The title for this blog post, while it was borrowed from the name of a VOYA column, came to me when I was thinking about the tech program my colleague and I helped facilitate today with a special needs group of middle schoolers.

We had a rough idea of what we had planned for them. I say rough idea because we had to switch gears a bit since the space they reserved is currently getting upgraded. She and I were both comfortable not having everything planned to a T. Not to say that’s bad to do that, it’s just not how we roll so to speak.

First she quickly demonstrated how to do stop motion animation and then invited the youth, a few at a time, to the front of the room to try it on their own. While we did use a program on our Mac called iCanAnimate, we could have easily used a free animation program called Scratch. The key was the interaction and learning we allowed-not so much what software we used. Animation lends itself to quick results and can be highly interactive.

I brought out our television and played our DVD that had recorded animation projects created by other teens on there. The youth that had just spent several minutes creating their own, could make the connection to see what possibilities animation holds by viewing what other teens made. A television and DVD player is something many libraries have. The ability to record a DVD of animations is also something else that can be done cheaply but it can take a little time. A very similar thing with gathering animation clips from YouTube or again Scratch to be able to show via computer at the ready, would do the trick as well.

The key for me was:

  • having fun and not focusing on what didn’t work right away
  • having the youth become learners and players quickly and sometimes simultaneously
  • being open to learning ourselves
  • trying something new

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.

One Thought on “Tag Team Tech

  1. Those are pretty much the same keys I’m keeping in mind for my six-week gaming elective with high school sophomores. We’re using Scratch for our final projects (some games, some animations) and I knew next to nothing about it before the class started, so my learning curve was similar to that of my students.

    After having to have instruction observed and planned to the last detail for my practicum observations, I find winging it really satisfying and liberating.

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