YALSAblog News of the Month – August 2016

Welcome to the YALSAblog News of the Month. In this post we highlight a few news items from the past month that we think are of interest to staff working with teens in libraries, schools, and youth development organizations.

Instagram of the Week – November 23

A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.

International Games Day (IGD) took place on Saturday, November 21 as libraries worldwide hosted an array of gaming events. Now in its eighth year, IGD is guided by the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with Nordic Game Day and the Australian Library and Information Association. Participation is free, and libraries can request game donations from sponsors or opt to join online international games such as this year’s Minecraft Hunger Games tournament and the telephone-style game, Global Gossip.

In addition to highlighting another way that libraries offer more than books, IGD provides an opportunity for teens to participate in an intergenerational program that is social, educational, skill-building, and fun! Participating libraries offered a variety of activities from tabletop games to life-size versions of Twister, checkers, and Scrabble. Some libraries also provided an opportunity for teens to try their hand at new technology  through video games, virtual reality gaming, Lego Mindstorm activities, augmented reality sandboxes, and iPad games. The Future of Libraries for and with Teens report suggests that libraries give teens the chance to experience technology tools and devices in an informal setting, and IGD can provide such occasion.

Did your library participate in International Games Day? Have you hosted teen gaming events at your library? Share with us in the comments section below!

Please visit the International Games Day website for more information about this worldwide event.

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App of the Week: Pursuit of Light

Title: Pursuit of Light
Cost: $1.99
Platform: iOS 7 or later

pursuit of light logoPursuit of Light is a game in which players have to move through a set of challenges in order to help the main character reach the light. The challenges get harder as the game play progresses and as higher levels are reached more trouble-shooting and critical thinking skills are required. The video below provides a brief overview of how the game works.


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30 Days of Teen Programming: Using Tournaments for Teen Lead Program

One thing many of my teens enjoy is competition. Whether they play for bragging rights or a gift card, they enjoy being the master or best in their favorite games. Over the years I’ve learned that hosting tournaments is an easy program that can gets my teens really excited and involved in the planning.

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App of the Week: Trivia Crack

Trivia Crack LogoName: Trivia Crack
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows phone, and Facebook
Cost: Free

As apps have proliferated, so have the games that are available for mobile devices. It can be hard to sift through all of the available game apps to find those that set themselves apart, but recently I found one that I think is among the best of the trivia games available for mobile devices. Called Trivia Crack, this app combines an ability to compete against both friends and strangers with crowdsourced questions and cute graphics. Taken together, this translates into a fun game that will keep you playing for hours.

Trivia Crack makes use of many features that will be familiar to players of other games. In some ways, it is like Trivial Pursuit since it involves building up a collection of characters that represent the six different topic areas: Entertainment, Art, Sports, History, Science, and Geography. Like many mobile games, it also includes the option to choose to either play a game against a randomly assigned stranger or to search for friends to play against. The option to chat (and trash talk) with your opponent via the messaging feature is built into each round. Also like many mobile games, Trivia Crack features achievements that can be shared on social media, a shop where players can purchase tools that give them various advantages (with prices that range from $0.99 to $99.99), and rankings for those playing with enough other players. As a nice added feature, Trivia Crack also includes a “Question Factory” that allows players to create, rate, and translate questions that make up the backbone of the game. If a player’s question is ultimately approved and used, the player receives credit on the question screen, which can be a nice perk.

Trivia Crack QuestionTrivia Crack Question Factory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Game play itself is much like standard trivia games. Users tap on a spinner to randomize the topic that they are assigned and must then answer a question in that topic area. The spinner also includes a wild card slot with a crown on it. If a user hits that option, they are given a chance to either answer a question to win one of the topic area characters (which serve a purpose similar to the pie pieces in Trivial Pursuit) or to challenge their opponent in a bid to steal one of their characters. To win a challenge, players are asked to answer several questions and their opponent is then given a chance to answer the same questions. Whoever comes up with more correct answers wins.

Trivia Crack is a fun and slightly addictive mobile trivia game. Because it is available for so many different platforms, it is a great option for groups of friends who use different types of devices. If you are a fan of trivia, it is a great (and free!) option.

Have a suggestion for App of the Week? Let us know. And find more great Apps in the YALSA Blog’s App of the Week Archive.

Online Harrassment

A conversation about Online Harassment.

For many teens, online is one of their 3rd places where they can find community and celebrate their various interests. These were safe places where they could find support outside of their physical community, especially if they were being harassed by peers.

Lately though many female content creators have been sharing their experiences which aren’t positive. Female YouTube personalities have sexually suggestive comments posted. Many women in the gaming industry have come under attack, with their personal information being released publicly, forcing at least 3 to have to leave their homes. A female researcher’s survey about sexism was corrupted by false data .We must also not forget the hundreds of celebrity photos that were released earlier this year.

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Digital Games in the Classroom

A new survey from the Games and Learning Publishing Council sheds light on just how commonplace games have become in today’s classrooms. Among the findings:

  • Among K-8 teachers surveyed who use digital games in teaching,’ 55%’ have students play games at least weekly
  • 72% typically’ use a desktop or laptop computer for gaming
  • Nearly half believe that’ low-performing students benefit the most from digital games
  • Word of mouth is the biggest influence when selecting games

So what can librarians take away from this data? Continue reading

In the Know: August 2014

I was having a serious Cady-with-a-d Mean Girls moment two weeks ago as I walked into my first day in a new Teen Librarian position. Would the teens like me? Would they pity laugh at my jokes like the kids at my old job did? Or would I be just another crusty shushing-machine to them? It’s the time of year when teens across the country make that same terrifying walk into new schools, new grades, and new hormone-fueled social challenges, so let’s give them some extra special love from the library this week.

As for me at my new job, I discovered that a level 50 in Skyrim and knowing the lyrics to “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark” can get you a long way. Sometimes all you need is to know a little bit about one thing that interests a teen and you can spark a relationship. Learn a little more, and pretty soon they’ll be saying “hi” to you by name. Keep at it, and they might start liking you enough to actually take your reader’s advisory suggestions.

It’s good to be in the know. Here’s some stuff teens are talking about in August 2014.

The band Five Seconds of Summer, or 5SOS (pronounced “5 sauce”), is currently touring the U.S. with One Direction and gaining popularity. The band, comprised of 4 Australian teenage boys, is often compared to their British your-mates, though they seem to be attempting a more punk rock image. (Attempting is a key word here.) Their self-titled debut studio album was released in the U.S. on July 22, and hit number one on the Billboard 200. Learn more about them here.

The 2014 Teen Choice Awards aired on August 10. Big winners were The Fault in Our Stars, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Divergent (films); Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (actors); Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, and One Direction (musicians); Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, and The Voice (TV). Selena Gomez received the Ultimate Choice Award. The show also introduced a new set of web awards honoring a new breed of YouTube and social media stars. See the full list of nominees and winners here.

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App of the Week: Monument Valley

Monument Valley LogoTitle: Monument Valley
Cost: $3.99
Platform: iOS (with Android coming soon)

After hearing great reviews of Monument Valley, I decided to give it a try and I am so glad that I did! Players take control of a small, silent princess named Ida, helping her to navigate through a world filled with beautiful but surreal architecture. To succeed, you must solve puzzles and redesign Ida’s world to help her along on her journey. The pastel artwork appears simple at first glance but is deceptively complex, a fact that becomes very clear as you try to find the correct configuration to allow Ida to reach her destination. As you manipulate the architecture of each level, the music changes as well, making a very cohesive and immersive experience. Continue reading