Teen Tech Week, not?

The countdown is on for celebrating Teen Tech Week! Check Stephanie’s post for links to all the resources and materials you might need.

But wait. Are we really as ready as we think we are? As it turns out, celebrating TTW can be something of a hurdle in school libraries. Yes, those thousands of libraries that serve a huge proportion of our nation’s teens. So, what’s the problem? It’s simple to explain, yet hard to understand. In school libraries, technology use is highly controlled and restricted. School boards and administrators are reacting to the triple threat of online pornography, predation, and bullying, while trying to respond to the demands of No Child Left Behind and shrinking budgets. Schools routinely block social networking sites and a host of Web 2.0 tools. More often than not, Web content is accessible only if it serves instructional purposes.

So what can a school librarian do? As it turns out, a lot. Here are a few ideas from the article I just wrote on this topic for School Library Journal.

Celebrate TTW on your own terms. Is standardized testing scheduled for your district from March 2–8? Celebrate the following week, or during the entire month.

Think tech-related. Host a discussion about how social technologies have changed students’ lives and invite speakers involved with technology.

Low-tech and old-tech are still tech. Even paints, pencils, and hand-cranked ice cream makers involve technology (thanks, Francisca!)

Use the event to educate school administrators about the many safe and productive ways technology can be used in schools. Point them to publications like YALSA’s Social Networking Toolkit for Educators and Librarians and the National School Board Association’s recent publication Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social – and Educational – Networking, which urges schools to reassess restrictive policies regarding technology.

Have fun! A school librarian’s attitude towards technology can have the biggest impact of all.

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