Children & Technology

Children’s Makerspaces in Public Libraries

In the last several decades, the landscape of public libraries changed from what one might consider a stereotypical book storehouse to an eclectic gathering space not just for materials, but for people. To remain relevant in their communities, public libraries adapted to this shift in focus, working to provide more versatile and technological resources for their community members. One trend in particular that has sprung from this change is  the concept of makerspaces. A relatively young concept as far as technology goes, this  idea has taken root  and managed to establish itself in libraries across the country. It is believed that the concept of “making” was first discussed in 2005, as part of an article in  Make – a magazine that published information regarding maker projects. Since then, many libraries have taken the steps to build their own makerspaces filled with different types of technology.  At the very least, most…

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Promoting Healthy Tech Use in the Middle School Library

The “elevator pitch” I often use for my job is that I act as a bridge between youth technology and the school library. I integrate myself into class projects, ensuring smoother tech components, and teach a digital skills class covering topics such as device 101, email etiquette, and responsible research. During the pandemic and remote learning years, this “bridge” work ranged from directing students to the correct Zoom link to join class, to assisting students in accessing our digital Sora collections when our physical library was not accessible. Fortunately, it seems that with each passing year, we are re-entering a more normal version of school. However, while challenges with technology have changed, they haven’t disappeared, and in many cases, educators find it more important than ever to integrate healthy and responsible technology use into our learning environments. At the start of this school year, I organized several faculty development sessions…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Supporting AAC-Users in the Library

October is AAC Awareness Month! AAC stands for “augmentative and alternative communication,” and it’s often used to refer to a tool that can help someone communicate without speech, like a picture board or a tablet with a communication application. It can be as simple as a white board, or as high tech as a computer that can detect the user’s eye movements and translate them to speech. Someone who is non-speaking, or has difficulty speaking, can use their AAC to communicate with others. Let’s learn a little bit about AAC devices and how you can support AAC-users in the library.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

The Digital Tools of an ALSC Virtual Committee

Hello! Manuela Aronofsky and Tina Bartholoma here. We’re the current co-chairs of the ALSC Children and Technology Committee. The ALSC C&T Committee is a virtual committee, so to stay connected and collaborate with members across time zones, we have adopted a handful of favorite digital tools. Today we will share what they are and how we use them for our committee work.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Encouraging Guilt-Free Screen Time

I’ve heard plenty of parents express guilt over letting their children watch videos or play games on their phones – “I know I shouldn’t, but it’s just so I can get the dishes done.” It doesn’t help that it seems like recommendations are changing constantly and parents don’t always know where to look for the most up-to-date information. The last two years have been even harder – video chats and schooling have moved online and our children are getting more screen time than ever.

Blogger Children and Technology Committee

Pandemic Takeaways, Part 1

ALSC’s Children and Technology committee has been reflecting on the past year, about our roles and practices in our learning environments, especially as they relate to technology. This is the first of two posts we created that share our experiences. Today, we are focusing on the school librarians in our group. Manuela Aronofsky is the Middle School Technology Integrator at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, and Julie Williams is the Librarian at Sanford Middle School in Sanford, Maine.  What is the top digital tool or strategy you are taking from the pandemic? Manuela: I have come to really appreciate digital tools that allow for asynchronous discussion, and response. The main tools I’m using in the classroom include Flipgrid (for students to record video responses), and Padlet (for students to post short written responses). The nice thing about these tools is that they allow for online “conversation” –…

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

No- and Low-Tech Backpacks as Outreach

In summer 2019, the Children and Technology committee wrote about bridging the digital divide with circulating tech.  Current events have forced us to evaluate our resources, services, and access. In times of change and uncertainty, libraries connect families with resources and experiences they may not otherwise have. In addition to virtual programs, libraries must connect with families without the time or ability to connect online. One way to do this is providing prepackaged, circulating materials like backpacks and kits. Serving Underserved Populations The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  So far, we’ve focused on: Children with autism and sensory processing disorders Families experiencing financial insecurity and homelessness Spanish speaking populations, and Access to technology Today, we’d like to share how backpacks and kits…

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…