5-year-olds, teenagers, and Web 2.0

The past week or so has been difficult for many parents in Houston – they headed back to work, but HISD was closed until today. What to do with the kids?!?

I had the joy of spending Thursday, Friday, and Monday with a 5-year-old named Aidan. We built a fort, hunted for snails and worms outside, looked at pictures of sea dragons on-line, and tried to figure out what “days” and “months” are…all while I was trying to get at least a little bit of work done. My efforts were nearly futile; this kid is awesome.

What really struck me about him was the spongy nature of his mind. He picks up on *everything*, asks question after question until he can connect some more dots, and always wants to know more. I was comparing him to my high-school students: it often seems like they’ve lost this hunger for knowledge. Yes, it “seems” that way…..but it’s still there! We just need to remember that, at their age, it’s not always cool to ask questions, it’s not always cool to want to learn.

Enter: Web 2.0.

Our teenagers can once again ask endless questions, eagerly seek out more and more information, and explore deeper than they’ve ever been able to before, and all of it can be anonymous if desired. Much of the process is even disguised as purely “social” activity, so that those averse to “learning” might even be tricked into it! At last, the shyly-inquisitive, or even just uninformed, teenage mind can come out and see the sun.

It is our job, as educators, to provide them with the tools to help them along their journeys.

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Filed under Education, Education 3.0, Web 2.0

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