Teen Tech Week 2011 (March 6-12) isn’t just for public libraries, as you know. There are lots of fun ways to incorporate it into your school library without breaking the budget.

This year, the theme of Teen Tech Week is Mix and Mash. It’s an awesome theme because you really can do anything at all with it. On February 24, I’ll be writing about programming and book displays for the teen library, but for this post, I thought it would be worthwhile to highlight some curriculum-based activities that can be tied into TTW. According to the YALSA TTW site, Teen Tech Week 2011″focuses on encouraging teens to use library resources to express their creativity by developing their own unique online content and safely sharing it by using online collaborative tools.” Fantastic – school libraries are the perfect place to create online content. And librarians are pretty good at guiding teens through the process of sharing their work online in a safe way, right? So here we go.

The sky’s the limit when it comes to creating original online content, but here are some ideas to get you started.You will notice that the theme here is collaboration: any time you can take the opportunity to work with another member of the faculty or staff on a project like this, you’re going a long way toward making connections and promoting library services at your school.

  • Join with any teacher to get kids blogging. My favorite site for these purposes is kidblog.org, which is supersafe and very simple to use. If teachers want their students’ work to be more available to the greater world, you can change kidblog’s security settings as needed. Teens can blog about anything – current events, personal beliefs, sports, experiences, what they’re reading, etc. The teacher can be responsible for developing the assignment, while you step in to teach about the mechanics of blogging, tips on online safety, etc.
  • Media making. Do a workshop or visit a class to show teens how to use creative software – Windows Movie Maker, iMovie, Stage’D, or Xtranormal are a couple to try (and free for the most part, either as factory installs or web apps). The teacher crafts the assignment, based on what’s happening in class, and then you can work on showing the students how the software works, helping them through the process, and sharing their work with the school (or beyond). These movies can explain concepts, be book trailers, illustrate a situation they learned about in history class, or…be anything, really.
  • Alternatives to PowerPoint. Again, this can work in any discipline. Show a teacher a sampling of presentation software that isn’t PowerPoint or Google Presentation. Some of my favorites: VoiceThread, Glogster, and Prezi. There are lots of quick projects that can be done with these tools: students gather photos, videos, and/or text that represent a mini-biography, a book they’re reading, or a concept they’re discussing in class. These can be shown to their class or posted online for all to see.
  • Mini-movies. Got Flip cams? Make films about ANYTHING. I saw some great vocabulary films at my school: students filmed themselves acting out various Spanish words all over campus. It was easy and funny. Or, teens can make Public Service Announcements, about anything from internet safety to environmental issues. You can hold a mini clinic on film making, though many teens will know how to use the cameras already. If you have Windows Movie Maker, they can even edit the films and add music and titles. These movies can be posted on students’ blogs (see above), their Glogs (see above again), or the school website.

There are obviously a million more things that you could be doing to create curriculum-based projects for Teen Tech Week, so if you’ve tried any yourself or if you’re thinking of trying something, please share in the comments!

Sarah Ludwig

About Teen Tech Week

Dawn Abron is the Teen Services Coordinator at the Zion-Benton Public Library in Zion, IL.

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