Welcome to the last day of Teens & Tech. I hope you enjoyed it. Sorry for the delay in getting this last post up. I was having, of all things, technology issues. Today’s topic was suggested by the Tech Integrator at my school, Allison Lundquist.


Thank you for all of the great suggestions. Here’s my problem. I’m totally blocked. I want to share awesome YouTube videos with my teachers, but YouTube is blocked. I want to create a Facebook page for my library, but Facebook is banned, too. Skype-An-Author? I’d love to, but Skype is verboten. How do I get around these filtering issues?

All Blocked Up

Dear ABU:

I feel your pain, I really do. Nothing is worse than seeing that SonicWall come up to stop you in your tracks.

Really this is an issue of intellectual freedom, the same as a book challenge. If we feel that a site has merit, we need to fight for it. The ALA office of Intellectual Freedom has a very useful page about filters and filtering.

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Last December, ‘ my 12 year-old’ niece’ and not-12 year-old best friend both received Kindles for Christmas. By the time I saw them, both had uploaded a few books and a few games, and both were raving about the size and convenience. It was the first time I’d seen the new editions up close, and they certainly are sleek and clear.

My library currently owns two older edition Kindles (courtesy’ of a donation), and by Christmas, we were still wrestling with to how’ ‘ to acquire and advertise our Kindle eBook collection. In addition, my colleagues and I were debating the fit of a ‘ Kindle purchase model at our library, and so movement with the two we already owned was slow. I thought we had time on this.

But seeing eReaders in the hands of two of my favorite readers, I realized the eBook revolution had to become a priority. It was time for this concept to take center stage. ‘ So I’ve spent this new year trying to catch up on the eBook conversation, and figure out the best way to integrate eBooks into our school library.

I’ve asked myself a few questions: What are different libraries doing to incorporate eBooks and eReading? What are the road blocks? Is there a model out there that our library can follow? How do we’ proceed?

So far, the answers to these questions are vast and varied–‘ Here is some of what I’ve discovered. Read More →

Over the past three years I’ve been in on the work of Hennepin County Library’s Media Mashup project (an IMLS funded project) which focused on bringing technology to teens in public libraries around the United States. The project used the Scratch software program (Scratch project example below) as the entree point for librarians to integrate tech into their services. And, it looked at the ways in which Scratch was integrated in order to better understand challenges and successes when innovating in libraries.
Learn more about this Scratch project
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Creating fun mix and mash programs for your students during Teen Tech Week can be easy and cheap.

Skype with students in another state or country, or reach out to authors, experts, or people of interest. Use your connections to find Skype partners who your teens would love to chat with: athletes, musicians, or media professionals are great places to start. To stay even truer to Teen Tech Week, bring in a technology expert who can talk to teens about their job and how they got into it. To find authors to Skype with, visit the Skype an Author website.

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All of the information you’ve been sharing has been wonderful. I can see so much potential. The problem? I’m in a rural community without broadband. We have one public access computer with dial-up.’  Sometimes I feel like I’m failing my teen patrons when I can’t do all of these exciting things I see on the YALSA and other blogs. What’s a country librarian to do?

– No Tech in the Country

Dear NTIC:

Thank you for a great question. Location and economics are still barriers to tech access in the United States, and it impacts teens in rural as well as urban areas. According to a recent FCC report, ten percent of US homes have no access to broadband whether they can afford it or not. As the Washington Post reported, only 68% of American homes have access and “low-income and minority groups are less likely to have a broadband Internet connection in their homes.”

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For months now, School Librarian and SLJ blogger, Joyce Valenza, has been raving about Cengage Gale’s iPhone appAccess My Library,” ‘ which allows students and other library users access to their library’s Gale subscription databases.

But Cengage Gale is not the only vendor in the mobile marketplace. ‘ Other library reference services are also available on mobile devices. These services may not have “apps” per se, but they often provide a version of their resources that is more accessible to users on the go.

Here are some of the subscription services with mobile offerings:

Have you made sure your library is set up to take advantage of these great resources? If your library pays for this service, make sure you get your full money’s worth! Then, once you’ve contacted your customer support services and improved your mobility, don’t forget to spread the word to your teens via email, QR codes, facebook, twitter, etc. ‘ And if you want to get your own library mobile, you can check this blog post for more suggestions.

I’m sure I’ve missed some other mobile reference tools, so what else is out there? Does your library have a mobile presence? ‘ Tell us: How have you shared the great news of library mobility with your teens?

It’s no secret that the teens we work with are born digital. 13 to 19 year olds have had technology in their lives every day of their lives. And, they have had the web as a tool for viewing, using, and finding content every day of their lives.

What does it really mean to be born digital?

Does it mean that teens are unaware of how to manage their privacy and identity in only environments?

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How are your preparations for Teen Tech Week 2011 coming? With budget and staffing strain it can be difficult to find the resources to plan events for teens in your libraries. However, the teens can be your biggest asset when it comes to program planning and presentation. Find out what they’re interested in and help bring their ideas to life. It will increase program attendance and could develop into an active Teen Advisory Group.

In case you’re still making arrangements for your event, here are some low cost Teen Tech Week programming ideas.
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Most of the chatter in the education world around teens and technology focuses on meeting teens where they are and bringing educators up to speed with contemporary tech usage, integrating established curriculum with new tools. But for those of us who actually fall under the definition of Millennials (or Generation Y) along with the teens we work with, all this us versus them talk has gotten tiresome. We, too, grew up playing video games, text heavily, and flocked to social networks. We’ve learned the language and the tools of the professional world, but in our personal lives (and, increasingly, at work) we’re communicating in much the same way that teens do.

So what happens when we’re communicating with teens, but not at work?

Norton High School in Massachusetts made headlines last October when administrators proposed a new policy barring teachers from interacting with students–even former students–on social networking sites and contacting students with personal phones. Schools across the country have made similar moves, arguing that “professional distance” is important for educators–and for teens.

And I say hogwash.

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The teens in my library are app-crazy! They are asking hard questions like, “I’ve made this app for my droid, but I need help getting the bugs out.” Then I’ve got the adults who don’t know an app from their, well, you know. Can you help me and my patrons sort out the ins and outs of apps? Tell me more about the app marketplace and how the web is being overtaken by the entirely more
convenient app world!


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