When I checked my email today I had a peculiar message from the United States Geological Survey about bloodstone and soda lite. Turns out that while my 8 year old daughter was researching rocks (their current science unit) she came across the ask a geologist link on the USGS website and used it to get some clarification on a few points about the above-mentioned rocks. When I called her to the computer, terribly excited that she had a response from a real geologist, she simply read the email, jotted down the pertinent facts and carried on. She expected to get a response and, now, she also has an expectation that she can and should be able to access not only information on the internet but also people who can clarify and expand upon that information.
At first those expecations floored me, but I have to admit my own expectations of the internet and learning have changed dramatically in the past 6 months. Through blogs, webcasts, Facebook and Twitter I have connected with a group of people who can clarify and put into context the information that I access. Keep in mind I am not an educator, or an IT professional and yet a university professor, a couple of Ed Tech integration specialists, a masters student, a fantastic teacher, other involved parents, a parent involvement advocate and many more have all answered my questions, encouraged my efforts and challenged my thinking. Their knowledge, experiences, expertise and sometimes silliness has made a huge difference in my ability to help with Ed Tech both at home and as a volunteer in the school.
My amazement has been what I thought a third grader getting a response from a real geologist would be. Our expectations are different. She expects what I could have only imagined. I wonder how schools and educators are ever going to manage and meet those expecations. The kids themselves are raising the bar and it looks pretty high from where I'm standing.