Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Getting kids off-line (at least sometimes...)

This is great article to remind us that what we do on the Web only matters if it is connected to how we live, and is governed by the values of our communities and concern for our enviroment. (A good reminder for adults as well as children...I say as I blog in the evening after working 12 hours online....and how does this relate to our discussion of irony? ; )

Of course, the Web can be a part of our lives and can even improve our lives. But this also speaks well to the idea that nothing on the Web matters if it's not tied to real people doing real work. In case you don't feel like reading the article, I've posted a few meaty quotes below for your pleasure.

Charlotte's Webpage: Why children shouldn't have the world at their fingertips
by Lowell Monke
Orion Sept/Oct. 2005

"Structured learning certainly has its place. But if it crowds out direct, unmediated engagement with the world, it undercuts a child's education. Children learn the fragility of flowers by touching their petals. They learn to cooperate by organizing their own games. The computer cannot simulate the physical and emotional nuances of resolving a dispute during kickball, or the creativity of inventing new rhymes to the rhythm of jumping rope. These full-bodied, often deeply heartfelt experiences educate not just the intellect but also the soul of the child. When children are free to practice on their own, they can test their inner perceptions against the world around them, develop the qualities of care, self-discipline, courage, compassion, generosity, and tolerance—and gradually figure out how to be part of both social and biological communities."

"As the computer has amplified our youths' ability to virtually "go anywhere, at any time," it has eroded their sense of belonging anywhere, at any time, to anybody, or for any reason. How does a child growing up in Kansas gain a sense of belonging when her school encourages virtual learning about Afghanistan more than firsthand learning about her hometown?"

Ok, Erica here again: Obviously our answer is that public library Web sites do help kids learn about their local neighborhoods and activities in their local neighborhoods. It's all about local content, baby.


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