Kids & Tech: The Lego Movie, by Stephen Tafoya
If you are paying attention to libraries lately, there is a growing trend of “maker” culture that is taking shape in the forms of maker spaces and STEM-related programming. There is a BIG push to offer this type of programming to children and teens, as it gives them new avenues to explore, expand their minds, and set them up for future success in their adult life.
Because we are in this transition stage from classic learning to STEM-based exploration, there are many (adults) who are also resistant to this change. Or they are just not good with change in general or not comfortable with any form of technology. But like many of my tech-minded colleagues, I believe we should embrace this movement WITH the classic methods of instruction to enhance learning for upcoming generations. Another solid tool for our instructional toolboxes.
With such movements come complications. Cost. Accessibility. Knowledge passed on from (effective) knowledgable instructors. It takes money, effort, and time. But as cost on STEM-related technology goes down and awareness (and accessibility) goes up, this maker movement will continue to grow. Not just for the “brain-y” kids with 4.0 GPAs or those with Master Degrees. But for EVERYONE!
That’s what this movie’s heart is. That’s what Lego has been all about for so many years now! But with the movie, it really drove home this message in a, dare I say, emotional manner (yeah, I teared up a bit). Parents should embrace a child’s creativity. Let them explore and play. Let them find out who they are, whether it is with physical toys, make believe, or an iPad with apps. And the key here is always always ALWAYS going to be: Let’s explore together!
When you embrace a child’s desire to explore and make and build and destroy, you are giving them the world. When you explore with them, you are giving them life!
If you know adults who are fearful of this rapidly changing world, or just need the information to adjust and be comfortable with it, encourage them to try and embrace the maker culutre. At libraries, give them access to it. In schools, build it into lesson plans and share with parents what this type of instruction does for a child’s development. And let them know, whether or not they completely like it, it is their child’s future, and giving the child access now is setting them up for success in their adult world.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.