Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Promoting library programs, Social media is only part of the answer

I’ve been around long enough to remember when my library system decided to centralize their social media accounts. Some of our branches didn’t care, they weren’t on social media anyway. Some of our branches almost held protests. They had branch social media teams which had slowly built up their followers through years of effort. I was on one of those teams. We had a posting schedule, we had gone to trainings, we followed tips about always including a photo and using variety in our types of posts. Having to give up control was really hard. Sorry for the long intro, I’ll get the point. Last year, during the months that our library branches were completely closed—after we had started offering online programs, but before we were able to start curbside delivery—our librarians (no, it wasn’t just me) wanted our social media guidelines to change to meet our new program promotion…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Listen Up: Let’s Talk About Kids Podcasts

Have you been discovering and listening to kids podcasts more and more this past year? If so, you are not alone! Kids podcasts experienced record-level listening in 2020 and librarians across the country are helping families discover this content. So, if you love listening to kids podcasts, we invite you to come to the table to discuss all aspects of this rising form and its impact on media mentorship and services to children.   Kidcasts in 2020: A Milestone Year Kidcasts, also known as podcasts for kids, have grown to where 1 in 4 kids, ages 6 to 17 now listen to podcasts (Ipsos) and weekly Kids & Family podcast listening increased by 24% in 2020 (Podtrac). As podcast listenership rises, librarians have taken note of content that’s available, especially what is free and accessible. For example, ALSC’s Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media 2020 Committee selected Imagine Neighborhood, a podcast…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Child Mental Health and Technology: A Useful Tool for Caregivers and Therapists

In today’s new normal, we as a society are faced with the many challenges brought on by the Pandemic: Parents have adjusted to working from home. They’ve become teachers. Children have gone from learning in a classroom setting to their bedrooms; having physical movement to being stationary. Where they previously had social interactions with peers, they’re now often in silos watching a single screen throughout the day. After nearly a year of Covid-19, data proves that this has been no easy adjustment by any means. An article by Human Rights Watch outlines just how this disease has devastatingly impacted children around the world. Though what is also discussed are beneficial approaches to alleviate suffering. What I’d like to hone in on is how one organization provides help for the mental health of children due to the effects of Covid-19. Through the National Children’s Alliance , a new useful training is…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Bitmojis in the Library

Back in March, when the Pandemic hit and teachers, librarians, and other educators were scrambling to find creative ways to do remote learning, Bitmoji classrooms were born. Bitmoji isn’t new.  You can create a Bitmoji using either Snapchat or the Bitmoji app and by adding the Google Chrome extension you can insert Bitmojis almost anywhere.  What was new was the use of Bitmojis to create virtual classrooms. Bitmoji Craze for Educators is a Facebook Group that was created by Allatesha Cain in April of 2020 and now has almost 550,000 members.  But what exactly is a Bitmoji classroom and why has it become so popular? A Bitmoji classroom is a virtual space that has hyperlinks to educational videos, read alouds, websites, and more.  Most are created using Google Slides and then used on an LMS system like Google Classroom, Google Sites, Schoology, and Seesaw.  Creators typically create some kind of…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Online Storytimes: Creation & Editing Tools

“Five little ducks went out one day…” There have been thousands of online storytimes produced in libraries across America since March of 2020. By now, you have most likely seen perky librarians singing Five Little Ducks more times than you can quack. When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, librarians took storytime online. After our general election we find COVID-19 cases are still climbing; in consequence, storytime will continue to be presented virtually for some time.  Many excellent articles and blog posts can be found online that cover best practices for creating virtual storytime for caregivers and our littlest patrons. The ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Guide is an exhaustive resource on the topic which includes guidelines and links. More Than a Story: Engaging Young Learners Virtually (Children & Libraries, Fall 2020) gives librarians a concise instructional framework for planning virtual storytime. 5 Tips for Filming Virtual Storytime (ALSC Blog, June…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

How to Stay Current on Kids Tech Trends

If you are like me and have been out of the branch since March, it seems a little daunting to stay current on the trends in kids tech. With remote learning being a popular path right now these resources can help you stay connected with your community and patrons in the online world!  One of my go-to quick reference sites is Common Sense Media. They are easily searchable for apps, games, movies and more. They offer quick information about each item and then a review that follows. It’s free and easily accessible online at   Another popular choice is Children’s Technology Review. This is a subscription based site that will email a monthly newsletter of reviews for current children’s technology and interactive media products. The ratings are provided by people with a background in education and child development.  School library journal has a page devoted to technology on their…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Online Storytimes: an interview about technology and connecting

From mid-March through July 2020, the Early Learning team of the Salt Lake County Library (18 branches)–Susan Spicer, EL Team Manager, and Tami Austin, EL Senior Librarian and certified Yoga instructor–lead a team of librarians that created 97 Facebook Live Storytimes, including 12 Bedtime Stories & Songs with special guests from museums and other community organizations and 18 Yoga Storytimes. They also offered weekly interactive virtual storytimes starting in June. I had the opportunity to interview these EL programming stars and ask them about the technology they used and how they faced the challenges of suddenly going online with their ages 0 to 5 programming. Interview start TB: So, what kind of equipment and recording devices have you been using and what seems to work the best? TA: Well, I cry a lot. Does that count? TB: Yes!


Technology In Practice : Adapting To A Remote Learning Environment

As the Technology Integrator at a Middle School, my responsibility includes student tech support. With a background in libraries, I also strive to help teachers incorporate technology into classrooms in a curated, intentional way that models our school’s commitment to digital citizenship. This role (as well as my presence in the centrally-located library) invites a daily flurry of questions from the whole community.  Like most educators worldwide, our transition into remote learning was swift. With the sudden leap into online school, I quickly realized that my ability to troubleshoot, and field tech questions in person was one I had taken for granted. We’re fortunate to work in a 1-to-1 school, meaning each student went home with an iPad, or a Chromebook that they were familiar with. This also meant our entrance into a rigorous, remote learning environment was immediate.  A daily reminder to myself was that learning, of course, was…