Who Among Us is Explicitly Tasked with Helping Children Learn to Teach Themselves?

I would suggest that “YOU NEED OUR LIBRARIES!”

From the Texas Library Association web site

One of the upcoming events I especially look forward to is the Texas Library Association Conference in Austin. I’ll be part of a series of presentations for administrators about libraries and their evolving and increasing importance in a mouse-click world.

One component of my message came to me about a week ago during a conversation with someone who works with librarians across the country. I did not know her before this conversation, and so, do not remember her name now. It takes two meetings for me to remember someone’s name. No stickiness left in my brain.

During that conversation she said something to me that did stick. She suggested that for high school students, who are going on to college, the school librarian is perhaps the most important teacher they will have. I think that this was a gross understatement.

We talk hard about life-long learning, but I do not believe that it is figuring in to the procedures, policies, and pedagogies of formal education nearly as much as it should. Today, with everything changing so fast, the ability and proclivity to learn is as critical as the basic literacies were in my time.  Perhaps they should be the same thing — learning and literacy.

I often ask people, especially non-educators, “How much of what you do in your job or profession, did you learn in high school?” “..in college?”  “In the last five years?”  “In the last month?” How much of living and working today is significantly dependent on our ability to learn? Imagine education focusing less on what’s been taught, and much much more on skilled, curious, resourceful, and habitual learning. Imagine a generation of super-charged learners embracing a day and time when almost anything is possible.

Coming back around, what educator in today’s schools, holds, as an explicit part of their mission, helping children learn to teach themselves. Why it’s librarians, those educators who are too often among the first to be laid off in order to balance budgets.

Such a sad and tragic lack of vision.

About My New Header

Personas sifts through references and through a natural language process, characterizes netizens with your name.

I pulled it out of a Twitter message that linked to Personas, a project of the MIT Media Lab.

Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit, currently on display at the MIT Museum by the Sociable Media Group from the MIT Media Lab. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you.

The header is, in a sense, the DNA of my network foot print.  It’s not foolproof, by any means.  When I type in “David Warlick,” it sniffs out all reachable references to any David Warlick.  So I had to take a little time to digitally delete all indications of outstanding felony warrants and references to that black sheep branch of the family who were loyalists during that unpleasantness between the colony of North Carolina and Great Britain.

As Personas reports…

In a world where fortunes are sought through data-mining vast information repositories, the computer is our indispensable but far from infallible assistant. Personas demonstrates the computer’s uncanny insights and its inadvertent errors, such as the mischaracterizations caused by the inability to separate data from multiple owners of the same name. It is meant for the viewer to reflect on our current and future world, where digital histories are as important if not more important than oral histories, and computational methods of condensing our digital traces are opaque and socially ignorant.

Added on April 8, 2010

I recomputed my persona today, copied it as an image, replaced “david warlick” with “david warlick” in a font I could replicated, added in “2¢ Worth” in the same font, and then installed it as the new header of my blog, with absolutely no other refinements or deletions.  This is my digital networked foot print combined with everyone else out there who used “david warlick” as their name.  The networked world is messy, because we are messy — because we like it that way…

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