Kids Love Low-Tech
Friday, July 24, 2015
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
This is the
expression of a kid who's seeing a portable cassette player for the
Okay, actually this
is the expression of a kid who's been handed an item they've never seen
before. They don't know what it is or how it works. And since they
weren't given cassettes or headphones, it actually doesn't work.
When the host
explains how popular these were in the 90's, the kids act appropriately
stunned. The interviewer asks if they'd rather use a Walkman or current
technology like a smartphone. "Current technology!" they all shout.
They're in good company, right?
That doesn't mean a
Walkman is worthless. When friends of mine recently moved to a new home,
their tween kids uncovered a couple portable cassette players. They
also found cassettes with music they'd never heard before. They've
walked around listening to them for days.
Come on, a Walkman is
cool. It's mechanical and tactile. To use one for the first time is to
discover it, what it can do and where its limits are. Those discoveries
are yours, just like when you "discover" a classic movie or album. When
you give kids an opportunity to uncover something that's new to them,
the results might be much more positive that you might expect. Try it!
Swartzendruber, SWON Technology Educator
Join a conversation with an Urban Libraries Council winner
When the Grand Rapids
Public Library created the DigiBridge partnership with their local
school system, one of their initiatives was to place 200 eInk eReaders
in middle school classrooms. These devices aren't cutting edge, but from
this video about the
partnership, it's clear that the kids love them.
This project has
other pieces as well, including accepting 17,000 school IDs as digital
library cards to help students research online. We were so impressed and
curious about this project, we contacted Jessica Liddell, the youth
librarian at GRPL who has helped lead this partnership.
We've set up an
online conversation with Jessica, live via webinar, for August
20th. She'll tell us more about DigiBridge, and then we'll hold a
live chat, asking your (and our) questions. Join us for a
behind-the-scenes look at this project. Register for this Innovation Conversation.
About SWON's new Innovation Conversations
Conversations give you the chance to hear from and speak with library
leaders from all library types and from all over the English speaking
library world. Each month you can interact with an award-winning or
recognized leader in our field.
The first part of the
online meeting will feature a short presentation on the topic that
brought this library leader to our attention. The second part is a live
interview, covering questions you’ve sent to us in advance and some
we’ve thought of. The third part will field your questions, a live
Q&A, in the webinar. Ask about the challenges, the key details, and
whatever else you would like to learn.
Together, we'll learn
more about successful projects and the people behind them than a brief
magazine article might include. We're going beyond the blog post,
bringing you the chance to ask the questions you want answered to
evaluate, adapt, or implement new ideas for your library. We
hope you'll join us for SWON's new Innovation Conversations!