Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Engaging Families and Technology with Byte-Sized Programming

Bee Bots, Osmos, and iPads are a great introduction to early technology.

Ready to introduce new technology, but uncertain about patron interest?  Why not try what we call “byte-sized programming”?  It introduces a variety of tech in a station-based environment.  The more stations, the more entry points you have to engage your families with tech.  You can introduce a variety of topics that appeal to all generations.  Plus, these programs are easily customized to your space, patron interests, and budget, and are held on a come-and-go basis.

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Strong Dose of Back to School

Summer Reading is Over! So, pat yourself on the back!  It’s been a long road to hoe, but you’re just the Joe to hoe it.  It’s time to don the oven mitts and grab the red hot throat of back-to-school!  You’re going to need a strong dose of resources to help this season’s batch of students succeed this fall, winter – and beyond! National Library of Medicine No, I’m not going to ask you to visit the National Library of Medicine (NLM) for remedies for your upcoming stresses.  This month, we’re talking about their AMAZING resources for kids!  They’ve got something for every age group and every electronic device.  So let’s getting digging! Free Stuff! So, let’s start with the cool NLM swag.  Bet you never thought you’d hear that in the same sentence. Visit NLM’s Educational and Printed Materials section of their site to order posters, trifolds, bookmarks, and…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Where to Find Free Children’s eBooks

Photo instructions for the hand movements to the rhyme "baa baa black sheep" and

It seems like even the family cat has access to a device, so it’s no surprise that even our youngest readers are utilizing eBooks. While our library collections are full of exciting new content (read along ebooks, beginning readers, and picture books to name just a few), sometimes nothing hits the quality reading spot quite like sharing a classic title. And best of all, there’s no such thing as a holds queue when reading classics with a free and legal public domain download. Where can I find free titles? So many books, so little time! You want to make sure you’re using yours effectively. Whether you’re reading on a phone, tablet, dedicated e-reader, or desktop computer you’ll find more than enough titles for your “for later” list. You’ll find public domain titles on multiple sites, so it’s really all about the reading experience. It’s a bit like choosing your phone’s operating…

Blogger Kaitlin Frick

STEAM Programming: Coding with Character(s)

Some of you may remember my first post for ALSC, published just a few months ago, entitled An Old-School Spin on STEAM Programming. It’s focus was an at-that-time recent program a colleague and I had run at 53rd Street, where school-age children were presented with a series of Choose Your Own Adventure-style challenges. Each week followed a different theme (pirates, space, etc.), and participants were asked to complete a series of STEAM projects, from pattern matching to coding, to aid them in their quests. A dear friend of mine (who is one of the best librarians I know) took this concept to the next level by creating a Super Mario-themed adventure that far surpassed the original programming. (No, I’m not putting myself down. Her programming is just so beyond what I could have created, it’s unbelievable.) To get an idea of how this program came together, I sent some interview…

ALA Annual 2018

The Inclusive Makerspace #WeNeedDiverseMakerspaces #alaac18

It’s been another jam-packed, amazing day at the 2018 ALA Conference! This afternoon I attended The Inclusive Makerspace #WeNeedDiverseBooks session led by Gina Seymour, a School Library Media Specialist. She offered some great advice on making your Makerspace or hands on learning activities accessible for a wide variety of youth, including those with disabilities or language barriers. Gina provided many simple tips with big impact, like providing triangular anti-roll crayons, instruction sheets with a visual cue for each step, and printing instructions in both English and Spanish. Other suggestions included labeling all craft materials used in making with not only a word but an image of what is inside. She emphasized how making can promote the 3 E’s: Equity, Education and Excitement. This session made me think of how my library could reassess our own maker-based activities and  programming so that everyone can be successful and feel welcome. Thinking of…

Children & Technology

Visual Literacy and Cartoons

My four-year-old was recently introduced to The Pink Panther by his grandfather. One of his favorite things to do is snuggle up with Papa and watch an episode of the wordless cartoon and laugh at the various antics of the clever panther. While he was watching one day it occurred to me that watching these wordless (or nearly wordless in the 1990’s version) cartoons was teaching my son about visual literacy. 

Blogger Kathia Ibacache

STEM: Leadership Tips When you Get Coding Bots Out

STEM can overwhelm some librarians. However, do not despair. There are some organizational ideas and leadership tips worth trying if you are willing to give coding bots a try. After a year of an introductory STEM programs at the Simi Valley Public Library, it was time to spice this program up with a new element. Why not buy bots to teach kids computational thinking through basic coding? The idea became a proposal and with minor changes the proposal became a reality. We purchased two of the following four bots: Wonder Dash, Coji, Ozobot, and the Robot Mouse, to implement a year’s worth of monthly STEM programs focusing on coding. Wonder Dash and Azobot: are fine bots for kids 6+. Here children will be practicing coding at a basic and intermediate level if they dare to explore all the potential of these bots. Coji and the Robot Mouse: are convenient bots…

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Bridging the Gap on Educational Apps

Part of our role as Children’s Librarians is to help parents navigate the plethora of options available for early education on a digital platform. While these apps have lots of potential when used with parental guidance, the sheer numbers can be overwhelming for parents to sort through. This is where we can step in with exposure to free or low-cost educational apps that are readily available for use on mobile devices. Many library systems have a tablet device for use with programs or roving reference services. This device can also be used to assist parents and their children in testing educational apps before they commit to them. Our library is moving towards a model where mounted tablets would allow the staff to rotate educational apps every few weeks or so, allowing for a wide variety of educational apps to be experienced by our customers. This arrangement allows for librarians to…