[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjroyVI8El4&hl=en&fs=1&rel=0] This is the video my son is watching right now. Earlier today, he wandered into my office holding a math book with a confused look on his face. One look at the page of quadratic graphs led BOTH of us to have confused looks on our faces. First thing I did after fumbling through the pages of the book trying to figure this stuff out, was to search on Google for solutions, but I got really awful results (so much darn SEO crap). So I turned, in desperation, to Twitter:

quadratic equations

And got back multiple replies: offers for help, introductions to professional tutors online, links to websites and suggestions for resources (including the awesome YouTube video above from YourTeacher.com).

Within minutes, my son was watching the video on YouTube and went from utter confusion to 'a-ha!' - disempowered to empowered. And all that needed to be in place was:

  • People who are generous and wonderful enough to spend the time to create these awesome resources online (for free!) to empower kids.
  • Generous and knowledgeable friends in my network.

Okay, so it's not as simple as I make it sound, but this is the most powerful personal experience I've had on the web in a long time. It solved a real-world problem and made a huge difference in the life of my son, who I care about more than anything. This is the real promise of the social web. Let's not forget that.