Here at Ruckus Media, storytelling is our priority. Our mission is to create experiences through mobile devices that entertain toddlers to teens from their fingers to their minds. We are always looking for partners who feel the same way. Libraries fall into that category, and we are constantly inspired by the strides being made by their efforts in the digital space. This past October, we joined forces with School Library Journal for a Twitter Party about this very subject. You can check out the party’s wrap-up.
The Darien Library is one such partner who feels the same way about digital storytelling as we do. I have read about the tech initiatives that they have created to inspire digital children but wanted to experience them firsthand, so yesterday I headed over to meet with some of the folk behind the scenes to hear more.
The staff agrees that interactive storybooks and apps should not replace traditional books but that both can co-exist and support one another. Their efforts to teach and inspire children about literacy via digital story-telling are truly inspiring and I want to share some of their educational methods here:
First, I was introduced to an interactive e-book area. Right in the middle of the children’s section, there’s an iPad mounted on a wall. It’s pre-loaded with an “App of the Day” for young children to experience. Children were gathered around the iPad, exploring its every touch and feel, and watching words and images slide across the screen. It’s a great way to introduce children to the world of iPads and digital storytelling.
Then I was introduced to their Early Literacy iPad Kits. Their six available kits to check out include an iPad 2 in a tote bag, pre-loaded with librarian-selected apps and eBooks designed to stimulate early literacy skills. The kits also include information for grown-ups on using technology with young children, research on appropriate amounts of screentime, evaluating apps for children, and a list of the librarian-selected apps.
The kits may be borrowed for one week by parents of children ages 2 to 5. I think these are brilliant and fantastic opportunities for parents and children to explore new technologies and digital storytelling.
They also have a Microsoft surface table, a table top, pre-loaded iPad with specialized apps like Chess.
The library really focuses on children as readers and creators and they offer classes to teach them more about the digital space (the levels go from Little Clicklets, Techplorers and i-Kids). They realize that there is a current generation of digital kids and they are making every effort to provide the tools they need to be successful.
Lastly, they have just launched an initiative called “Appy Hour” which will give adults a chance to find out how to stay on top of the best apps. Parents will be able to find out how to find the best apps for kids, for example.
What are your libraries doing to advance children’s technical skills and introduce the world of e-book and apps? We’d love to hear in the comments below.