Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Creating and Implementing STEAM for Homeschoolers

According to NHERI, the National Home Education Research Institute, there were 3.7 million homeschooled American children in the 2020-21 school year. The number of parents opting to teach their children at home spiked during the pandemic and although it has since come down, it is still significantly higher than pre-COVID predictions. Homeschoolers are traditionally big library fans because libraries offer access to free materials to support their lessons. But we can offer so much more: we can bring them STEAM! More specifically, we can offer homeschoolers STEAM programs that are often beyond the abilities of their parents or other informal teachers. Let’s take a look at how we can leverage library resources and staff to bring the less accessible parts of STEAM – technology and engineering – to the homeschoolers in our communities. Step 1: Program Planning When designing a homeschool STEAM program, one thing to keep in mind is…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Computational Thinking, Preschoolers, and Work It Out Wombats

Children’s librarians play an important role in encouraging early literacy through instruction and modeling. But we can go beyond reading literacy and introduce early learners to 21st century competencies that will help them navigate their connected world. One key competency is Computational Thinking (CT). CT is a way to break problems down into parts in order to find a repeatable solution. Although CT as a process can be applied to coding, it also works in other situations. It’s easiest to think of it as a tool for solving problems.  Typically, it’s defined as four processes, as Kaitlen Siu shared in the 2022 Teach Your Kids to Code article What is Computational Thinking:  Making the Connection, a July 2020 article in Public Libraries magazine, shares that by incorporating CT skills in our work with young children, we can support “twenty-first-century competencies of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication for the young…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Celebrating Diwali with a STEAM Activity: Fostering Cultural Competency in Libraries

A photograph of the diya card fully decorated and with the LED lit.

As librarians, we strive to create inclusive spaces that celebrate diversity and promote cultural understanding. Diwali, also known as Deepavali or the Festival of Lights, is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world. Typically lasting for five days, it is observed by Hindu, Sikh, Jain, and some Buddhist communities. Diwali is a time of joy, gratitude, and hope for millions of people. Embracing this multicultural event enhances our understanding of different traditions and creates a welcoming environment for families that celebrate Diwali. A fun and easy Diwali STEAM activity that you can do at your library is to create a paper circuit diya card. A diya is an oil lamp that is lit during the holiday to symbolize the triumph of good and light over evil and darkness.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship and AI Podcast Resources

Last month, the Children and Technology committee posted about creating a podcast. We hope you read our August post and listened to our podcast on artificial intelligence (AI). This month, we are bringing you some of the resources our committee members consulted for the podcast. With the rise of AI, there is no doubt you will be using it in your daily life, both personally and professionally. 

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Media Mentorship & AI: Creating an ALSC Committee Podcast

Since joining the Children and Technology committee in 2020, we’ve furthered the committee’s charge of educating and encouraging youth librarians to be leaders on technology issues, and disseminating information on these issues to the larger ALSC community. As part of our committee requirements we expect all members to publish at least one ALSC blog post on a current subject relating to technology. In 2022 we hosted an ALSC Chat on post-pandemic hybrid library programming. We consistently update the ALSC Digital Media Resources guide with the most current topics and resources. And we have built in innovative practices to our meetings – including using the digital platform Padlet to record our monthly check-ins. For further reading, check out this blog post published by my former co-chair on other ways we use tech tools within our virtual committee.  That said, with time left in the 2022-2023 term to complete a final project,…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Internet Censorship and Libraries

In recent years, schools and libraries have been the target of extreme censorship attacks concerning the materials they house. Children and teens are primarily affected by these attacks, as it limits what information they can freely access at any given time. The problem we face in these battles is determining who has the authority to decide what is objectionable versus what isn’t. But what happens when these attacks occur beyond the scope of reading materials and start to affect other information access points? As librarians, we must inform ourselves regarding censorship in other forms, especially concerning our youngest patrons. Censorship and the Internet: Internet censorship is one of the more underhanded forms of censorship that happen on a day-to-day basis, often without people even knowing it exists. The internet is a vast communication and information network, and industries, organizations, and people work to control access to that information through various…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

3D Printing for Children

About ten years ago, my library got a 3D Printer. A Makerbot Replicator. Around that time, we heard that a library north of us was doing 3D printing school visits, so a colleague and I drove north to find out what they were doing. Credit is definitely due to that library – the Innisfill ideaLab and Library – for the seeds of what became a giant endeavor that centered around dragging a Makerbot Mini around the elementary schools in my town. Some of the things that made 3D printer-themed school visits wonderful no longer exist, but what I can write about is what I am still doing with 3D printing and our youth patrons in the library. 3D Printing for Kids as a program Program Tips The Two-Week Schedule Week 1 This week includes covering basics like how the printer works, how much it costs, and/or what limitations there are to…