Many thanks to my brilliant and well-spoken co-presenters, Tess Prendergast and Francesca de Freitas. We should totally take this show on the road. For any of you who attended today but were unable to ask your questions, please feel free to post below or use the contact form and I can ferry your questions to Tess or Francesca, or answer it myself. Thanks for the opportunity to speak! Let’s keep the conversation going!
I have a LOT of presentations to prepare for! Looks like Genesis and I had a few proposals accepted at the California Library Association’s Annual Conference in Long Beach, CA, plus I’ll be doing some other work with the State Library while we’re there.
Here’s what and when:
Stand Out and Be Outstanding: Fearlessly Leading Your Library Career (November 4, 2013 at 10:15am)
Presenter names and affiliations: Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, Yemila Alvarez, San Francisco Public Library, Martha Camacho,Pasadena Public Library, Cen Campbell, LittleeLit.com, Dolly Goyal, San Mateo County Library, Genesis Hansen, Mission Viejo Public Library, Patrick “PC” Sweeney, San Mateo County Library
Children’s Services in the Digital Age: Technology Competencies (November 4, 2013 at 4:00pm)
Presenter names and affiliations: Cen Campbell, Children’s Librarian, LittleeLit.com, Elizabeth Gray, Yolo County Library, Genesis Hansen, Mission Viejo Public Library
Make Some Noise with High-Tech Services for Kids and Teens (November 5, 2013 at 11:45am)
Presenter names and affiliations: Cen Campbell, Littleelit.com, Katrina Bergen, Dixon Public Library, Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Public Library
I had the honour and privilege to participate in the first annual Inland Library System Tech Day (here’s the flyer!), which was fabulously executed by one of my California State Library Eureka! Leadership Institute colleagues, Courtney Saldana, and her committee of intrepid youth services librarians (thanks for the laughs, Dedria and Juliene!). We also heard from Naomi Bates (book trailers), Yuri Kenney (Hurtado?) (Prezi), Dawn Krause (Pinterest), Candice Mack (social media) and Michele Potter (eReader petting zoo). I hope this becomes an annual occurrence!
My presentation was on technology and implications for library services to young children. Thanks for the chance to both speak and listen!
I made a mistake in my webinar and I can’t do take-backsies, but I can expand the issue a little here.
I participated in a CLA Spring Fling webinar last week with the fabulous Eva Mitnick (LAPL) and the forward-thinking Elaine Meyers. The webinar was entitled Every Child Reading to Read 2 in Action; Eva talked about implementing ECRR2 at LAPL, Elaine discussed space, and my part was how ECRR2 now includes digital media.
At the end of my session someone asked if it would be appropriate to use an iPad when visiting preschools, and I said that since what we want to do most of all is model for parents and caregivers the best use of media with young children, perhaps we shouldn’t whip out the iPad at every preschool visit. (Not the exact wording, and when the archived version comes out I’ll go back and check). I cringe even admitting that I said that. Preschools teachers are caregivers! We need to be modeling for THEM how to use high quality children’s media with young children, though, to be honest, early childhood educators and their governing organizations are far ahead of libraryland when it comes to the theory, research and official stance taking on the use of digital media with young children. We need to be partnering more with early childhood educators (ie and not attacking them, like the shameful exchange that took place on the ALSC blog recently).
I do think that if you’re considering bringing an iPad with you to a preschool/school visit, you should communicate with the administration/teachers beforehand, because some schools DO have a very strict no-screen policy (like my son’s preschool!) I think I must have been wearing my mom hat and not my librarian hat when I responded to this question. I wish I could contact everyone who attended the webinar and further expand this conversation, but the best I can do is explain myself here, offer what the correct response should have been, and learn from this experience.
I don’t think that the use of an technology in storytime is always appropriate (like I wrote about here); we must alway use the best tools for the job. Sometimes an iPad is appropriate, sometimes it isn’t. Our job is to develop in ourselves the competencies to discern when and how to use which tools, and to communicate to our communities (families, caregivers, preschool teachers, administrators and other community stakeholders) the reasoning behind our inclusion or exclusion of technology in early literacy programs.
I’ve done it! I’ve finally used an app at storytime – and it went really well! First off, I have to thank fellow intrepid storytimers, because I used their suggestions and formats. That’s what sharing is all about, isn’t it? I used the Animal Sounds app as suggested by Anne Hicks. I used it as a game after we read Simms Taback’s Farm Animals, which is a fun “guessing the animals” book. The app flowed naturally after this book, as it was a guess-the- animal game, too.
I did not need to use a projector for this, I just played the animal sound, then turned the iPad around to show them the animal after they guessed it. I gave them a few easy ones, then we tried some harder ones. Lots of discussion about animals followed this activity! That’s the only app I used- I shared books, a felt board story, a puppet story, and several fingerplays. Then, we had some play time and a snack. I loved the format and name Milk & Cookies Story Hour, from Amy at Show Me Librarian, , so I asked her if she minded if I used the name and format. Because librarians are awesome, of course she said yes.
I had 21 people (kids and adults together) attend—I grant this a success. Storytime was for ages 3-6, and I had at least that range attending, plus a 7-year old who confessed afterwards that she was too old but wanted to come anyway.
Here’s what I did:
Book: Simms Taback’s Farm Animals
App: Animal Sounds
Fingerplay: 5 Little Monkeys
Books: Duck on a Bike by David Shannon, Baby BeeBee Bird by Diane Redfield Massie
Felt Story: Brown Bear, Brown Bear
Fingerplay: Here is the Beehive
Book: Let’s Count Goats by Mem Fox
Fingerplay: Two Little Blackbirds (We did this one 3 times, at increasingly fast speeds. This made it fun for the older kids, too)
Puppet story: The Wide Mouthed Frog (I had a few volunteers help me with the story)
Playtime & snack: I put out a plate of cookies, and poured some Dixie Cups of milk, and sat my bag of puppets in the floor as well as got out some Active Play toys – this week, I had Monster Feet and Stompers. I also got out the six iPad minis that I have pre-loaded with Apps. My rule was that parents and kids had to use them together – I told the parents there were two reasons for this—1) I didn’t want the iPads to get broken, and 2) the best way for children to learn with technology is to share with parents. I cautioned them about using the iPad as a babysitter, but rather to limit time spent with it, and to make it quality time. Lots of parents had questions about the apps and the iPads, the kids just dug right in and explored with no hesitation.
Insights: Adding technology in tiny increments is pretty darn easy! The kids loved having the hands-on iPads, and the parents had time to chat with me about their concerns and questions. I like the format of having that extra time to play and have a snack—it gives the storytime a party-like feeling and adds both the TALK and PLAY aspects from ECRR2. Puppets are a big hit, and will always include them. Lots of comments from parents about the variety of activities, and also the Saturday time was appreciated.
Thanks everyone who joined us today for the PLA webinar: Early Literacy Programming in the Digital Age: Apps and eBooks in Storytime!
For those of you who wanted more research; there are some slides at the end and some recommended reading.
Betsy Diamant-Cohen and I have been working on ideas for a collaboration between LittleeLit.com and Mother Goose on the Loose. We’re going to be offering trainings for what we’re calling Goose 2.0; incorporating digital media into Mother Goose on the Loose programs. Here is a description; contact me if you’re interested in this training for your library system, conference, staff development day or childcare centre.
Goose 2.0: Incorporating digital media into Mother Goose on the Loose
Mother Goose on the Loose is a research-based, musical, interactive storytime for children 0-3 and the people who love them. This program is structured on Barbara Cass-Begg’s Your Baby Needs Music. MGOL programs are fun-filled thirty minute interactive sessions that uses rhymes, songs, puppets, musical instruments, and more to stimulate the learning process of babies and toddlers.
Now that digital media is more omnipresent in most homes, storytellers, children’s librarians and community leaders are now working toward developing practices that guide parents in healthy media behaviors for families that include young children. MGOL is an ideal framework to begin a respectful, non-judgemental dialogue with parents and caregivers about media consumption with young children. We can address the new challenges of screen time with very young children and support parents in their quest to provide the very best learning opportunities for their families. Goose 2.0 still uses all the traditional tools of the storytelling trade; rhymes, songs, puppets, musical instruments and felt boards, but it also uses age appropriate, high-quality digital media, and models healthy media behaviors and joint media engagement.
Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of Mother Goose on the Loose®, holds an MLS from Rutgers University and a Doctorate in Communications Design from the University of Baltimore. In 2004, Library Journal named Betsy as one of 50 “Movers and Shakers” in the library world, largely for her Mother Goose on the Loose early literacy program.
A prolific author of books and journal articles for children’s librarians, Betsy has worked in public libraries and children’s museums in the US and abroad for more than 25 years. She presents training workshops around the county, offers courses through Simmons College and the Ontario Library Association, and has spoken at numerous conferences.
Cen is a children’s librarian in Silicon Valley, and a children’s digital services consultant at LittleeLit.com. She has driven a bookmobile, managed branch libraries, developed innovative programs for babies, young children and teens, and now helps other libraries incorporate digital media into their early literacy programming and manages Bookboard.com‘s digital book collection. She attended the California State Library’s Eureka Leadership Institute in 2008 and now serves on the American Library Association’s ALSC Children & Technology committee.
Got brave and decided to introduce some technology in storytime last week. For toddlers. One year olds and two year olds. For those of you gasping, (thanks Anna and Sara for the gif lessons-it's super addictive) just hold on to your hats and let me explain WHY I made this decision:
First, I love this information sheet from the Fred Rogers Center titled "Advice for Parents of Young Children in the Digital Age" and wish every parent read it.
I’ve been doing a lot of research recently on the use of media with young children. I have a number of webinars and presentations coming up and I want to be as prepared as possible. Today I had two big epiphanies:
2) What I have been advocating (intelligent use of technology with young children) is not a new concept
A book that has really hit me in the gut is Susan B. Neuman and Donna C. Celano’s Giving our Children a Fighting Chance: Poverty, Literacy and the Development of Information Capital. This book details a study that was undertaken from 1999-2009 in two neighborhoods in the greater Philadelphia area. One neighborhood is very affluent, one is very poor. This book is heartbreaking, and I have begun to see an entirely new value in the use of technology with young children in libraries. I have heard of the app gap, obviously, but it had never felt as visceral as Neuman and Celano have portrayed it. Neuman has been studying this for years, and has been an outspoken challenger of the “screen time is bad” notion; she wrote Literacy in the Television Age: The Myth of the TV Effect in 1991 and updated it in the second edition in 1995. She and Celano were also the ones who evaluated ECRR in 2010.
The word “engagement” keeps coming up over and over in my reading; the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading talks about Parent Engagement, conversations with friends (“I talked about apps with my wife; she now uses them with our son. We know now that it’s ok as long as we do it WITH him”), Neuman and Celano’s Book, and the 800 pound gorilla, Every Child Ready to Read 2.
The work that I’m concentrating on right now uses ECRR2 as a framework for incorporating digital media into storytime. When I first began doing this, it was mainly intuition and habit; probably because the library system that I was trained in to do storytime made ECRR (the first edition) available to me, and we used the 6 early literacy skills in every one of our programs. (Stanislaus County, I maintain to this day, employs some of the finest storytellers and children’s librarians I have ever known, even in the middle of California’s perpetually economically depressed central valley). I feel comfortable using an ECRR2-inspired format to run my programs, so that’s where I started. The more I read, however, the more I understand what a great framework it is. That said; ECRR2 is just a set of tools, and you need to use tools the right way for them to be effective. I have heard varying opinions of ECRR2; it can be implemented very well, it can be implemented very badly, “why are we modeling out programs to get kids ready for an educational system that is completely failing?!”, “who the hell are THEY to tell me how to lead my storytime?” etc.
But the more I learn about ECRR2, the more I think it’s the ideal tool for children’s librarians to use to A) get THEMSELVES used to the idea of omnipresent technology in children’s services and B) to guide parents through establishing good media habits and being able to recognize good content.
ECRR2 is designed to help parents/caregivers to become their child’s first teachers and support their young child’s early literacy development. It comes as a surprise to many of us graduate-degree laden folks that not every parent has the resources, experience, modeling, or support to do that instinctively. Adding the motivational power of technology to this framework plus giving parents high quality options for media consumption may not just have an impact on individual children’s literacy; it could have a positive impact on our society as a whole.
Now I see that one of the giants of children’s literacy research (Neuman) is in FAVOR of using technology with young children, I am even more convinced that ECRR2.0 (as I loving refer to ECRR + technology) will be the tool that brings our profession to the forefront for the evaluation, curation and implementation of interactive children’s media in early literacy programming.
nanos gigantum humeris insidentes: We are standing on the shoulders of giants.
From Giving our Children a Fighting Chance (pages 74-75, emphasis is mine):
Early Reading skills, particularly the first part of the reading equation- phonological awareness (rhyming, alliteration, segmenting and blending) and letter name knowledge- are especially well-suited to the mastery learning capabilities of the computer. With adult supervision, computer programs, specially orchestrated to drill and practice these skills, can make the work like play, in a manner that builds both speed and fluency. Consequently, what would ordinarily be a centerpiece in kindergarten is now in the hands of a miraculous machine and an authoritative parent who is guiding his or her child at age 3.
When you take the drudgery part out of the reading process- learning the basic decoding skills- and make them automatic, you provide working memory capacity to do other things, such as thinking about what you read in the text. This is the fun part of the reading process because it allows you to learn and develop knowledge that will be critical for the second part of the reading equation- comprehension. In some respect, then, the sooner a child can learn the nuts and bolts of reading, the sooner he or she can begin to build a knowledge base and become an independent learner- and the sooner, too, that the child can build the conceptual base that will be critical for the development of information capital.
Before this time of independence, however, children will need adult assistance in learning about reading and learning to read. In this environment in which the playing field is somewhat level [the library], our observations made plain the centrality of adult scaffolding- even with these so-called self-teaching programs. There was a power dynamic that differed across settings [affluent neighborhood library & impoverished neighborhood library]. In one setting, the power seemed to be held by the parent, who manipulated the tools to their children’s learning advantage. In the other setting, the power balance seemed to favor the tool, with the parent deferring to its will, and allowing the child to take ownership. This relationship seemed to hold true regardless of whether the tool was a book or a computer.
A lesson in giving people what they want. Or maybe not.
This is a fabulous little ditty which can serve as digital flair in storytime, or as a staff training conversation starter at your next in-service. And there’s a t-shirt, too.