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From Dinosaur Robotics to Digital Storytelling: Incorporating Technology Into Summer Programming

The ALSC’s Children and Technology Committee is interested in hearing about your experiences with incorporating digital resources, social media, and technology into your summer programming.  We looked around and found some great ideas from our colleagues around the country.

Tech Labs

ALSC Stock Photo
ALSC Stock Photo

The Frederick County Public Libraries has STEM Lab, where children can drop in to learn about or use 3D printers, apps, robotic dinosaurs, or drones.  This is similar to Darien Library’s TEA Room, (TEA stands for Technology, Engineering, and the Arts).  There, students can reserve space to use media production equipment or take classes on Raspberry Pi, 3D Printing, etc.  These programs offer a nice balance of a space/time that is both free and unstructured or structured group projects and classes.

Tech Partnerships

ALSC Stock Photo
ALSC Stock Photo

King County Library System in Washington State has partnered with the Museum of Flight during the summer to offer tech program s such as Everyday Robot Heroes Science Workshop, Yes, It’s Rocket Science Workshop  or Rockets to the Moon Science Workshop.  These programs teach children about robotics or rockets and then allow them to build their own.  King County was able to tie these programs into their main promotional theme of the summer: superheroes!

Digital Storytelling

Outside of using e-books and apps during storytimes, digital storytelling can also describe various programming opportunities to get our patrons using simple media production tools to create, record, and share their own stories.  The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has the award winning My Storymaker site that helps children build their own stories online.  Skokie Public Library has Digital Craft Time programs, with one group of classes for grades 1-3 and another group for grades 4-6. Topics include Photoshop elements, green screen photography, and Stop Motion Animation.  Speaking of stop motion animation, last month, our committee’s blog post was on creating short stop motion animation films using a free and super easy iPad app called Stop Motion Studio.  It might be a great fall back on a rainy summer day.  Kathy Schrock offers some insightful tips and suggestions for getting started or keeping up with digital storytelling.

Take It Home Technology

ALSC Stock Photo
ALSC Stock Photo

What about technology that children and their families could check out, take home and do together?  Meridian Library District in Idaho has Make It Take It Kits that help families to build robots, learn about circuitry, and find projects for 3D printing.

Make Magazine as many people know is a treasure trove of programs and projects that can be adapted and modified to work in a library setting.  From high to low, ideas range from 3D printing to traditional lessons on woodworking.  The projects and video sections are a must.

So please, get the conversation started in the comments section. We want your suggestions on the following:

  • What programs have you done or are you preparing using technology?
  • What doesn’t work that well?
  • Do you work with digital resources or social media during more traditional programming?
  • Is anyone filming your puppet shows, creating podcasts of original works of readers’ theater, etc.?

Michael Santangelo is the Electronic Resources Coordinator at BookOps, the shared technical services department for the New York Public Library and the Brooklyn Public Library, and chair of the Children and Technology Committee.

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