December Eureka Moments

We’re almost to 2013! Though I know you’re probably busy with end-of-year plans, projects, and tasks, I wanted to tell you about some recent news, research, and innovation you might find informative or inspiring for your library work.

  • A study recently published in the Journal of Educational Computing Research surveyed middle school students on their experiences with cyberbullying and found that those who engage are most often both victims and perpetrators. They looked at reporting behaviors, too, and found that even when students report cyberbullying, it rarely stops. If you’ve been addressing only one end of cyberbullying, you may want to consider changing up your programming to look at why it is that students both engage and suffer from it, and your teen advisory group might be interested in discussing methods that reporting and prevention programs can be made more effective.
    Holfield, Brett, and Grabe, Mark. (2012). Middle school students’ perceptions of and responses to cyber bullying. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(4), 395-413.
  • It’s that time of year – rather, it’s been that time of year since before Halloween – when all the ads and commercials you see have a Christmas twist to them. Have you seen this viral video that parodies the Coca Cola bears to draw attention to the harmful health effects of drinking too much soda? Called The Real Bears and sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the video features a song by Jason Mraz (no doubt to hook people who don’t know what it’s about) and shows a family of bears slowly getting sicker and sicker as they make soda more of a part of their diet. Have your teens seen it? With a lot of strong reactions in both directions, the video might make for a great conversation starter in one of your advisory groups, or it could prompt some programming or displays on health and nutrition.
  • Conversations about wider representations of minorities (racial, ethnic, religious, gender, etc) in YA lit never cease – and shouldn’t. But if you’ve been mired lately in conversations that center around the U.S., take a look at this blog post that looks at portrayals of Australian Aboriginals in YA Down Under. It might make you rethink your stance on how lit looks like here when you can take a step back, or it might make for an interesting conversation to have with some of your patrons. Do you know any fellow librarians in other countries? Consider hosting a Skype book club with both you and your counterpart and both sets of teen advisory groups for a very interesting conversation.
  • Everyone’s favorite thing about Tumblr (aside from gifs) must be the fact that you can follow interesting, well-reasoned conversations between people who have never met. So, with that said, have you seen Feminist Disney yet?
  • Teachers in Maine developed a new unit connecting art to writing and social studies curricula in high school, says a new study in Across the Disciplines. If you’ve been dreading the Common Core and what it means for your services and your professional development, take a look at this article and see how you might be able to collaborate with teachers to help their students write and create across subject areas.
    Hrenko, Kelly A., & Stairs, Andrea J. (2012). Creative Literacy: A New Space of Pedagogical Understanding. Across the Disciplines, 9(3).
  • As you can see from the continuing seasons of MTV’s “Teen Mom,” teen pregnancy rates are rising again. A study in Advances in Social Work investigated how family influences teens’ sexual health literacy and sexual activity. It looks like conversations about sexual health hinge a lot on gender (mothers are more likely to talk about sex than fathers, and daughters are more likely to be recipients of this information than sons). Mothers corroborated this, as many who participated in the study said that they had to initiate conversations while the fathers were already in the room to get them to participate. With this in mind, take a look at your collection of sexual health resources and see if you need to update them or supplement them with more resources particularly for boys, fathers, or families in general.
    Stauss, Kimberly, et al. (2011). Parent-Child Communication Related to Sexual Health: The Contextual Experiences of Rural Latino Parents and Youth. Advances in Social Work, 12(2), 181-200.
  • That’s it for this month. What other research have you been finding, and what have you been doing with it?

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