children's programming

Growing Readers: Free Webinars for Early Childhood Orgs

Calling all children's librarians! We have a series of free webinars on early childhood literacy. Our next live webinar is on Wednesday, June 15 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog.  

two young children using computers at San Jose Public Library

The Early Learning LabFrontiers of Innovation, and New Profit, along with partners Joan Ganz Cooney Center and TechSoup, are working together to build the technology capacity of the early childhood education field.

In partnership with these organizations, TechSoup will be hosting a series of webinars about technology and innovation for early childhood literacy organizations and researchers. If you work with young children at a nonprofit or library, this free webinar series is for you.

Skilled Volunteers Can Help Support Digital Literacy Initiatives

I recently wrote an article for Public Libraries Online on how the Berkeley Public Library (BPL) in California is making coding more accessible to its community through free workshops. The volunteer who is leading these classes is Sameer Siruguri. He is actually a former TechSouper and had reached out to the TechSoup for Libraries team to see if other libraries have done similar programming. 

Tech + Volunteers = Library Success!

Hour of Code at Chattanooga Library

The focus of my story was the coding programs for adults (inspired by the excellent Library Journal piece, How to Talk Code: Digital Literacy). But I thought this was also a wonderful example of how volunteers can help support technology and digital literacy initiatives.

I interviewed Siruguri along with Dan Beringhele, an adult services librarian at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Library, and Anwan Baker, the supervising librarian for adult services. Siruguri had approached the BPL because he was searching for a venue to host a RailsBridge workshop, a weekend event that teaches coding to underserved people. Previously, the Central Library had only offered basic computer classes, and both Beringhele and Baker wanted to see if there was any interest in more advanced programs, like coding.

The three planned an introductory class for adults that covered the basics of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The class was so well received that they're planning a follow-up class that is focused specifically on JavaScript.

8-Year-Old Teaches Coding Skills at Public Libraries with Her Invented Board Game, Coder Bunnyz

Kids playing Coderbunnyz

Effective teachers know that when you teach something new, it's helpful to connect the new material to something that is known and familiar to students. For young children, what could be more familiar than a board game?

Samaira Mehta, an elementary school student with coder parents, has invented a board game, CoderBunnyz, to introduce coding fundamentals to other young children. She has been visiting public libraries and other venues in Silicon Valley to teach her board game to children. Her teaching has garnered attention from as far away as Germany, which covered her on television, and EdSurge, a well-respected website that covers education innovations.

Creating Children's Story Animations Using Inkscape and Animatron

I'm a big fan of the Inkscape vector graphics program, which is a no-cost equivalent of Adobe Illustrator and runs on all major computer platforms (Linux, Macintosh, and Windows). Back in 2007, I created a short promotional video showing the range of graphics that people can make using Inkscape.

Inkscape, when paired with Animatron (a freemium HTML5 online animation tool), can be used for creating narrated, animated children's stories. These tools might also be used to create multimedia motion graphics stories for libraries, nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and more.