Katie MacBride, Young Adult Librarian at the Mill Valley Public Library in California, is preparing to pitch an ambitious idea YALSA President’s Program Monday, June 29 from 10:30 a.m. to Noon. She will advocate for “Building History in 3D” in front of a panel of librarians and business leaders for the chance to win cash and technology prizes provided by YALSA, Tutor.com, Makey Makey, and 3D Systems.

We wanted to catch up with Katie before she heads to San Francisco for ALA’s Annual Conference.

TW: Tell us about the project you submitted to the Shark Bowl.
KB: The project we’re pitching, called Building History in 3D, centers around technology, history, and community. The project builds off of TimeWalk, a 3D virtual world developed by Ted Barnett, a former volunteer in our Library’s Lucretia Little History Room. Ted has started out by developing an initial virtual model of downtown Mill Valley as it was in 1915. Eventually this virtual world will expand to include renderings of Mill Valley as it was throughout the decades.

Ted introduced his project to our Library and we were eager to help out. Over the last few months, staff and volunteers in our Lucretia Little History Room have been providing research support as TimeWalk’s developers “build” a historically accurate town — creating buildings, steam trains, landscapes, and more. What we want to do through Building History in 3D is invite local teens to be part of the process, offering them the opportunity to learn new technological skills while engaging with the community and learning more about their town and its history.
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For almost anything you need or want to do on a smartphone, “there’s an app for that.” According to ZDNet, teens average 25 apps on their mobile devices, with many installing over 40. Going behind the device and the apps and exploring what goes into making an app can help teens learn a variety of skills, and help demystify the technology. That’s why teaching teens how to make apps is something you might want to do. But, you may ask, “how can I teach teens to do something that I don’t know how to do myself?” Don’t worry, MIT’s App Inventor has everything you need to start teaching workshops on Android App creation, all online, and all free.

The first step is to spend a little time on the Teach and Learn pages of the App Inventor site. The Teach page includes everything that you, as the teacher, need so you can help teens through the process of creating an app. The site includes curriculum materials, including lessons on how to create three apps (a Magic 8 Ball, a painting app, and pong).
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