Children & Technology

Visual Literacy and Cartoons

My four-year-old was recently introduced to The Pink Panther by his grandfather. One of his favorite things to do is snuggle up with Papa and watch an episode of the wordless cartoon and laugh at the various antics of the clever panther. While he was watching one day it occurred to me that watching these wordless (or nearly wordless in the 1990’s version) cartoons was teaching my son about visual literacy. 

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Bridging the Gap on Educational Apps

Part of our role as Children’s Librarians is to help parents navigate the plethora of options available for early education on a digital platform. While these apps have lots of potential when used with parental guidance, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming for parents to sort through. This is where we can step in with exposure to free or low-cost educational apps that are readily available for use on mobile devices. Many library systems have a tablet device for use with programs or roving reference services. This device can also be used to assist parents and their children in testing educational apps before they commit to them. Our library is moving towards a model where mounted tablets would allow the staff to rotate educational apps every few weeks or so, allowing for a wide variety of educational apps to be experienced by our customers. This arrangement allows for librarians to…

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Media Mentorship: In Three Parts

Media Mentorship has been a buzz word in children’s librarianship for a while. While it can still cause some disagreement, we’ve generally resolved that it’s important for children’s librarians to embrace as part of their role. Many contend, myself included, that we’ve always been media mentors – that the only real change has been the medium through which media is being conveyed. Even still, it can be tricky to navigate what about these new mediums to focus on as librarians. I’ve been working with a group of librarians out of Central Maryland, along with Lisa Guernsey from New America and Elaine Czarnecki of Resources in Reading to develop a training toolkit for library systems around the topic of Media Mentorship and we’ve broken the concept of Media Mentorship down into three categories for easier understanding.   Media Mechanics – How do I work this? We’ve long acknowledged that it’s important…

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Wearable Tech Programming

The ALSC Children’s and Technology Committee is always looking for great program ideas to use technology with kids. My co-worker, Phyllis Davis, has become the STEAM Queen at my library district and I knew she’d be the perfect person to talk about soft circuits and wearable tech programs at the Library. Phyllis Davis is the Youth Services Manager at The Library Station, part of the Springfield-Greene County Library District in Springfield Missouri.  What got you interested in doing wearable tech programs for kids? My interest in wearable tech and soft circuits began when I worked at the Matteson Public Library in Illinois about six years ago.  Makerspaces were in their infancy in public libraries.  We were buying 3-D printers and trying out all kinds of activities found in Make magazine.  I happened upon the work of Leah Buechley at the High Low Tech Group at M.I.T.  She is the inventor of…

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Website Content Curation

One of the ALSC competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries is to create and maintain “…a physical and digital library environment that provides the best possible access to materials and resources for children of all cultures and abilities and their caregivers.” While providing a physical environment can appear a more stable though still challenging undertaking, maintaining a digital library environment is a constantly changing task, requiring ongoing assessment and modification.

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Girl Empowerment Month Websites

This week the world celebrated the International Day of the Girl and it also happens to be Girl Empowerment Month in my city. As a result I was on the hunt for online communities where girls can connect and learn about women making a difference. I’m planning a female skateboarding event at my library and was encouraged to see websites like She Plays We Win that featured girl athletes sharing their stories. While there are a large amount of organizations and websites that support and empower young women in various disciplines like STEAM education, I chose to highlight three that I felt were engaging and entertaining. New Moon Girls Many libraries carry the publication New Moon Girls alongside other magazines like Muse and Girls’ Life. New Moon Girl Media sought to provide a safe online community minus the advertisements for its readers. Although the membership comes with a paid print…