This year was our 4th Annual Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast to celebrate Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. However, this was the FIRST year we incorporated technology (besides that magic stuff that turns our eggs GREEN!).
Before the program started, kids filed into our large meeting room, and OH! Every so often, the children would catch a glimpse of a rascally black and white cat prowling around the hallways and by windows. When all the kids and adults were seated, Amy, our Children’s Librarian, started with a Welcome song and message, and THEN…
THE CAT IN THE HAT came out to greet the children!
(AND got her tail stuck in the door. Luckily Amy was there to be a helper!)
The Cat in the Hat comes each year to read Green Eggs and Ham. And this year, the Cat in the Hat read it from the screen using the Green Eggs and Ham iPad app. This gave EVERYONE a good view of the story from the big screen!
After the story was over, everyone sang a silly song; just enough exercise to build up an appetite FOR:
GREEN EGGS & HAM! (and juice and orange slices)
It was a celebration everyone could sink their teeth into!Stephen Tafoya works as a Technology Trainer for a library district, and he partners with Youth Services Coordinators to engage kids and teens with technology in library programming.
LittleeLit will be presenting with a panel of dynamic presenters at the ALSC Institute on September 18-20, 2014 in Oakland, CA.
Tech Access on a Budget
Cen Campbell, LittleeLit.com; Suzanne Flint, California State Library; Molly Fraker, Berkeley Public Education Fund; Mary Ann Scheuer, Berkeley Unified School District (CA); Andrea Vernola, Kalamazoo Public Library (MI)
Have you ever wanted to bring new technologies like iPads, podcasting or video editing labs to the children and teens you work with, but felt like you can’t even enter the discussion because funding is so tight? This program uses real life case studies to examine ways similarly situated libraries have brought new technologies to children and teens through different funding opportunities from. You’ll learn about different funding opportunities, how to make an effective case for tech, and most importantly, why young patrons benefit from increased access. Participants will leave with immediately implementable ideas, whether a small scale trial or a large scale grant, for increasing access to high quality media and technology on even the most daunting budget.
Also check out:
I had the opportunity to present at the CATS (Children and Teen Services) Winter Workshop in Colorado at the end of January. The program was called APPles & Androids, and I would like to highlight the points from the workshop for you here.
Before we got into the slides, we did our first APP-tivity. Using Endless Alphabet, I told the participants that I needed their help. “These rascally monsters just came through and messed up all my letters and I need you to help me put the letters back in order to build the word.” By asking choice/contrast questions, I had the participants tell me which letter was first, which one came next (or after) that first letter, and so on. As you may know, when you touch a letter in the game, it makes the letter sound. So, when I touched the letter, I had the participants make that letter sound with me, and told them they could even use their hands to show me what they think the letter sound looks or acts like. Once we put all the letters back in place, we cheered ourselves on a job well done, and then we listened to what the meaning of the word was. I shared with the participants some language I may tell parents. “By asking your child questions about which letters go where and having them repeat the silly sounds, you are helping them build letter and sound knowledge and the order sounds go in to make up a word. You can also have your child play and act out the word meaning to help build their vocabulary!” And that was our first APP-tivity.
Then we started in with the slides. I gave everyone the big picture of tablets in society. From there, we took a look at the different tablets that are available, and ones you may consider buying for programming use. Starting with the Kindle Fire, we discussed the different models, and how having access to Kindle Freetime Unlimited would make this tablet great for a digital literacy station. Going into Android, I highlighted the specialty “kid” tablets and spoke about Android tablets in general. Now that the newer Androids have the ability to create custom profiles this is a huge draw; however, they still don’t have the content that Apple does in their App Store, but they are growing. That led us into Windows 8. Not a whole lot to offer in terms of how we use them in libraries with children. Maybe someday.
From there, it was all about the iPad, the various models, the pluses of all the app content that is available, and how to evaluate apps in the App Store (I live demoed that piece). From there, the discussion led to how iPads can be used in the library with young children, the most common use being implementation in Storytime. I shared other ideas, things I’ve done or seen in other libraries, stuff that other libraries could potentially do. Then we went into the big picture of how and why the Librarian should be the media mentor (SPOILER: it’s so the PARENT in turn becomes the MEDIA MENTOR)
I did another APP-tivity with everyone, using Sago Mini Forest Flyer and how to “think outside the app”. I taught everyone how to make a flying bird friend using their fingers and taught them this song:
I’m a little birdie,
Flapping through the forest,
Looking to see what I can see.
So they flapped along as I moved the bird on the screen and then placed her on one of the animation spots. When the bird started to interact, I would say, “What’s this? Our friend Bernadette (what they named the bird) smashed her face right into the cupcake! How silly, Bernadette! She must really love cupcakes!). Now, we are going to sing our song and fly again with our friend, but this time I want someone else to talk and tell me what Bernadette does.” And we did a few rounds of that.
At the end, I gave them language to tell parents like, “Through talk, singing our song, and play, you are helping your child build Vocabulary and Narrative Skills.”
We concluded our workshop with tips like Know Thy App (when you use it the first time, after each app update, to the point where you could do it in your sleep), Extra Tech Prep Time and Have a Backup Plan WHEN (not if) the tech does fail. And toIntegrate Naturally as it relates to their specific community (ie. slowly build it into storytime, survey parents first, etc.).
The workshop was well-received, questions throughout, and overall the CATS Workshop was a hit! Lots of great presenters, STEAM-related content, yummy food and friendly fellowship.
View the presentation slides here:
After reading about the use of apps in story time for months I finally gave one a try this morning connecting the iPad to our HDTV with the Apple 30-pin Digital AV Adapter. Peekaboo Barn from Night & Day Studios was a hit. My first app experience got off to an auspicious start when, while I was testing the equipment in our empty program room, a young customer heard the music and ran in to watch.
I do a program called Nestlings for children from birth to 15 months and Fledglings for children from 15 to 24 months. Today’s theme was peekaboo so the app was a perfect fit. I was undecided about whether to use Peekaboo Barn with the younger group but gave it a go when I saw that my attendees this morning were closer to the 15 month end of the spectrum.
I like the crisp, bright graphics and how the word for the animal appears once the barn doors open on each one. The animal sounds are authentic (except for the squeaking bunny) and the customizable voice is a nice option though I stuck with the cute kid voice today. I also like the flexibility of timing- I was able to encourage guesses while we watched the barn shake and listened to the sound of the next hidden animal and take as much or as little time as I wanted.
We do some signing in our groups so I was able to reinforce some signs as we watched the animals and I saw one young participant excitedly flapping her wings as soon as she heard the duck sound. I did wish there was a way to skip over some animals without losing the sweet bedtime ending. My younger group started to lose interest before we made it through all thirteen animals but the older group was entranced throughout and one not-yet-verbal little girl continued to point to the TV after I had turned it off. I now feel more comfortable with the equipment and will definitely explore more apps to use with the little ones in story time.
Youth Services, Shaker Heights Public Library
Nicki Petrone is a Children’s Services Associate at Shaker Heights Public Library where she specializes in programming for children birth to 24 months and creating book displays. She can often be found singing, playing the ukulele, standing on a ladder, or talking about books but has never attempted all those things at the same time.
PBS Kids just released a new survey on family media use with children aged 2-6. The results are very pro-PBS (take that as you will- they funded the study) but there are some really great suggestions and recommendations in the article. Here’s an excerpt:
School Readiness Tips for Parents
Understanding that the first five years of a child’s life are a time of physical, emotional, social and cognitive growth, parents and caregivers should look for resources and tips to help prepare children to enter school, including the following PBS KIDS tips:
1. Be involved and make learning fun. Research shows that children are more likely to succeed academically and socially in school when their parents or caregivers actively support and encourage them to take pleasure in learning.
2. Talk with your child. Young learners need to be in language rich environments. Talking to your child about a book you read together or exploring an educational app together are ways to help your child build language and acquire the skills needed to learn how to read.
3. Help your child explore. Encourage kids to ask questions and try different ways of using materials, offering them a wide range of new experiences. When choosing media, follow your child’s interests and look for educational content that builds on their excitement.
4. Let your child experiment. Kids experience great satisfaction when they try and finish new things. Give them a bit of support when they need it, but be careful not to take over completely. Simple household tasks, art projects and experimenting with various musical games are all ways that children can experiment and build confidence.
5. Nurture your child’s natural curiosity. Allow your child to chase a butterfly or watch a hermit crab peep out of its shell. Encourage them to investigate everyday objects as a way to develop curiosity and an interest in learning more. Look to media resources and characters like Curious George and Daniel Tiger from PBS KIDS, who help kids discover the world around them.
I read The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age shortly after it came out. There is a lot of valuable information in there… but, I have to share a moving story on the subject of screens in early childhood.
We just wrapped up a series of presentations on the subject of screen time in our county. We brought in Lisa Guernsey (author of the book Screen Time: How Electronic Media — From Baby Videos to Educational Software — Affects Your Young Child) to lead a number of public presentations, along with a couple of workshops for folks working in early education.
After one of the public presentations, Lisa was approached by a concerned mother. As it turned out, the mother had been using Skype with her under-2-year-old. The child’s grandparents live in China and it was important to the mother that her child grow up knowing them. However, the mother felt very guilty that her child was being exposed to a screen. Her guilt stemmed from a her understanding of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that all screen media should be avoided for children under the age of 2.
During her presentations, Lisa reviewed the existing research on the issue. In particular, she mentioned a Georgetown study that indicates that young children (although in this case, just over 2) can learn through screen media when the experience involves an active participation by the child.
In general, the research is still very slim on this topic.
I guess the biggest takeaway I got (as a librarian and a parent) is that we can either scare and inflict guilt on parents by blindly swearing by the AAP recommendation or we can help parents make good choices by sharing the best information we can find on a very complex topic. Think of the child with the grandparents in China or all of the military families where parents are stationed overseas. Is it so wrong for a child to see their absent loved-one on a screen? Is it wrong that I showed my 18 month old a YouTube clip of a woodpecker after we had just enjoyed reading Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins together?
This is a very complex and important topic. I hope folks are able to take the time to participate in the Screen Time book group being led by ALSC’s Children & Technology Interest Group.
ACE Preconference Workshop and Session
E-books, Apps, Reports, Books and Review Sources
(for iPad/iOS unless otherwise noted)
Happy Hippo, Angry Duck by Sandra Boynton (available for Nook, Kindle also)
Goodnight iPad (available for Kindle and Nook also)
ICDL – Free Books for Children – International Children’s Digital Library (iOS app web-based version also available): The Farmer’s Wife by Idries Shah and Three Little Pigs by Andrea Petrlik Huseinović
The Artist Mortimer
Bean’s Baby (also available for Android)
Byron Barton Books
Curly Hair, Straight Hair
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore
Five Little Monkeys
A Frog Thing
Go Away, Big Green Monster! for iPad
The Going to Bed Book (part of The Boynton Collection, available for Android also)
Hairy McClary from Donaldson’s Dairy (with ASL)
How Rocket Learned to Read
Four Little Corners
Little Golden Books
The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover! (also available for Kindle)
Pat the Bunny
Polar Bear Horizon – Smithsonian Oceanic Collection
Pop Out! The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Wild about Books
Wooly Mammoth in Trouble- Smithsonian Prehistoric Pals
Play, Creation & Storytelling Apps
20 Welcome Words
30hands: Create & Show What You Know
Animal Sounds- Toddler Fun Game
Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App!
Endless Alphabet (also available for Android)
Eric Carle’s My Very First App
Felt Board- Mother Goose on the Loose
Grow a Reader
Keynote (apple presentation app)
National Geographic Kids
Peekaboo Fridge (Kindle, Android, and Nook coming soon)
Peek-a-Zoo: Toddler Peekaboo at the Zoo
Power Point (Microsoft presentation program)
Puppet Pal Theatre
Together Time with Song and Rhyme for Parent and Preschooler Play
The Traditional Storyteller
Read Together Online Apps and Services
Tool for Free and Reduced Cost Apps
App Review Sources
Free Apps and Apps for Free
Mentioned Reports and Links about Kids, Libraries, and New Media
AAP: Children Adolescents & the Media
Every Child Ready to Read
Flotsam Transmedia Experience
Growing Young Minds
Mother Goose on the Loose
NAEYC Position Statement
Programming is the New Literacy
Screen Time ALSC Book Club
Cen Campbell, Little eLit
I’m in Anchorage at the Alaska Library Association’s annual conference, AkLA, this week! I’m presenting workshops on new media with Cen Campbell from Little eLit, talking about teen services with other Alaskan librarians, and catching up on what’s happening with young people and libraries around the state. Questions about how to use new media in storytime, how to evaluate new media, recommended apps, and how to find apps for free have all come up. I thought I would post the information on evaluating book and play apps that I share with families at my library so you could see, use, and comment on it. What do you provide parents in your library to help them choose and use new media with their children?
For those of you who attended our workshop and session, stay tuned to the AkLA conference site for links to discussed reports, a list of the apps we used, and our slides (to be posted on the Little eLit site).
Choosing Digital Media
- Make intentional decisions about digital media with your kids
- Explore newly downloaded apps on your own before exploring them together with your pre-reader
- Look for apps and other media that help you and your child write, read, play, sing and talkTOGETHER (the 5 early literacy practices for your pre-reader)
- Consider the 3 C’s: Context, Content, Child (discussed in Screen Time by Lisa Guernsey)
Look for book apps that have:
- Meaningful interactive elements that add to the story and are not only for interactivity’s sake (Interactive elements shouldn’t distract from the story)
- A great story with high quality images
- Plain, highly-readable font
- Read-to-me and read-to-myself options
- Settings for turning on/off music and other sound effects
Look for apps that are:
- Fun to play over and over again
- Offer open-ended play
- Encourage creativity
- Strengthen one or more of the early literacy practices
- Age appropriate
- Intuitive way-finding
- Clean, uncluttered display
In-app Purchases and In-app Ads
- Is the app free of in-app purchases or in-app ads? If not, are they easily ignored and hard to get to?
- Does the app developer state it will NOT collect data about you or your child within the app?
Use the settings within each app or the device’s general settings to:
- Disable in-app purchases
- Require password for in-app purchases
- Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org
- Digital Storytime (book apps) http://digital-storytime.com
- Kirkus Reviews: iPad Apps https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/ipad/
- School Library Journal: Touch & Go http://www.slj.com/category/books-media/reviews/apps/
- Horn Book: Out of the Box http://www.hbook.com/category/choosing-books/app-review-of-the-week/
Developers to Check Out
- Night & Day Studios
- Toca Boca
- Loud Crow Studios
- Oceanhouse Media
- Software Smoothie
Digital Media and Kids Resources
- Fred Rogers Center http://www.fredrogerscenter.org
- Sesame Street Workshop http://www.sesameworkshop.org
- Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org
- Moms with Apps http://momswithapps.com
- American Association of Pediatricians’ Media Use Position Statementhttp://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/5/958
- Screen Time : How Electronic Media-From Baby Videos to Educational Software-Affects Your Young Child by Lisa Guernsey (Basic Books, 2012)
Giving Our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy, and the Development of Information Capital by Susan B. Neuman and Donna C. Celano (Teachers College Press, 2012)
- Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives by John G. Palfrey (Basic Books, 2010)
- The Parent App: Understanding Families in the Digital Age by Lynn Schofield Clark (Oxford University Press, 2012)
In the video Do ‘Digital Natives’ Exist, produced by the PBS Idea Channel, host Mike Rugnetta examines how humans learn about and relate to technology and new media. With a simple statement of his thesis, “There’s no such thing as a digital native,” Rugnetta goes on to dispute the controversial assumption that children and young adults have a better grasp of new technologies than their parents and grandparents.
In a brief yet thorough overview, Rugnetta introduces educator and writer Marc Prensky’s theory that the dawn of the digital age has resulted in two distinct classes of people: “digital natives,” those who have been born into the digital age and have an innate understanding of computers, video games and the Internet; and “digital immigrants,” those who were born before the rise of these technologies and have had to learn to navigate them. Rugnetta also share the ideas of John Palfrey and Urs Gasser, who have similarly proposed that the year 1980 marks a divide between a population who has grown up alongside digital technologies and therefore has an intimate, nearly intrinsic familiarity with them, and an older group of individuals who has had to teach itself to use these technologies.
While such arguments have been highly popularized and have held much sway, Rugnetta suggests there is a danger in assuming that today’s kids are born “native speakers” of the digital age. Just like language, digital technologies and their uses are something that must be learned through both context and practice, says Rugnetta. Both younger and older generations have the capacity to learn and apply new technologies.
In addition, not all children share the same access to new media. Access is a matter of privilege, Rugnetta argues. Furthermore, even having access to technologies does not guarantee that users understand the meaning that those technologies hold. While a user may be comfortable with a technology, this does not necessarily mean that user comprehends the powers of that technology to create positive or negative outcomes.
Though digital natives may be as imaginary as Bigfoot, the implications of digital media are very real. Users of media, as well as leaders in the education and information fields, have a responsibility to educate themselves and others about the capabilities and consequences that come with adopting new technologies.
Julianne Peeling with contributions from Jessica Crutchley, both of whom are employees of the Baltimore County Public Library.
There has been a lot of talk about the use of digital media to support Diverse & Multicultural communities, initiatives & programs lately, and LittleeLit is responding to the call for resources.
Yesterday, Storytime Underground recently reported on The Single Fracking Coolest Damn Thing on the Internet, which happens to be the Future Librarian Superhero’s new Everyday Diversity campaign (get involved!) and we found out that Jamie Naidoo, Karen Nemeth & I will be presenting Dynamic Digital Dia: Promoting Cultural Competence in Digital Storytimes as a Hot Topic Program at ALA Annual in Las Vegas in June.
Additionally, Karen Nemeth and I will be presenting a virtual session at the 2014 Seguimos Creando Enlaces conference next week:
Enhancing Bilingual Ebook Activities – New Ideas for Collaborating to Close the Early Learning Gap
Description: Bilingual ebooks and apps can greatly enhance early learning for young Hispanic children – if they are combined with high quality learning activities. This presentation will share models of innovative collaborations between librarians and early childhood educators that are effectively using ebooks and apps in new ways to engage early learning. A system for evaluating the quality of digital resources for young Hispanic children will also be discussed.
Check out the post Karen wrote for us in November entitled Resources to Support Including Dual Language Learners in Storytime.
I put a call out to the LittleeLit Think Tank for recommendations for Diversity & Multiculturally supportive apps & other digital resources, and here’s what I got back:
I reviewed two picture apps about kids with different abilities. Here’s the link to my reviews on the PicPocket Books Blog.
Up & Down is a nice free ebook app that mirrors the similarities between the days of two friends who live across the world from each other (including a light game option where you try to find the same object in each boy’s frame).