Posted on 11 July 2010 Sunday

I went to breakfast this morning. It was a pretty quiet, relaxing meal except for this little girl at the table across from me who was dining with her dad and her sister. The girl had a loud, disruptive voice which I couldn’t ignore. She was asking her dad “if we could just get past this? Is it OK, dad, can we just move on?” The child wasn’t more than 6 years old. Dad gave her no verbal response and I was too astounded to look for a facial one. I wondered who she was parroting and how often this had been said to this little 6 year old girl.

For some reason, my mind took me to a recent conversation with my daughter in a parking lot at Walmart where we found ourselves in a situation, kinda having  forgotten where we’d parked. My daughter said when she was a little girl, she thought that parents had some kind of string they used to help them get back to their cars. I also remembered she and her brothers asking if we could go to ‘a theater near you’ because, after all movies were always showing “at a theater near you”.

Ah, the things children create to make sense of the world around them.

And it’s not just children, we adults find ways to make sense as well. Isn’t that what education is all about, making sense of our world: understanding how to measure angles, why fish don’t talk and why sugar is sweet? It doesn’t always work out so well if we figure things out on our own. We may continue to believe some crazy things for a really long time unless we join classes, read books or listen to others. Are you starting to wonder where I’m going with this? I’m going back to collaborating and what a powerful way it is to learn. I had a couple of interesting responses last week (yes, two is a lot for me and this little blog!) and the topic is on my mind, so I thought I’d explore it just a bit further.

I’m about to collaborate on a presentation with Doret and Amy at the National Diversity in Libraries Conference (#NDCL2010) and I’ll be talking about social networking in schools. I’m also collaborating with Doret and Ari on an upcoming interview with Greg Neri, author of the upcoming Yummy, based upon an actual event(<—this is worth clicking. It’s a link to a story in Time magazine about the real Yummy ). The Internet gave us the power to ‘meet’ without ever really meeting (yet!), to learn from each other and share ideas. At the surface, that’s all social networking is. (This link takes you to the post popular social networking sites.) It’s also a tool for teaching. Blogs and wikis are fantastic teaching tools!  They help us get students beyond teacher led classrooms and divisive ‘us’ against ‘them’ politics to share information and ideas and work together to come to an understanding, create a project or discuss a topic. Some classes are even using Facebook and MySpace in educational ways. Yes, this requires a high degree of planning and foresight on the part of adults, but in using these tools in the classroom students can learn better and safer ways to use these sites to connect. (A Facebook like environment for classroom sharing,)

School, public and academic librarians teach this stuff so we can connect with the community we serve. We also teach it because collecting and sharing information is what we do. We can teach you how to find it in a book, on YouTube or using a search engine.

When we as adults wonder the world of FB or Twitter or Flckr, we connect with others and begin to build our PLNs. We find people we can connect with (like Doret, Ari and Amy) to help us figure things out and the world isn’t quite so crazy anymore.

Twitter tutorial

teaching with iPhones

20 reasons why students should blog

teaching with twitter

We’ve got a lot of work to do to be sure our children of color are prepared for the world out there. Whether they’re going to college or getting a job, they need to know how to connect and collaborate. Along with knowing how to dress, how to complete a job application or think critically, they need to be prepared for job interviews on Skype or instant messengers, communicating with professionals via email, scanning and uploading documents and using electronics professionally in the work environment. My mind wonders to Yummy and painfully considers how he learned to make sense of his world.

I think I”m rambling! Let me leave you with this interesting social networking site called 43things. Go there and meet people who share your interest in whatever it is that interests you.

Enjoy your week!

Posted in: Sunday Reads