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Kids Love Low-Tech

Friday, July 24, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Nathan Swartzendruber
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This is the expression of a kid who's seeing a portable cassette player for the first time.

Walkman consternation

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!

  • Nathan 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

Innovation 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!

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