Thursday, June 9, 2016

Google Micro-lessons

I just opened google and saw an adorable scene of birds in trees and a birdwatcher looking at them. When I scrolled over the scene, it said "Phobe Snetsinger's 85th Birthday" with this link to further information. There, I could see at a glance that she  was an American bird-watcher famous for having seen and documented birds of over 8,000 different species of birds. She lived from 1931 to 1999. Fron there, another link to me to her intriguing-sounding book,  Birding on Borrowed Time and saw that "Phoebe's quest to see as many birds as possible only began at the age of 34, when she first laid eyes on a resplendent Blackburnian Warble."

So - let's do the math; She lived to be 68.  She started watching birds when she was 34 - halway through her life.  That means that in about 34 years, she documented more than anyone else had at that point: Birds of more than 8,000 different species. Even to a non-bird-watcher, I know: That's a lot of bird-watching! 

That's a lot of determination. People find this kind of thing striking, and inspiring.  And google knows it.  They give us a bit of inspiration, along with some historical facts on people or events every day. They use a visual for engagment, to draw us in. And let us do the rest; relate to our own experiences, think about determination, look at something with new eyes.

Google gives us micro-lessons every day. We take them for granted, but there are so many ways they could be used. A daily writing prompt, or art prompt. Math questions; if she viewed 8,000 species in 34 years, on average how many did she view a year? Each month? Geography questions, science questions....limitless. Next time you need something quick and engaging, remember google. A micro-lesson a day, for any learner. 

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