Institute 2014

Tech Access on a Budget at #ALSC14

Mary Ann Scheuer, Cen Campbell, Suzanne Flint, & Claudia Haines
led a wide-ranging discussion of tech in library children’s services, and how to afford it. They began with the core values of Accewss, engagement, creativity, and learning; and talked about how technology use fits into these values. They (and the audience) shared lots of examples of low and mid-cost uses of tech in the library that promote these values:

Access
app chats-Demonstrate and have a conversation in the library w/ parents & caregivers about using quality apps with their children in an engaged, developmentally appropriate way. Bonus points for incorporating the ECRR 5 Practices into shared parent/child tech use!
eReaders for students- libraries write grants to make a circulating collection of (eReaders and content) available to students
Community Tech Experts & Technology Sharing- Businesspeople and other community members with tech gear and know-how share their expertise, demo the equipment, etc.
Engagement
iPads in school library collections, to be used by students at recess and during class time, especially with intervention specialists. gives access to touch-screen devices to kids who don’t have them at home, and uses the attractive qualities of iPads to motivate students to engage in learning activities.
Creative storytime- use Keynote on the iPad to make slideshows to support/extend elements of the stories you read.
Denver ideaLAB- a media & tech makerspace where kids, tweens, & teens have workshops on web development, new media, robots, etc
Creativity
Mashups- using apps together, like a Fancy Nancy ebook and Smithsonian Dinosaur Stickers app to create Fancy Nancy & the Dinosaurs
MakeyMakey in Storytime/Preschool Programs- preschoolers are able to quickly grasp the ideas of conductive and non-conductive, and closed vs. open loops, when using MakeyMakeys to make music.

Next was a discussion on Funding for Tech in Libraries, as Mary Ann Scheuer asked questions of Suzanne Flint, who’s a “Funding Bureaucrat” from the CA State Library:

What are Funders looking for?
A really well thought-out idea, that explains how this idea matches my organizations funding goals, what need it’s meeting, and why this proposal is the best way to meet the need. What, specifically, will you do with the funds to meet the need? How will you demonstrate efficacy- that you did in fact successfully do what you said you would?

How do I find local foundations & funding sources?
Best place to start is the Foundation Center
Council on Foundations has a map to help locate philanthropists and foundations in a local area
grants.gov- all grants provided by the US Government

One thing Suzanne emphasized is the importance of thinking about outcomes for grant-funded tech projects. Proving efficacy is a major challenge for securing & justifying grant funds for library programs- how can you show success in creating the outcomes that were your goal?

Suzanne also shared her essential questions for projects involving New Media:
What does new media add? What’s the additional value? “Because it’s new” or “because it’s popular” is not enough.
Who benefits and how?
What developmental tasks or learning goals does it support?
Does it support engagement and content creation? Or is it promoting passive consumption?

Finally, the whole group shared their experiences (both successes and setbacks) in funding and using tech in libraries, asked one another questions, and shared resources.

Slides from this presentation are available at http://www.slideshare.net/mobile/maryannscheuer/tech-access-on-a-budget-alsc14

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