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kombu and beans

I've heard that kombu is a good addition when cooking dried beans, so I
picked some up at the HFS, and now I have absolutely no idea what to do
with it!  I have big dried strips of the stuff, and now I could use some
guidance on how much to use, say, in a crockpot full of beans, do I
rinse that powdery white stuff off the surface, does it get soaked
before adding it to the pot or just thrown in dry, and if it's soaked,
do you add the soaking water too....  I'd appreciate advice from an
experienced person.