Young Adult and Children’s Services at UCLA

Teen Digital Literacy Workshop with Linda Braun June 12, 2013

Today a few of us attended the California State Library’s Teen Digital Literacy Workshop, facilitated by teen tech guru, Linda Braun. It was a wonderful afternoon of discussion about the various definitions of, aspects of, and programming around digital literacy. A few takeaways included:

  • dialogue on promoting and defending digital literacy programming to library administration or the community at large
  • a great list of apps available for content creation, production and sharing
  • A broader understanding of app placement within the broader digital literacy conversation
  • Some great online resources to learn more about digital literacy issues via pinterest

Starting out the workshop, we were asked to define digital literacy … whew! We all agreed it is a very broad topic that encompasses a variety of elements. Digital citizenship is a big part of digital literacy, in that all of this content we are generating has tangible consequences and effects. There is a balance between interacting with one’s personal life compared to professional or educational circles and that balance must be learned. The technical aspects of digital literacy are in themselves broad – coding, programming or hardware production are viable options for career paths not often considered by the teen smartphone user. On this topic, one thing to keep in mind, as Linda Braun discussed, is that teens may not be concerned with future outcomes or career options, but are more concerned with immediate impacts on their lives today. How do librarians promote 21st century skill building through igniting this immediate interest? One answer is keeping in touch with what is popular, and using that popularity to facilitate discussion about broader issues like copyright, advertising content and marketing schemes, or evaluating web resources. By hosting a YouTube watch party, allowing teens to share their favorite weekly finds, a librarian or mentor can open discussion pertaining to the content and how it was created, produced, and marketed.

Another interesting discussion today: do teens use eBooks? Linda Braun says that even if today’s teens aren’t that interested in eBooks and still want that physical copy, tomorrow’s teenagers, or today’s ten year olds and younger, may want that eBook and be growing up with eBooks first. We must be flexible in the upcoming years regarding this topic, and not make assumptions based on today’s generation.

Ok – so here are some mentioned apps among teen librarians in attendance today:

  • Vine
  • Notability
  • Fieldtrip
  • Backspaces
  • Evernote
  • Art Authority
  • CoudOn
  • Fipboard
  • Hotspot Shield
  • Subtext

One LAPL librarian uses Vine, a video mashup app, to take shots of teen programs and post on the library’s social media. The best idea I heard about today was hosting a library “App-y Hour” – invite teens to share their favorite app, play with and explore within the library setting. Linda Braun suggests this program with a theme, such as favorite game apps, favorite homework apps, etc.

Please comment on: your favorite app to use in a library setting with youth, teen digital literacy in general, teens utilizing eBooks, or all or any or everything! There will be no change without dialogue within the profession.


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