'decline effect' when more data tells us less about scientific truth."

[From the "Data Show": http://www.onthemedia.org/episodes/2011/05/13 See also "The Personal Data Revolution" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/01 AND "Data Journalism" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/02 AND "Two Cautionary Data Tales" http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/05/13/03 ]

[See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect ]
declineeffect  2011  radiolab  jonahlehrer  jadabumrad  robertkrulwich  psychology  observation  science  research  statistics  data  reality  truth  perception  placebos  observereffect 
may 2011 by robertogreco
How 'Radiolab' Is Transforming the Airwaves - NYTimes.com
"they seem to share is a blend of curiosity & skepticism, willingness to be convinced—& delight in convincing."

“Normally reporter goes out & learns something, writes it down & speaks from knowledge…Jokes & glitches puncture illusion of all-knowing authority, who no longer commands much respect these days anyway. It’s more honest to “let audience hear & know that you are manufacturing a version of events…

“It’s consciously letting people see outside frame…those moments are really powerful. What it’s saying to listener is: ‘Look, we all know what’s happening here. I’m telling you a story, I’m trying to sort of dupe you in some cosmic way.’ We all know it’s happening—& in a sense we all want it to happen.”

This is how “Radiolab” addresses tension btwn authenticity & artifice: capturing raw, off-the-cuff moments…& editing them in gripping pastiche…hope…is to preserve sense of excitement & discovery that often drains away in authoritative accounts of traditional journalism."
via:lukeneff  radiolab  radio  npr  robertkrulwich  jadabumrad  2011  storytelling  science  journalism  classideas  authority  authenticity  humility  humor  fun  artifice  attention  engagement  curiosity  skepticism  convincing  knowledge  honesty  uncertainty  perspective  teaching  knowing  understanding  transparency 
april 2011 by robertogreco

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