Tablet Tales Demo at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose

Today I did a demonstration of Tablet Tales for the staff of the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, plus some mama and baby guinea pigs that I rounded up from other areas in the Museum. I didn’t do an exact headcount, but I’d say there were about 15 staff members and 25 guinea pigs (if anyone who was there did an exact head count, let me know and I’ll update it!)  The program took place in the Lee and Diane Brandenburg Theatre, which is a 40′ x 40′ black box of awesomeness, with killer acoustics, disco lights and a big screen with projector.  Brett Dearing helped me get all set up with my mic, cables, projector and chairs, and he also let me climb up the ladder to the sound/projector booth and check out all the cool lights and things around the perimeter of the theatre.  What a cool venue!  He took this picture from the booth:

What I did

Come and Follow Me (fife)
Hello Song
Wiggle my fingers
Book: Olivia (iBook)
Open and shut them
Book: Peas Porridge Hot, Mary Mary Quite Contrary (from Here Comes Mother Goose)
Shakers: Shake a Little Shaker, Hey-Ho the Rattle-o
Book: Pete the Cat (iBook)
Flannel Board: Blue bird (Smoothie Felt Board App; image, then lyrics in Keynote)
May there always be sunshine (Smoothie Felt Board App; image, then lyrics in Keynote)
Goodbye song: Blow a Kiss
Clap up high goodbye rhyme

What I learned

  1. The projected image was very big; project low so it’s at the same height as me so that the audience understands that I’m still telling the story, even if the “book” is taller than I am.
  2. In a venue that size, always use a mic
  3. Playing my fife to call people into the storytime room is not going to work in a bustling museum with noisy water features and large school groups.  Maybe I should just do a loop around the first floor and hope that as the program becomes a regularly occurring phenomenon, people will know to look for the lady with the fife.
  4. I will have a little more freedom with content in a museum than I would in a library, and people will have fewer pre-conceived notions of what a storytime “should” look like.
  5. The staff at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose are AWESOME!

What I used

Keynote App
VGA Cable
VGA/HDMI converter
Nexus S (for portable Wifi and Bluetooth)
Projector (specifics forthcoming)

So, what next, and how/why a Children’s Museum?

Next steps will be to meet with the two ladies who thought my idea was a good one in the first place, CDM Executive Director Marilee Jennings and  Education Director Jenni Martin.  We will be working together to submit an IMLS grant to grow this project as a creative collaboration between the Children’s Museum and libraryland.  The idea for this partnership come to me one night when I was feeling particularly frustrated with the slow pace of the development of some of my initiatives; those of you in the library world know how painfully slowly things can move, usually to the detriment of really good ideas.  So I tried to think of other places that I could develop things faster and further, and the Children’s Discovery Museum came to mind right away.  My next step was to find a contact person within the Museum, because the secret to hearing “YES!” is knowing how to ask the right person the right question.  So I sent the letter below to the Chair of the Museum Board and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Adobe, Mark Garrett, who emailed me back immediately and put me in touch with the folks at the Museum.  The rest will soon be history. Keep an eye on this project, people.  We’re going places!

Hi Mark,

My name is Cen Campbell. I am a children’s librarian with the Mountain View Public Library and Santa Clara County Library District, and I run a blog called Little eLit, where I document the development of my digital literacy programming in libraries and keep track of the fantastic new world of interactive digital media for children.

I am writing to you because I have a proposition for a technology-based education project that I would like to implement at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. The Institute of Museum and Library Services offers a number of large grants specifically designed to support innovative, collaborative projects like this. The grant is due in early 2013 and I would be more than willing to put it all together to get the funds for CDM if the museum would be willing to partner (there is a cost share element). It is my experience that going straight to the board is the way to get things done for out-of-the-box initiatives like this; my sincere apologies if this is not appropriate for your organization.

My idea is this:

I’d like to expand on an idea that I’m piloting at the Santa Clara County Library District (they don’t really have the space or the infrastructure to launch a program of the scope I am envisioning; that’s why I’m reaching out to you). I have developed a digital storytelling program called Tablet Tales which makes use of book-based apps, eBooks and other mobile technology to support literacy development. What I would like to do is run larger-scale digital storytelling programs for schools and other community groups, combined with a “tech petting zoo” of book based apps, ebooks, concept and educational apps housed on tablet computers within the museum for use by children and their parents, teachers or caregivers. I am using iPads for my current programs but am open to experimentation with Android. This project would serve a number of functions: helping to close the digital divide that is still alive and well, even in Silicon Valley; train teachers and parents on how to use technology effectively with their students or children; and performs reader’s advisory services in the digital realm (there is a LOT of content for kids in the app space right now, and to be honest, most of it is junk).

I know that the museum already has partnerships in place with local schools (that’s another reason I’d like to partner with you), and there are other ways we could discuss reaching out to the community at large. I am working with two early childhood education specialists throughEarly Childhood Investigations to develop professional development materials on this topic, I will be presenting at the California Library Association conference on this topic and I am currently serving on the Association for Library Services to Children’s Children and Technology Committee (in other words, I have street cred in this area and I’m pretty sure I can deliver a bleeding edge, high quality, never-been-done before program that would make the museum proud).

If this sounds interesting to you, please let me know. I’m open to ideas, too, and would love the chance to speak with you, or whoever else would be involved in a project like this.

Thank you for reading this email. I know your time is precious.

Cen Campbell


Posted on November 7, 2012, in collaboration, Story Time and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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