Media 2.0

I tried reading Amusing Ourselves to Death a couple of times.  I still have a copy sitting on one of my shelves, waiting to be finished.  I can’t ever get through it; about every couple pages or so I want to start yelling at the author that his problem is not with visual mediums versus language – but with mediums that are read-only versus ones that are read/write/execute.

One of my greatest hopes for this totally wired generation, and all the ones that come after it, is that they learn to see all media as read/write/execute and none of it as read-only.

When kids first learn to read and write, they go in cycles.*  They will work on practicing reading for a while, then writing, and then they back to reading…and on it goes.  Each time they practice their reading, their writing improves too, and vice versa.  Better writers make better readers and better readers make better writers.  True literacy requires know how to write as well as read, no matter the medium.

Tweens are at that age where they have the cognitive skills to start testing out “writing” in more complicated mediums, like movies, video games, and websites.  As I’ve mentioned before, not many of the tweens that come to my library have the access to this kind of equipment.  Even if their family does have a computer with the proper programs at home, letting the 11 year old make vids is hardly a top priority for such valuable real estate.  I desperately want to start some programs that give more tweens this opportunity to “write” in their native media.**

*sorry, I do not have a proper citation for this.  My source is my mother, who has spent the last couple decades teaching kids to read, preschool through second grade.

**also, I’m curious as to how much computer access my kids really have at home.  I’m thinking a survey may be in order.


Serving Young Tweens and Teens: Chapter 2

[This is kind of a rant and doesn’t have much to do with the chapter, but it’s what got stuck in my head after reading it.]


I always get annoyed when people bring up tweens and their relationship to technology, but make no mention of the digital divide. People are constantly suggesting that we use technology to market libraries to tweens and teens, and while I do want to try to do more, I can’t count on my tweens and teens having reliable access to technology at home. They have some access – at home and at the library – but what they have is limited by economics. Few would want to spend any of the precious minutes they get on the computers at home (when they have them) and at the library doing anything related to books.  At least, outside of schoolwork anyway, which they already often need to spend much of their allotted computer time working on.


What we seem to have the most success with is encouraging tweens and teens to visit the library in order to have access to technology they don’t have at home – or have to share at home, or have trouble sharing at home with their friends rather than their parents or sublings. What I would like to try and do is create more programs that give my kids the opportunity to do the kinds of things that kids who have plenty of access to technology at home spend their free time doing – creative projects like making videos and writing fanfiction. I fear a lot of my tweens and teens will have to enter the adult workforce with fewer technological skills and less confidence in their ability to learn them than their more fortunate peers and I’d like to try and do something to alleviate that.