A brief look at ‘grams of interest to engage teens and librarians navigating this social media platform.
Following up on his final State of the Union address, President Obama announced the “Computer Science for All Initiative.” In his weekly address on January 30th, Mr. Obama said that computer science is a “basic skill right along with the three R’s” that is vital for the 21st century economy. Details of the initiative include $4 billion in state funding and $100 million directly for local districts to provide training and support for increased access to computer science courses, particularly for girls and minorities. Libraries are already embracing the youth coding movement, but we have more work to do.
From programming with Ozobots and MaKey MaKey sets to hosting video game design competitions, school and public libraries are engaging teens in exciting ways to promote computer science skills. While it may seem daunting to offer coding classes for youth in your library, rethinking our role as co-learner and creating strategic partnerships will ensure successful learning outcomes. The Future of Library Services for and with Teens emphasizes that we are not expected to be experts nor keepers of information, but must learn to be comfortable working alongside teens to learn together. Meanwhile, libraries are partnering with their local CoderDojo, FIRST Robotics leagues, and makerspaces to connect STEM-based learning opportunities within their communities. Promoting outreach with women and minority-based groups such as Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code will support efforts to get more girls hooked into STEM and encourage young women to choose technical careers. As The Future of Library Services for and with Teens explains, when libraries embrace our role as both formal and informal learning environments, teens are able to develop 21st century skills, content knowledge, and expertise, engage in peer-supported learning, and connect with a broader community based on common interests. However, more needs to be done to widen our efforts.
In Linda Braun’s recent YALSAblog post, she says that annual events like CSEdWeek and the Hour of Code are great opportunities to celebrate coding in the community, but they need to be a part of something bigger. She asks “what if libraries and other formal and informal learning organizations focused on Hour of Code as a way to expand and enhance STEM learning and 21st Century Skill development and used the event as a way to celebrate that learning? Or, what if learning organizations participated in Hour of Code as a piece of a broader program focused on skill development and/or college and career readiness?”
How will your library answer the call?
For more information and resources, please see the following links:
STEM Programming Toolkit (Word doc)