Text messaging champion

This past Saturday, in New York, a thirteen year old claimed the title of US Texting Champion and $25,000. Messages were viewed on an overhead screen, quickly texted and whomever reached the judge first with correct punctuation in message, won.

What a great library program idea (well, maybe not that much prize money!) and a good way to acknowledge teens literacy skills. Check out this book, Teens, Technology and Literacy; Or, Why Bad Grammar Isn’t Always Bad by Linda Braun for more on this topic.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Serving Teens – A Second Life Discussion

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJoin in a best practices interactive discussion in Second Life, Thursday, March 29, 6pmsl at the Fireball Café, InfoIsland II, 235, 247, 23. Library consultant Beth Gallaway / Cerulean Vesperia will present about how normal brain development impacts teen behavior (check out model of brain in photo), Library consultant Linda Braun / Lucy Theeuwes will focus on the literacy aspects of teen behaviors and how some of what teens do that might seem strange is actually fantastic in terms of literacy, and Technology Education Librarian, Kelly Czarnecki / BlueWings Hayek will talk about ‘creating spaces of their own’-between home and school that can foster building developmental assets and healthy relationships for teens. Go to www.secondlife.com to set up a free account. IM Cerulean, Lucy, or BlueWings inworld for more information.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki

Letter to Congress

I tried to reply to Linda’s post, but my comment was “invalid!” so here it is:

OMG.

I didn’t check my email all day. See, bad things happen when you are offline!

I did compose a note to my Congressman, in the hopes he and his aides read their email in the AM.

Dear Congressman,

I am writing to implore you to vote AGAINST the Deleting Online Predators Act as it is currently written. The Internet today is a interactive and dynamic one, where ANY website that allows you to sign in and interact with other users is a social software website including online department stores like Amazon.com, WebCT (used for online courses), news sites like Digg.com and Instant Messaging services used by over 75% of teens! An educational exception can be applied to each and EVERY use of blogs, wikis, and social software – I learn something new every time I log on to a social software website, where I read, discuss, analyze, create, think critically, search, hypothesize, and prove. I cannot echo Beth Yoke, Executive Director of YALSA, enough: EDUCATION, NOT LAWS BLOCKING ACCESS, IS THE KEY TO SAFE USE OF THE INTERNET.

By largest concern is for students themselves. According to the Search Institute (url), there are forty developmental assets that teens need to grow up into healthy, contributing members of our society. Things like support in the form of adult mentors who are not blood relatives (i.e. an aspiring teen writer talking to an author in an online chat or via MySpace), clear boundaries (i.e. by following rules set by individual libraries and communities), being viewed as resources (i.e. valued for their fan fiction and web building and video game modding) and socialization (i.e. journalling, sharing photos, and creating films), to name a few. Access to these asset-building social softwares are KEY to teens emotional and psychological and physical and spiritual growth! How would banning collaborative web applications stunt that growth?

My next concern is that librarians, who are on the forefront of this Internet safety issue (and ethical use of the Internet, I might add!) were NOT included in the committee, although this legislation affects those that get E-rates. Why were no librarians included, when such legislation would have such a major impact? We are working so hard to DECREASE the digital divide by provided access to those who cannot get it at home – people in impoverished areas of the country, often people who are minorities.

My final concern is that this piece of legislation takes power AWAY from parents, and I simply do not believe it is the job of the government to be a parenting institution.

Although I understand schools act in loco parentis, and that students may be distracted at school by games, instant messaging, blogging, etc, drill and practice is boring for kids who have grown up playing video games. They need a sense of engagement to think more deeply. Perhaps, assignments should integrate social software web applications to meet the needs of today’s students. It’s a whole new literacy out there! Let’s prepare kids for it – not censor it.

Kind regards,

Beth Gallaway, MLS
Library trainer/consultant
Hampton NH