The Young Adult Library Services Association’s Teen Tech Week (March 5–11) takes place the first full week of March each year as a way to spotlight the rich and diverse texture school libraries have beyond print resources and the critical role played by school librarians across the nation as leaders in technology in today’s 21st-century schools.
When approached by SLJ to create a 2017 Teen Tech Week Pinterest Board, I didn’t want to pin just blog posts by librarians who had done something in years past but rather items that would give users pause for thought. With this intent in mind, it is important to read the notes I have added to each pin before actually proceeding to the actual link included with the pin. The notes are intended to take an article that at first glance would appear to have little to nothing to do with Teen Tech Week and encourages users to think beyond the obvious to the possible.
One of my favorite examples of this is the pin to Andy Plemmons’s Annual Picture Book SmackDown. My notes on the pin urge Teen Tech Week participants to organize something similar to Andy’s Picture Book SmackDown but with a technology theme that empowers students. The elementary school librarians from my school district liked what Andy had done with his Picture Book SmackDown so much that they organized their own but just within our own school district. However you approach this idea is fine. You can go big and invite the world or keep it small and just include those in your own school district. The important part is showing students and teachers alike the ease of being able to make authentic, real-world connections and giving students opportunities to express their voice regarding the technologies they rely on at school, at home, and just for fun.
One pet peeve of mine with Pinterest is the inability to rearrange or group pinned items inside of a board, as I am more visually inclined. Thus, I designed the pins in categories that are labeled in ALL CAPS to make finding what you are looking for a little easier.
The categories include
- ACTIVITY: Activity pins can be used in your existing maker space, in isolation, or as a vehicle to get a maker space area started in your school library.
- DISPLAY: Display provides users with ideas to capture student attention about Teen Tech Week. I’d encourage librarians to use these examples as launching boards and take their Teen Tech Week displays to the next level, as Jennifer Lagarde would say, make them interactive and encourage student participation.
- FUNDING: Most of the funding ideas on the official Teen Tech Week website deadlines have already come and gone. Go ahead and mark your calendars now to be ready for next year. Rather than pinning out-of-date funding resources, I have pinned two of my favorite funding resources, PledgeCents and DonorsChoose, which you and your students could work on together during Teen Tech Week to find funding for the items they would like to see most in their library.
- MAKERSPACE: The ideas categorized as maker space activities could easily be used in your library during Teen Tech Week even if you do not currently have a maker space. The idea behind these pins is to start the exploration, tinkering, experimenting, and creating that is the heart of most school library maker spaces.
- PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE: Pins labeled PROFESSIONAL RESOURCE are meant to be exactly that. A resource that you can take, learn from, and share with teachers and administrators to better understand how libraries are an essential cog in the Future Ready framework. It also includes sage advice from those to whom I personally look for professional guidance.
- TECHNOLOGY: This category mainly references pins that would require items that need to be purchased, although not all require monetary funds. My personal favorite “free” technology resources include Augmented Reality from DAQRI and NASA’s SpaceCraft 3D. Carvey and Bloxels are my favorite pins (this year) for technologies that will cost you a penny or two.
Once Teen Tech Week draws to an end, I urge all of you to challenge yourselves to write a blog post sharing your Teen Tech Week adventures and celebrate student and teacher successes from throughout the week and beyond. Sharing our stories as school librarians is critical to letting our administrators, superintendents, parents, community members, and legislators know that school libraries are essential and touch all aspects of the school community. Don’t have a blog? Take this year’s Teen Tech Week as an opportunity to start one and include special student guest bloggers. You could also ask someone whose blog you read and admire if you could post a guest blog on their site.
Nikki Robertson is a veteran educator, librarian, and instructional technology facilitator for James Clemens High School, in Madison, AL. She is a frequent presenter at education conferences, including International Society for Technology in Education, Model Schools Conference, SimpleK12, Florida Educational Technology Conference, EdSpeaker Group, and many more.
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