Mix Up Your Programming This March!

It’s time to get digital once again, as Teen Tech Week rolls around for 2011! This year’s theme is Mix and Match, encouraging teens to create content and share it with others across a broad network of users. It’s always an exciting time to encourage out of the box technology programming for teens, and a great opportunity to begin tech programs for teens if your library doesn’t have such programs set up.

First, let’s start with the basic Teen Tech Time. This is your opportunity to open up your library to computer based programs, with simple, self guided computer sessions. You reserve a bank of computers or laptops for a certain hour, and encourage teens to sign up with you. It’s important to note that these sessions are provided in addition to the teen’s regular internet appointment, rather than superseding it. Teens are able to use the additional time to hang out and mess around with the technology they are interested in, rather than having to choose to divide their single daily appointment between fun use and homework use. If you have have laptops and a programming space, Teen Tech Time can help you create a miniature teen space, one where they can be louder and more social around the computers than they could be on the main floor.

Once you’ve got Teen Tech Time set up and running smoothly, you can begin working with the teens to uncover websites and applications that suit their interest and encourage them to delve deeper into the technology available to them. In this case, let’s focus on video creation and editing.

The content is easy enough to create – cell phone cameras, Flip cameras, digital cameras – it should be easy to find one or two recording devices. So what sort of content can you create?

While booktalks have long been an effective marketing tool, it’s time to look to something new – book trailers! Blending together a fabulously crafted booktalk with images and a enticing soundtrack make the experience all the more awesome. A quick search on Google reveals contests of all types, and many many samples. Take a moment to browse through the results.

Or, create a tutorial for your library! Work with the teens to create a script, and record tips about using the library. Have them talk about the collection, such as where the graphic novels are located and how the manga series are arranged. Do a walking tour of the library, from circulation to reference to programming spaces. Have them select music and let them provide the insider scoop of the library.

Once the content is created, there’s probably going to be some editing work to be done.

If they’ve been an avid YouTube watcher, encourage them to take the next steps and start to create and edit their own videos with YouTube’s editing tools. Simply upload the video files and then go visit YouTube’s video editor, www.youtube.com/editor , where clips can be mashed together with various transitions, soundtracks added, and the results published. The tools are very basic, but it’s a great start.

For slightly more editing control, check out www.stroome.com . The Kaltura editor enambles users to cut sections of the video, insert transitions and soundtracks, select thumbnails, and complete projects. However, Stroome also has an amazing built in remix feature, where users can select clips from other projects that are online and add it into their own film. There’s a 3 GB limit and the current video collection is a bit academic, but there’s great opportunity there.

Finally, if your library is fortunate enough to have a Mac or two about, you can use the editing tools of iMovie.

You’ve got your content, and it’s all packaged – how do you market it? Head on over to www.delivr.com and start creating your own QR (Quick Response) codes. These black and white matrix barcodes link quickly to urls and other data, and can be accessed through a quick snapshot on a mobile phone. Delivr.com allows you to download the codes in multiple formats, and enables you to track the analytic information of the code.

So, the booktrailers you created? Create a QR code for each of them and attach them to the book. Or create a genre booklist with QR codes linking to your booktalks. Give teens the code to their reviews to post on their social networking pages – in most cases, the QR code can be read on a computer screen. Work with your administration to post QR codes in helpful locations in the library – explaining how the collection is laid out, providing an audio review from a patron of a favorite book, enhancing book displays, and more.

This March, take the opportunity to get involved with technology programming with teens. See where they are hanging out online now, and show them resources they’ll like to further their digital experiences. Mix and Match at your library!

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Chris Shoemaker

I'm a YALSA Past President. I blog about YA programming, technology instruction for people interested in teen services, and YALSA governance stuff. I like baking and dislike humidity.