The tools that we have in today’s libraries and classrooms are just amazing. Gone are the days where you have to look for an expert in the local community that can leave his or her job long enough to come to a school to speak to a whole class or an individual. While that is certainly possible, the collaborative tools we have online make the entire world our local community.
Today, a 4th grader came to the library to hold an interview with Joey Shea at Southface Energy in Atlanta. Danny is doing an inquiry project for his 4th grade class. He recently read a book about energy that made him very curious about how energy can disappear and what we might need to do in the future in order to conserve energy or find new ways of producing energy. His teachers found Mr. Shea and began an email dialogue with him to setup a time to Skype or Google Hangout with Danny. Danny worked on a list of questions, and I setup the technology side of things. I communicated with Mr. Shea in a few emails to determine that we would use a Google Hangout. I setup a Hangout on Air so that Danny could record the interview to refer back to in his researcher.
For 30 minutes, Danny setup in my office and talked with Joey Shea. It was awesome. Danny was the leader through the whole interview, and Mr. Shea even got a chance to ask him some questions about our school and his project. I love that when students interview someone through Skype, Google Hangout, or Facetime that it doesn’t intrude very much on that person’s schedule. I also love that students see the person in their own setting and often get to see parts of a career that couldn’t be carried into a school.
I don’t think that this happens often enough. I hope that we will continue to find opportunities to connect young learners with experts in the world. It empowers them to realize that they have a voice in seeking answers to their questions and it connects adults with the young learners of today to remind them of the upcoming generations and their curiosities.
Thank you to all of the teachers who help make these experiences happen and thank you to people like Joey Shea for taking time to connect.