YALSA Online Course – Connect, Create, Collaborate: Supporting Teen Needs with Technology

This winter YALSA is offering a newly revised online course! ‘ Linda Braun, instructor for’  Connect, Create, Collaborate: Supporting Teen Needs with Technology, chatted with me about the course. This course is open for registration through the YALSA website.

Eve: You’re teaching a class for YALSA that starts in February. Tell us about Connect, Create, Collaborate: Supporting Teen Needs with Technology.

Linda: Connect, Create, Collaborate: Supporting Teen Needs with Technology is a revised version of a class I’ve taught for YALSA for the past several years, which focused on technology as a tool for supporting teen reading and writing literacy. I decided to revise the class because what I’m finding now is that it’s essential to focus not on the concepts of technology and print literacies as separate components but to focus on them as a part of the whole library experience for teens.

So, the revised version of the class takes a slightly different approach.’  The course focuses on teens, who they are, and how they use technology (including the literacy implications of that use) and puts that inside a framework of the services that libraries provide to teens every day.’  The content ‘ of the course explores technology and programming, technology and collection development, technology and reference and readers’ advisory, and technology and reading habits and behaviors.’  Students in the course will discuss how these services connect teens to resources, people, and each other, and how librarians and teens can collaborate to make library services better than ever.

Eve: What should students expect to learn from this course?

Linda: Participants who register for the course will learn how technology supports the successful growth and development of teens; they will learn how to discuss with colleagues, administrators, and community members the positive implications of technology use, and they will learn about new technologies that they can fairly easily integrate into their day-to-day library programs and services.

Eve: Tell us a little bit about the readings and assignments for this course? How do they fit into your typical librarian’s work schedule?

Linda: The course weeks are divided into themes. For example, the first week theme is The Why of Connecting With Teens via Technology and the second week theme is Creating Great Teen Services Using Technology. The theme of the week provides a framework for the materials used during the week. Each week students read, view, or listen to content related to the theme, and complete one required activity. (There are also a series of recommended activities each week for students to try out if they have the time.) These activities are sometimes group activities and sometimes can be completed individually. The activities range from interviewing teens about their technology use, to watching screencasts about a particular technology, to creating a story with Storify. ‘ At the end of the class students will have a portfolio of examples that demonstrate how technology can be used with teens in the library.

Eve: How do class discussions work? Are they real-time or can I post on my own schedule?

Linda: Every other week students will be able to take part in real-time conversations. I find that these are really helpful because sometimes a live conversation brings up ideas that wouldn’t come up otherwise. But, of course, the same is true for discussions that are not in real time and which students can add to on their own time. That’s why every week there will be asynchronous discussions that students can participate in. And, for the weeks when there are real-time chats, I’ll post a series of times for the chat so each student can select the one that works best. ‘ The class works best when online discussions – synchronous or asynchronous – are active. I’ll be in the discussions and chats with the students asking questions, making comments, and so on to help keep the conversations going.

Eve: What can students take away from this course? How can they use the lessons of this course in their day-to-day jobs?

Linda: Students who take this course will have lots of new ideas for how to integrate technology into their day-to-day services with teens. The course includes a final assignment in which students have to develop an idea for how to integrate some of the topics explored in the class into their work. A key take-away is that students will have a chance to learn about new technologies and will be able to talk about those technologies with colleagues and teens. Participants will gain new ideas about how to use technology with teens and will also have some ideas about how to move past barriers to integrating technology into teen library services. ‘ And, as mentioned above, they will have a portfolio of technology examples that they can use to promote technology use with colleagues, administrators, parents, and teens.

Eve: What are you most excited about in this course?

Linda: I’m excited about talking with others serving teens about the possibilities of technology and how we can support teens developmental and intellectual growth through these technologies. ‘ I’m also excited to discuss some of the new technologies and tools that have developed over the past few months and brainstorm with students the best ways to bring these into library services for the age group. And, I’m excited to hear what those in the class have to say. Students always bring great new ideas to these YALSA online classes. It’s incredible what students come up with and I’m really looking forward to reading, hearing, seeing what inspirations this group of students have.

About Eve Gaus

Eve Gaus is the program officer for continuing education at YALSA.
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