Creating fun mix and mash programs for your students during Teen Tech Week can be easy and cheap.
Skype with students in another state or country, or reach out to authors, experts, or people of interest. Use your connections to find Skype partners who your teens would love to chat with: athletes, musicians, or media professionals are great places to start. To stay even truer to Teen Tech Week, bring in a technology expert who can talk to teens about their job and how they got into it. To find authors to Skype with, visit the Skype an Author website.
I mentioned Glogster last month as a tool to use in the classroom, but it can also be purely extracurricular. Teens can create virtual posters about themselves, their friends, a vacation, a party, a dance, anything. Since Glogster allows the user to embed video and photos, it’s the perfect virtual collage. Teaching them how to use it will take five minutes; just make sure they bring their photos and videos on a flash drive or can access them on Facebook or another website.
Mashing up books and tech will provide you with a ton of ways to design a fun program about reading. If you’ve already got a book club, hold a special meeting during Teen Tech Week. It may be too late to assign a book for a whole group to read, but you can also have teens bring in their favorite book or the book they’re reading now. At the meeting, have a discussion and then move to a tech activity. For example:
- Create a slideshow about the book using Animoto. Find images using the Creative Commons search.
- Start a blog on WordPress or Edublogs; write a review of your book.
- Create a comic strip about your book using ToonDoo or Lolcats-style photos using Pikikids.
- Use GoAnimate to make a movie about the book.
Teach a one-day workshop in stuff you normally don’t cover, like designing games with Scratch, or editing digital photos using Picnik, or editing movies online using JayCut. In fact, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can organize a series of one-hour after school workshops and call it a Teen Tech Camp; for more information on running a Teen Tech Camp, you might want to read my article in the most recent issue of YALS (which I can’t link to, sorry!).
Finding time to program for teens in a school library can be hard, but if you’re creative, you can often find time to run a quick program. Everything described in this post is free, unless you want to buy snacks (always a good idea). You should have much of the necessary tech already on hand, too. Talk to your students to find out when they might be able to get together. Have fun and Happy Teen Tech Week!