App of the Week: Slender-man

Title: Slender-man

Platform: ‘ iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later

Price: $0.99

Slender-man is a game created in July of 2012 based on the legend of the Slender-man, who is known to only be seen by children just before he reaches out and grabs them. This game has developed a cult following of teens and tweens everywhere and in particular, at my library. I was first introduced to this game over the summer when I noticed a group of kids playing it on a computer. Suddenly, they all jumped back and screamed. As the screen went fuzzy, an image of a thin man’s face appeared on the blinking monitor. “If you see that, that basically means you have lost the game.” One of the teens informed me.

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October Eureka Moments

Thoroughly in the swing of things now? Already bored with what’s going on? Happy but ready to add more programming and interest to your services? Whatever the case, maybe some of these innovations, research publications, and other cool tidbits will inspire you.

  • You know your patrons like games. And you may already know of some of the social justice gaming websites and programs out there, like Games for Change or Spent. Now it might interest you to know that there’s a new game out there designed specifically to target your ethics, not just to make you live in someone else’s shoes or support a cause. Quandary is its name, and it was designed by The Learning Network, a collaboration between MIT and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Take a look at the game here, and then consider if your gaming club might attract new members with an interest in social justice, or if your volunteer group might like to try some gaming. Now that so many teens are so savvy at programming, you might be able to get a group together to create a game that tackles a local issue that they find important.
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    App of the Week: Minecraft Explorer

     

    Title: Minecraft Explorer Pro
    Platform: iOS
    Cost: .99

     

     

     

    Tired of switching between windows as you pause your Minecraft game and open your browser to look something up on the Minecraft Wiki?’  This hand-held reference for your mobile device has all of the crafting recipes and mob facts you need, as well as an Enchantment guide, a Skin Studio (in app purchase of an additional 1.99), seed codes to type in for different map results,’  and a list of Minecraft servers, where you can keep track of your favorite places to play.’  The app includes links to the Minecraft Wiki for more detailed information, but is organized visually for quick browsing that is fast and user friendly. Continue reading App of the Week: Minecraft Explorer

    Teen Read Week 2012: Gearing Up for Collaboration

    As the school year winds down for me, it’s easy to get caught up in the last minute whirlwind of final exams, papers, coercing materials returns, and talking my wonderful faculty off the proverbial ledge.

    But when I’m really on my game, I begin thinking about the first couple of months of the next school year and cataloging what, if anything, I need to do to lay a foundation for successful programming. Teen Read Week is always an event that sneaks up on me (and I’m on the committee, for goodness sake!) since it usually happens mid to late October and I’m in full project swing by then.

    After over a decade of being a school librarian, I can chalk up my success to that much-overused word, collaboration. For me, collaboration just means using the network of relationships I already have with my teachers and students and searching for any new relationships in my community that will help me do my job which, in the case of Teen Read Week, is promoting recreational reading.

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    App of the Week: Angry Birds Space

    Title: Angry Birds Space

    Cost: $0.99

    Platform: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (s), iPod touch, iPad, and Android. Requires i0S 4.0 or later.

     

    The pigs are back to try to outsmart the birds, but this time they meet their fate in…space! Rovio Mobile, the same company that developed all of the previous Angry Birds games, has just unveiled the newest addition to the Angry Birds game family, Angry Birds Space. This game has all of the same excellent and addictive features as its predecessors, plus more. Since launching just last week, the app has already been downloaded over 10 million times! What makes it so cool? Well, the battles between the pigs and the birds take place in space where there are gravitational force fields and the game has new varieties of birds with special abilities, such as the bird who can freeze things by casting an ice shield when launched. This game is really fun and a must for teens who already enjoy the original Angry Birds games. Continue reading App of the Week: Angry Birds Space

    App of the Week: Michael Jackson The Experience HD

    Title: Michael Jackson The Experience

    Cost:’  $4.99
    Platform: iPad: requires iOS 4.2 or later

    When Michael Jackson The Experience came out for Xbox Kinect every teen in my library wanted to give it a whirl, but some were too shy to shake it in front of their peers. This excellent iPad app is a great alternative for teens who just aren’t comfortable doing their best rendition of “Thriller” in front of an audience. In this format, they can let their fingers do the dancing and save themselves some humiliation, all while taking part jamming out to MJ’s classic hits like “Beat It,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Blood on the Dance Floor, “and much more. Don’t see your favorite song included in the game? No worries, you can download other songs through the in-app purchase function.

    The game functions by using your fingers to make a series of swipes across the screen, following the prompts for each impending dance move. When this happens, the Michael Jackson avatar comes to life and performs real Michael Jackson signature moves. Thankfully, the game is not sensitive to how large you make the signs or where on the screen you make them; just as long as you perform the correct “swipe motion,” your move will be properly executed. The animation and game graphics are amazing and will not let you down. Continue reading App of the Week: Michael Jackson The Experience HD

    Research Roundup

    I’m back with another month’s worth of interesting research and writing on scholarly and popular topics related to teen culture, literacy, and library services. I’ve decided to expand from just summarizing research to also linking you to fascinating articles, blog posts, or other more easily-accessed tidbits that might spark meaningful conversation, programming, or reference/advisory transactions. As always, if you have a topic you’d like to know about, or if there’s a journal you miss having access to, comment here and I’ll do some digging for you.

  • The Lilith blog, an online supplement to the Jewish feminist magazine, reports on a “freedom ride” in Jerusalem protesting the ultra-Orthodox custom of requiring women to board and sit in the rear of the public bus only. Sound familiar? If you’re looking for a way to allow your diverse patrons to connect with each other, try bringing this up as a topic and talking about the similarities with the freedom rides in the American South.
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    Celebrating National Gaming Day with Teens

    National Gaming Day is November 12 – a week from Saturday. It’s “an initiative of the American Library Association to reconnect communities through their libraries around the educational, recreational, and social value of all types of games.” [source]

    Even if the idea of gaming makes you a little nervous, there’s so much you can do with your teens to celebrate NGD. School librarians may choose to hold an even prior to the day (Saturdays aren’t so great for us), while public librarians whose libraries are open on Saturdays can celebrate on the day itself. whether low- or high-tech, you’ll be able to pull something fun together with these ideas:

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    30 Days of How-To #23: Minecraft

    I’m cheating a little because I haven’t actually played Minecraft with teens on the brand new multiplayer server space I just rented. ‘ But I do play a lot of Minecraft with my friends, I have talked a lot about it with teens, and I am going to offer the game as a regular teen program starting next week.’  Here’s what I’m doing to bring Minecraft to the library, and links to some interesting ideas about things you might do with it.

    But first, what is Minecraft?

    Minecraft is a game where you roam a landscape full of different sorts of blocks that you can move around to build anything you want.’  You can dig deep to find different resources, and explore to find a variety of environments.’  At night, zombies and other monsters come out, so you need to protect yourself.’  The game was created by Swedish programmer Markus Persson, and is being developed by his company Mojang.’  It’s still in beta,’  so there are new updates all the time.’  Minecraft is getting prettier and more involved with each new permutation.

    I love this game because it demands creativity.’  You have a world, and you can do anything.’  It’s even more fun with friends, where in building your world you find yourselves cooperating by sharing resources,’  planning building projects,’  helping each other and showing off for each other.’  I can’t wait to see what happens when I turn my group of teens loose in their new world.

    Here’s a video for you to take a look at Minecraft.

    Click through for more.
    Continue reading 30 Days of How-To #23: Minecraft

    30 Days of How-To #13- How to Create Powerpoint Games

    Do you think Powerpoint is just for presentations? Meetings? Display? Think again. Powerpoint can also be used to create cool trivia and strategy games.

    Creating trivia games is easy. Simply write down your multiple choice ‘ trivia questions and answers. Then, create a Powerpoint presentation with one question or answer on each slide.’ You can add animations, graphics, or’ sounds’ too. ‘ Then, hook up your computer to a projector or large monitor so everyone can see your presentation. Have your teens or teams create answer cards on labeled A-D on scrap paper. Then, when playing, they can hold them up before you display the answer.

    TIP: It’s important to keep your script and to keep track of which teens or teams answered correctly before displaying the answer to avoid confusion.

    Next, there are strategy games. These are similar to “Choose-Your-Own-Adventure” novels. They can be used to tease plots of book discussion books, or teens can create their own to share with the group.’ For these, you’ll be creating links to slides within the presentation. To do this with Powerpoint 2007:

    Select the text that you wish to use1) Select the text that you wish to use to create the link. This will be part of your choice. For example, if you have the choice “fight the dragon” or “run away” you are going to create a link to a different slide for each choice.

    2) With your mouse, right click on your selected text. A drop-down menu will appear. Select “Hyperlink” from this menu.

    3) This will bring up another menu. On the left, you will notice tabs with places to link to. Select the tab labeled “Place in this document”. After doing this, you will see a list of the slides you have created on the right. Select the title of the slide that you wish to link to.Menu of selected items to link to

    TIP: Be sure to map out your game so that you will know how many slides that you need for each decision. Also, keep your slide titles relevant to save time and aggravation when creating links.

    You can create as many decisions, choices, questions, and answers as you want, but remember that each item you add will increase the file size which may create a problem when transferring it to another computer.