TTW Grant Winner: Lost in a Digital Wonderland

When we think of teens today, we imagine a young adult glued to their cell phone, speaking in a foreign text speech slang, and Facebooking people halfway around the world. But for me, the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” comes to mind.

Our teens can certainly text, take a selfie, and play their favorite games online; but when I suggest they copy & paste a Google image, find an app for that, or read a book online, I get the most incredulous looks I’ve seen since high-school drama club. Statistics say that 40% of households in Lafourche Parish have no access to wi-fi. That students might get a maximum of 30 minutes in a computer class at school a week. I’m not the only one guilty of forgetting this and assuming every teen has a Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram account. They are considered the agents of technical suave. The reality, of course, is that for many of our teens, the library is their only digital touchstone. These teens might be Generation Y, but Y2K happened when they were infants. When I try to get them to read a popular book series or do a craft program, I get mixed results.

So I told them they would be building a website and doing photo/video editing for Teen Tech Week this year.

Oh my. Christmas has come early! Along with every other gift-giving celebration for many years to come.

“We can really do this? In the library?”

“Yes.”

“For  free?”

“Yes.”

“And we can actually do the stuff? Not just sit and listen to you?”

“Well I’m not going to make it for you.’

Shock! Awe! Horror (that they didn’t know about this sooner, why oh why didn’t they sign up for a news alert?) Can they really believe that I will allow, nay insist, that they touch the computers? Well, yes. As well as the tablet, video camera, and printer. I was quite serious about not doing the work for them.  A digital storytelling platform made by teens for teens. And that description hasn’t fit me for a while.

They have no idea that I might be more excited about this project than they are.

Kristen Angelette works with teens at the Lockport Public Library, part of the Lafourche Parish Public Library System in Lockport Louisiana.

 

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