After a recent conversation with a colleague about children and technology, I started thinking more about how technology might be incorporated into our storytimes in a useful way. Not just tech for tech’s sake, but as a tool to further our mission. Lucky for me other people are also looking at this, trying out various ideas, and posting about their outcomes. Thanks internet!
I love how Kendra at Read Sing Play explained her decision to get “brave” and introduce some technology into her toddler storytime:
“We KNOW parents are letting their one year olds watch TV and play with their iPads. They will expose their kids to screens. Why not give them tips for using their media tools appropriately with their children? We do this with books already.”
With this in mind, Kendra then planned her storytime and shared her outcomes and responses. A few things I liked and want to remember for later: I like that she just uses one e-book and then continues with a normal storytime program, I like having the book up on the ‘big screen’ which allows greater visibility for larger groups than a hand-held book, and I like that she uses her library’s TumbleBooks thereby giving a demonstration and new access point to a resource people might not be using.
Another idea that I really love was the way that Anne uses iPad apps in her storytimes much like she would a puppet or flannel board. There are some great apps out there that can be used to this end, such as the Peekaboo HD app that plays an animal noise, you have the children guess the animal, and then it shows the animal and their name. The key here is to model how caregivers can use apps in their interactions with their children to build literacy skills (have some e-books ready to go for waiting rooms, etc.) or encourage imaginative play.
Speaking of apps for our devices, I absolutely LOVE Calgary Public Library’s Grow a Reader app!!! Think about how often people spend on their smart phones or other mobile devices. If we then think about how we can best serve and outreach to our customers and go where they are, then developing an app is a brilliant extension of our services. This app features library staff demonstrating various songs, finger plays, and rhymes and has book lists with direct links to their catalog. Great tips for caregivers and really well designed for ease and use.
The last resource I’ll mention today is Little eLit. I found this through an advertisement for a recent PLA webinar: Early Literacy Programming in the Digital Age: Apps and eBooks in Storytime! (slides are now up for free, yay!) Great resources here for designing storytimes, outlines and tips, and the work being done to make connections to our existing programs such as Every Child Ready to Read and Mother Goose on the Loose. Frequently updated with articles and other ideas and lots of good comments to start and continue the conversation on children, technology, and libraries.
Many libraries have started lending technology to our patrons, but we haven’t necessarily started incorporating it into our services. As technology becomes more integrated in our schools as well as our everyday lives, here is another way that we can further our mission and help prepare our children. I’m looking forward to incorporating some technology into parts of my services and seeing what will work best for my audiences.