As the pandemic progresses, librarians and librarian-podcasters have turned to digital solutions to engage kids and families in podcasting whether it is through creation, discovery, or facilitating podcast learning. These inspiring initiatives have created many new podcast makers and they have worked to amplify the stories in their communities and beyond.
When it comes to our children, of course, we want what’s best for them. We pick and choose toys and apps which are not only fun but that are deemed “educational.” But what a parent or educator may want to know is, “Is this toy or app giving the child the full benefit of the learning outcomes that it should?” “How does a parent know what those outcomes should be? There’s been much research on children and brain development, as well as a proliferation of educational apps created in the past few years. “Of the 2.2 million apps in the App Store, 176,000, 8.5 percent are loosely deemed as “educational.” Their growth is expected to increase by 10% through 2021. (Brain Training For Kids: Adding a Human Touch. Hassinger-Das, Brenna and Hirsch-Pasek, Kathy). In this article, Hassinger-Das, and Hirsch-Pasek examine the question of what the term “educational” means as it…
To extend our reach and eliminate any barriers to service, we have partnered with our county school system to provide student accounts. Students can use their school account number as a library card, granting them access to print and online library materials. After a year and a half of virtual school, students are back to in-person learning. Do they have all the materials they need to succeed?
This season for many of us looks a little different professionally than we might have imagined. As some libraries softly launch more in-person interactions, others may be in a constant state of preparation only to discover that making plans is extremely challenging in this current state. Many institutions have determined that moving forward there will always be space for virtual offerings in their service models. While we all have some sense of wishing to unplug, I am trying to reflect on how technology has allowed us to connect in unique ways over the past year and a half. I’m also looking to the future to see how virtual offerings might not necessarily be the end to purposeful experiences for the communities we serve.
If you had asked me at the beginning of my graduate program what my end goal was in terms of a library job, I would not have known to list Technology Integrator at a Middle School. However, upon getting a part-time library job at an independent school in Brooklyn that eventually turned into a full-time opportunity, that is the role I ended up in. As I prepare to start my third school year in this position – with a pandemic and pivot into full-time remote learning facilitation in the middle – I am now so immersed in EdTech tools, hybrid learning, and device troubleshooting that I have acquired an entirely new language and skillset that many may not even associate with a library degree.
When we think of technology, children and families, access has been what has been most prevalent at issue for many libraries, especially in the last few years. We have prioritized equity, diversity and inclusion in our guiding principle statements. We’re ensuring that we are serving the most underserved communities: Reviewing and realigning our service areas to focus on the schools, and day cares which have the greatest need populations – that they are the first to receive laptops, wifi access, and technology assistance. All these things are a necessary and wonderful enhancement for families and for closing the digital divide. I would say though, that we can go even deeper in assisting families. This is what I discovered in the past pandemic year as I worked with families from different countries.
Moving Our Library into the Technology Age Technology is growing and we need to grow with it. Every household, young child, teen and adult uses technology on a daily basis, whether in their own home or at a public facility, like our library. The Beginning of a New Journey Being a small library we struggled with getting technology to our patrons. It just wasn’t in our budget to support that kind of expense. Up until about two years ago, we only had three access computers for all of our patrons to use. We had to find another way, a way to get technology in the hands of our patrons, especially our students. We were very fortunate to have access and the ability to apply for a grant from the Illinois State Library for that very resource. With acceptance of the grant we were able to order Laptops and IPads for…
ALSC’s Children and Technology committee has been reflecting on the past year, about our roles and practices in our learning environments. This is the second of two posts we created that share our experiences. Today, we are focusing on some of the public librarians in our group. Rita Christensen is a Children’s Librarian at the Orem Public Library in Utah. Tina Bartholoma is a Community Engagement Senior Librarian/School Liaison at the Salt Lake County Library in Utah.