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 https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.   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. https://reviews.childrenstech.com/ctr/about.php  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!

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Virtual Programming and Patron Privacy

Two boys are side-by-side viewing a computer screen together.

As libraries continue adjusting services and moving toward more virtual programming options, we’ve often found more questions than answers.  As we experiment, share, and grow together, we’ll continue improving how we interact with and touch our communities, even if our physical spaces are inaccessible.  It’s important that as we do so, we don’t overlook a critical piece of library services:  patron privacy and security.  The forthcoming ALSC Virtual Storytime Services Resource Guide will explore these issues and more.  In the meantime, Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, shared some key thoughts for libraries to consider.  We’ve summarized the highlights of our discussion below.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

“Be Internet Awesome”: A Path to Digital Citizenship

During this pandemic, many people are relying more and more on online resources and education. Now, more than ever, kids need guidance on how to navigate online. This past winter, Jane Piraino of the St. Charles Public Library District in Illinois used Google’s program “Be Internet Awesome” to teach kids best practices for navigating the internet. Hopefully her experience will provide inspiration to librarians and teachers who may be looking to beef up digital learning with practical training. Aimed at kids in grade 3-6, Jane ran this program in the first week of winter break. Coding classes and other tech-minded programming are extremely popular in St. Charles. When she learned of Google’s program, she saw the value in teaching some digital citizenship as a supplement to her sought-after series. Google furnishes presentations to use on categories like “Share with Care,” “Don’t Fall for Fake,” and “It’s Cool to be Kind-”…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Technology with Intention

Children and technology. When these two topics are put together mixed opinions abound. Unfortunately, research on this topic has yet to come up with a consensus about benefits and detriments. (1)  In the future, I’m sure we will have a better handle on how digital interfaces affect people and society. Right now, the answers about children and technology all seem to start with ‘it depends.’ As a youth services librarian in a public library, I didn’t get a lot of training on how to effectively incorporate technology into programming. One of my first big programming failures was an evening bring-your-own-device (BYOD) storytime that got zero attendance. (It turned out that an evening storytime wasn’t a good fit for the area’s demographics, so I failed forward, repurposing the activities to be used in my regular storytimes instead.)