We need to be modern day librarians for our kids

Wikipedia and the huge databanks of information have basically eliminated the library as the best resource for anyone doing amateur research (grade school, middle school, even undergrad). Is there any doubt that online resources will get better and cheaper as the years go by? Kids don’t schlep to the library to use an out-of-date encyclopedia to do a report on FDR. You might want them to, but they won’t unless coerced.

They need a librarian more than ever (to figure out creative ways to find and use data). They need a library not at all.
— Seth Godin (Stop Stealing Dreams)

I resonate with this quote a lot. We live in a world where information is accessible to everyone. This is obvious. But what is not obvious is how to find the information I need from the clutter of everything I don't. It is like mining.  When we find the authentic bits, we need to preserve it and share it.

In the connection and information economy, we need to teach our children how to discover information that is authentic. We need to build those tools. 

In fact, I believe each of us should be curators of information but we can't. Unfortunately not all of us question our sources. Not all of us has challenge the status quo. Not all of us dig deeper. In that case, how are we able to teach that to our children? So does the destiny of our children and future society depend on those few parents and teachers who have the skills and guts? Unfortunately, I feel the answer will be yes, at least for the near term.

So, new age librarians are important. They are people who have the skills to curate the web. They have the skills to build the tools to curate the web. They have the skills to teach everyone to curate the web. If you have such skills, the society needs you more than ever. Our children need you. And, we are counting on you on you to show up, and reveal yourself. We are counting on you to take the problem head on.

Some (startup) schools are tackling this. But, they are few and they are costly. We can easily scale this if us, those with skills, start caring more, and show up. 

 

Let's teach our kids to dream

Let’s talk about math and science and kids. Why should your kid do advanced mathematics? Why is it important for your child to understand probability at age 10 and calculus at age 13? Ivy League schools, advanced degrees, good jobs, high salaries, etc? 

The problem is that we teach our kids our way of thinking and if we are not self-aware of our limited thinking, we end up doing a great disservice to the children. There are advanced math centers everywhere around my house. One day I walked into one and asked them why should my son do advanced mathematics? The director of that school said - to stay competitive and go to good schools.

Here is the thing about math and science. The reason I want my child to understand math and science is because they are best way describe our Universe. That’s it. No Ivy leagues. I want my child to love the Universe and ponder about its workings. Then, the tools come and they will stick with him because he has found the need for them.

Education is changing. We live in a world of makers. We live in a world of creators and connectors and inventors. Information is open and knowledge is everywhere. Nobody can stop a passionate learner. Nobody can hide tools from a passionate tinkerer. The world is not what it was ten years back. Then, why are our teaching methods still the same?

We don’t teach kids to dream these days. Schools are designed to make them conformists and good citizens of the society, which has some value. However, that is not enough. The most powerful thing children have that most adults do not is their unbounded dreams. And, a deep belief that their dreams are possible. Slowly with every interaction, we dowse those dreams and replace it with limited thinking that we call pragmatism.

Every child needs to dream. I wish there is a dreaming hour in every school where the only thing the child does is to day dream. And, then they share their day dreams with others around them. And, then they break into groups and talk about similar dreams and what it means. We need it. Badly. 

 

Maybe schools won’t do it. Because it is eerily unstructured for them. Be we can do it at our homes. Right?