new media webinar takeaways

Before I leave for ALA in Vegas (and then take an almost month-long vacation from the internet), I wanted to share my notes from a free webinar I participated in through the Erikson Institute’s TEC Center earlier this month. It was called “Young Children and New Media: Librarians Reframing the Discussion” and it was led by librarian superstars Cen Campbell and Amy Koester. Specific slides and notes can be found on Amy’s blog, so I won’t repeat everything that’s already there. (It’s good stuff.)

Here are just a few random thoughts that rang true for me:

  • There is no one way to implement new media (be open and reflect often)
  • New media should support the development of a relationship (it should connect people)
  • New media in education is intended for creation and interaction, not passive consumption
  • Technology should be fulfilling a need, not just replacing something you are already doing well (it is a tool, not a learning goal)
  • Librarians need to recognize what they bring to the table and value passion where it is found (competencies vary, but people need to be aware of their strengths, weaknesses, and biases so that they know when to ask for help, when to offer it, and how to focus on meaningful conversations and positive outcomes)
  • Librarians have to respect caregivers as the experts on their own children
  • Services are just as important as collections (it’s not always what you have, but how you use it)
  • Overarching recommendations can create roadblocks, because every child is different, every device is different, and every situation is different (that’s why it is important to talk with people, learn from experts, follow research, and serve as ‘media mentors’)

Although the links and tips shared were great, what struck me the most was how Cen and Amy opened their presentation.They featured a medley of opinion pieces that could easily stir up emotions and arguments about technology and its place in early childhood education, and they took them all off the table right away, saying that these arguments are divisive and distracting. They get in the way of real discussions, and librarians should be reframing these debates so that conversations are collaborative, respectful, and child-focused. I appreciated that a bunch and felt as if the entire webinar experience was “safer” and more encouraging because of it.






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