Post #1 — Disconnected

24 01 2008

In class, Michael mentioned that kids are constantly connected to each other and the Internet — until they walk into a school, where they have to unplug and learn through mostly traditional teaching methods.

The discussion made me think of an article in Computer World last May called “Are iPod-banning schools cheating our kids?” The article is Mike Elgan’s response to school districts that have banned iPods out of fear that kids will use them to cheat on tests, or because they already have used them to cheat. In the article, Elgan says:

By banning iPods, we’re preparing our kids for a world without the Internet, a world without iPods, a world without electronic gadgets that can store information. But is that the world they’re going to live in?

Elgan argues that in the real world, information retrieval skills are more valuable than memorization. So I’m thinking, “Who better to teach kids, teachers, parents, and pretty much everyone in town about information retrieval and cool new gadgets than librarians?” We’re trained for just this sort of thing (or at least, we will be).

Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, most people aren’t banging on the school/public/academic library doors begging to be taught information retrieval skills. So it falls on us, the librarians*, to convince whoever will listen that these types of skills are vital — and not just in schools, but everywhere, to everyone. Being connected isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s the new way of living, and librarians have a chance to show people how it’s done.

–Laura

*This is the cue for the librarians to pull out their “superhero” badges and lead the way. Superhero capes are optional. But recommended.

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