New research on Teen Brain Development

My friend Kelly sent me an article on teen brain development last week; a British scientist just did a study on teen brain in areas such as empathy and decision-making. And today I got an email from a psych student who found some old handouts of mine and had questions about behavior and brain development.

What is the link? It turns out that even though those tall gangly young adults LOOK grown up, teen brain development rivals that of the toddler years, and the activity creates a lot of “noise” in their heads. Recall the terrible twos: temper tantrums, challenging authority, sleep deprivation derived crankiness…

Are these concepts intriguing to you? Space is still available in Pain in the Brain: Adolescent Development and Library Behavior, a YALSA online CE workshop that runs from Oct 2-30, 2006. Find out exactly why teens act the way they do and learn how librarians can address patron behavior issues in a way that will develop relationships with young adults. By the end of this class, participants will:
1) Understand the physical development of the adolescent brain and how it manifests into physical and emotional behaviors,
2) Examine the developmental needs and assets of adolescents, and the role libraries must play in helping teens grow into healthy adults,
3) Discuss how to apply newly acquired knowledge and techniques to improve library services to teens in ways that meet developmental needs and build developmental assets.

Ok, that was blatant and shamless self-promotion – I’m the facilitator. But YALSA delivers LOTS of great CE right to your desktop! Several other additional courses will be offered in October, including a re-run of the very popular New Technologies and New Literacies for Teens with Linda Braun, and OutReaching Teens with Angela Pfiel.

To be a successful student in a YALSA Online CE course, you need:
* Regular unlimited access to a computer (Pentium II-based PC or a G3 PowerMac machine, using Netscape 4.7 or higher, Internet Explorer 5 or higher, or current versions of Mozilla or Opera)
*Reliable Internet connection (high-speed Internet access like cable, DSL, or LAN-networked T1 lines preferred)

I personally recommend 2 hours a week to dedicate to readings, activities, and responses.

Registration for YALSA’s fall session of e-courses runs through Sept. 25. The courses are meant to be the equivalent of a full day workshop.

The cost is $135 for YALSA members, $175 for ALA members, and $195 for non members. Register online today!

The Power Of Technology

Last Thursday, September 7, Will Richardson (author of Weblogg-Ed and Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis, and other Powerful Tools for the Classroom) was interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show about technology in childrens and teen’s lives, with a short side discussion on DOPA.

In the interview there were two ideas that were repeated over and over again.

  • Educators (teachers and librarians) need to learn about the technology in order to help students of all ages use the technology successfully. At one point Brian Leher said to Richardson something like, “But won’t teens who use My Space go somewhere else once they find their parents and teachers using the site?” Richardson replied something like, “That doesn’t matter. It’s not where teens are but what they are doing with technology that’s important.” In other words it’s not the actual sites that are important to know about it’s what one can do with the sites. Of course that doesn’t mean we don’t need to look at and use My Space. But it does mean we need to think beyond what teens are doing on My Space now and consider the site, the technology, and the use in a larger context.
  • Parents have to be brought into the picture. A father called into the show and talked about creating his own My Space space and how that helped him connect to his child and his child’s friends. Exactly.

An MP3 download of the interview is available.

Lonelygirl15 – telling a story

Lonelygirl15 calls herself ‘Bree’ and has been leaving posts on YouTube since May to share different things about her life with viewers such as complaining about her parents or talking about her relationship with Daniel. Recently, tracking software set up by fans of lonelygirl15 found that the posts might have been part of a marketing campaign and ‘Bree’ wasn’t really who she pretended to be.

Turns out the marketing campaign was really a group of friends that wanted to tell a story-“A story that could only be told using the medium of video blogs and the distribution power of the Internet. A story that is interactive and constantly evolving with the audience.”

What about promoting programs through YouTube in a way that is a lead-in to something that might not be expected at your library? Keep them guessing and intrigued. Have teens create short videos to post on YouTube and create an interest in story telling and encourage interaction. What might that look like? Music in lonelygirl15’s videos alerted viewers of a local band that happened to be in town or ‘Bree’ would respond to viewers posts by making cookies they suggested. Great potential for promoting Teen Read Week or Teen Tech Week this way. Or even promoting storytelling and interactivity.

These ideas remind me of the article written by Erin Helmrich of Ann Arbor Public Library-
“What Teens Want: What Libraries Can Learn From MTV”, Young Adult Library Services (Spring 2004): 11-13 which is about learning how to integrate pop culture into publicity and promotions to teens.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Wikis are Good For?

Yesterday Wired posted a good article – titled Veni, Vidi, Wiki – that includes information on how wikis are being used beyond the Wikipedia style example. This is a perfect article to read at the beginning of the new school year as teachers, students, and parents are thinking about new ways to teach and to learn. It also is a perfect article to read when thinking about the world of DOPA. The examples in Veni, Vidi, Wiki show the many positive (and safe) applications of web 2.0 technologies in the lives of children, teens, and adults.

In the article the CEO of Socialtext mentions making a wiki software that is easy enough for members of a PTA to use. Imagine if the local PTA could use the wiki to plan projects and get student and teacher input on projects. Of course, the same goes for a library friends group, staff, and youth participation groups. Why not setup a wiki for a teen group in the library and make that the main place for teens to plan projects, programs, etc.? That would help to guarantee involvement of teens who can’t (or don’t) get to the library. It would also make the planning process transparent and might help educate and inform others about the great work that teens can do – when given the chance.

If you are interested in starting a wiki there are lots of software possibilities – some cost money, some are fee-based, some require you to have a server, some are entirely web-based. The article from Wired lists some software possibilities. You might also check out Wiki Matrix. The site gives visitors a chance to compare different wiki software features in order to choose the best one for a particular need and purpose. (Don’t miss the Wizard at Wiki Matrix that takes you through the selection process step-by-step.)

Get Active @ your Library: volunteer style

Here’s a great news story about a teen choosing to get active in her library and her community: Bellaire senior hopes to encourage more reading by teenagers in area.

For her Girl Scout Gold Award, Diana Batten is raising money and gathering book donations to update and make the teen area of her public library more appealing to teens. She’s doing many of the things that YA librarians try to do: attract community interest and involvement; gather assistance from teen volunteers in collection development and planning; and emphasizing the ideas that teen should read for fun and get involved in their local library (hey, that sounds familiar…)

I hope that this spotlight on teen reading and services at Bellaire Public Library inspires them and other libraries to keep the ball rolling – hire a teen services specialist, explore new collections such as graphic novels and games, maybe celebrate Teen Read Week!

And Ms. Batten’s ideas for fundraising and donations might be useful to some librarians thinking about using this year Teen Read Week theme: Get Active @ your Library to promote volunteering at the library. Here are some other ideas for library volunteer projects: Get Philanthropic @ your Library

Guys Read

Check out Michelle Glatt’s site where she is starting a Guys Read program at her school library at the end of this month which will involve themed booktalks, guest speakers, blogging, and podcasting. Michelle is a School Media Specialist at Chiddix Junior High School in Normal, Illinois (yes, Normal-whose name was taken from a ‘normal school’ whose purpose was to teach standards or norms). She has a great presence on the front page of Chiddix’s web site, has a huge following for her booktalk program in partnership with the local public library and has integrated such tools as Flickr, and WordPress into the school web site.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Register for Teen Read Week!

It’s not too late to register for Teen Read Week™: Get Active @ your Library (October 15 – 21, 2006).

Simply go to and sign up. Registering for Teen Read Week lets YALSA know how many libraries are participating in this important week.

Once you’re signed up, get programming and display ideas at the TRW site:

And if you order TRW products before October 6, you will be guaranteed to have them in time for Teen Read Week!

I will be blogging about Teen Read Week all month long as libraries gear up to Get Active!

Teen Tech Week Website and Wiki updates

If you have not had a chance to visit the Teen Tech Week Website and the Teen Tech Week wiki, please do so. New additions and plenty of updates will give you the head start that you will need to get programming ideas for Teen Tech Week at your library or media center. If your teens are into gaming, podcasting or building a computer why not use both sites as your resource guide.
New additions to the Teen Tech Week Website:

  1. Activity ideas: Sponsor a Podcast Academy.
  2. Teen Tech Week Resource Page: Don’t feel overwhelmed about not knowing how to create a wiki or blog. Get the information about the latest technology trends right on the Teen Tech Week Website.
  3. Check out the new Teen Tech Week logo.

The Teen Tech Week wiki is the place where you can add information about your (and your teen’s) ideas and plans for Teen Tech Week. In order to add to the wiki or join a discussion, you must create a wiki account.
New additions to the wiki:

  1. DOPA (Deleting Online Predators Act) Resource page with PDF files that you can print out.
  2. Online Social Networking.
    On the Web and In Print Resource to get you ready for Teen Tech Week.
  3. Tech Programs for Teen Tech Week. Did you ever want to host a How to Create Machinima Workshop?

Just a reminder to bookmark both TTW Website and Wiki for more updates coming soon.

Teen Tech Week Website:

Teen Tech Week wiki

Study: Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003

Just in time for the DOPA vote in the Senate:
“One of the more important findings presented in the report is that schools appear to help narrow the disparities between different types of students in terms of computer use. Differences in the rates of computer use are smaller at school than they are at home when considering such characteristics as race/ethnicity, family income, and parental education.”

“Computer and Internet Use by Students in 2003” a National Center for Education Statistics Study examines the use of computers and the Internet by American children enrolled in nursery school and students in kindergarten through grade 12. The report looks at the overall rate of use (that is, the percentage of individuals in the population who are users), the ways in which students use the technologies, where the use occurs (home, school, and other locations), and the relationships of these aspects of computer and Internet use to demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as students’ age and race/ethnicity and their parents’ education and family income.

According to the findings from the study, 91% of students in nursery school through grade twelve used computers in school, and 59% used the computers at school; 83% of students in nursery school through grade twelve used the Internet at school while 68% accessed the Internet from at home – my interpretation is that 25% of students surveyed don’t have home Internet, and 17% have Internet exposure ranging from zero to elsewhere (friend, cafe, library, etc). Could this mean that a QUARTER of the Internet-using youth population will be cut off from accessing social software web sites in schools–from using tools that have revolutionized the way we work and learn–when DOPA passes in the Senate?

The survey of nearly 30,000 students included a question about video game use on home computers – 56% play games at home on their computers. Also, the is a correlation between parents’ level of education and likelihood that children play games at home.

No data is presented on for in school gaming on computers, but 38% of students say they play games online. No differentiation was made between the school/home location in this report – a question “where do you access each activity?” would be very interesting.

You can download, view and print the publication as a PDF file.

My Space Hacks

Making a My Space space one’s own is something that many teens, and adults, spend hours working on. The blog, My Space Hacks, is a great one-stop-shop for finding layouts, tools, and more for a My Space account. Included in the list of tools and resources is info. on how to browse My Space privately and today’s main post is about a new browser that’s getting a lot of buzz. Browzar is made for keeping information private and dumps history and cache automatically. Let your teens know about the tools they can find and use on My Space Hacks and maybe they’ll be interested in Browzar too.