For years, my library system has used what we call ‘Teen Take Out Kits’. The kits are meant to circulate around the system for branches to have programs, using the materials provided. Over the years, we have added more technology as part of the kits and are looking forward to kicking them off for Teen Tech Week.
Some of the kits may come with step by step instructions with photos and a write up on how to use the materials. For example, the Flip cameras have a laminated sheet on how to use the camera. While it might be intuitive to some, others find a hard copy of the instructions useful. Othertimes, we might point to a URL since there are already so many tutorials available and created for the specific material we are using.
The kits are not meant to be a means to an end. Meaning, the basics are provided, but staff are encouraged to implement their own ideas and share how they used the kit at their branch with other library staff.
Lastly, we all know how important resource sharing is these days. The kits can save money by having the supplies available to stretch around the system.
The following are some examples of the technology kits we are using. If your library uses a kit format for teen programming, feel free to share!
Geocaching: Five geomate Jr. GPS units can go out as a kit. An instruction sheet is provided to talk about what geocaching is and how it can be used by a library. Since it’s an outdoor activity, hopefully nicer weather is on it’s way to most places who could engage teens in this technology treasure hunt.
Portable blue and green screen: Cameras are needed in conjunction with the screen so branches can also check out the Flip camera kit. JayCut is a free online video editing program that can chroma key the blue/green out of the background and put in a scene of the teen’s choice. It’s easy to use and results are pretty instantaneous.
Flash drives: There are a lot of software programs that require them to be installed on computers. In many libraries, this process isn’t an easy one in terms of having it ready by the time our program is to happen. There is a lot of free software available that can be installed on a flash drive and run on a computer. Some examples we’ve used are Inkscape a drawing program, Game Maker, a game design program, and Format Factory, which is a media file converter.
The possibilities for how to use the kits are endless. Sure, the upfront costs for a technology kit can be expensive, but the return on investment we get from them definitely pays off!