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Tag: Teen Tech Week

Apps Teens Love

photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook
photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook

We all have our favorite social media apps. According to the 2015 Pew Center report on teens and technology, 72% of all teens spend time with friends on social media.  Of these teens, 23% do it daily.  Texting is still the top activity for teens, but messaging apps are also popular with 42% of teens using apps such as Kik and WhatsApp and 14% use these types of app every day.

Since Teen Tech Week will be celebrated March 6-12, I asked some of the youth services librarians in my area what apps the teens in their libraries are currently obsessed with. I know their tastes change pretty quickly so what’s popular now may not be popular in six months. Therefore, I was a bit surprised to find that they are using a lot of the same apps that have been popular for a while now but I also learned about some new ones too.

In my request from my colleagues, I didn’t specify what kind of app suggestions I wanted so, unsurprisingly, more of the answers fell into the texting or micro-blogging category, when what I really wanted was gaming apps. I admit I haven’t spent as much time as I probably should playing gaming apps so, a number of these were new to me, although they may not be to you.

Gaming Apps

The most frequently mentioned gaming app that seems to be all the rage right now is Stop. It’s a fun categories word game app you can play against others. You randomly select a letter to start and type a word for each of the 5 different categories that start with that letter. The player that gets most correct words wins. There are categories for Star Wars, superheroes and many others.

A number of librarians said that they and their teens were obsessed with Neko Atsume: Kitty Collector, the Japanese cat collecting game. The game’s very simple. The goal is to leave food and toys in your virtual backyard to attract cats – over 40 of them – all with their own unique looks and personality. Most of the cats are ordinary cats, but there are some rare cats too, but in order to get them to come, you need to lure them with special items. I first saw a colleague playing it last year and, although I prefer dogs to cats, it looked so adorable that I began playing it too. It’s quite addictive. In Japan they’ve had live-action recreations of the game that you can watch on YouTube.

Another popular Japanese game is the free Alpaca Evolution app. I’ve never played it but it sounds fun, although very strange. You are an alpaca that mutates and consumes other alpacas. As you consume other alpacas you evolve and mutate into something stronger and stranger. Every time you evolve you get a new description of your new form. It doesn’t require a lot of skill, but it’s a lot of fun seeing what disturbing alpaca monstrosity you evolve into next. An in-game encyclopedia explains each of your new forms in bizarre detail, rating your strength and giving you a bunch of useless vital statistics.

Booklist: Recent YA Fiction about Technology for Teen Tech Week

Teen Tech Week begins March 6th and runs through the time to showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers as well as to highlight programs that emphasize science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. For programming ideas, see this post at the YALSAblogTechnology and Science in YA Fiction for Teen Tech Week

It’s also a great time to highlight YA fiction that deals with technology issues. From steampunk to science fiction to thrillers, the theme of technology in the lives of humans cuts a across genres and can spark interesting conversations about the use and limits of technology. These 2015 and 2016 titles are great to highlight in a display in the library. Consider adding flyers that also remind patrons of the availability of digital books and audiobooks or sharing a “virtual” display on social media. Later this week, we’ll feature nonfiction resources on technology and science. 

Teen Creative Writing & Art Contest for Teen Tech Week

As part of Teen Tech Week, YALSA is teaming up with the Connected Learning Alliance, Deviant Art, National Writing Project, and Wattpad for the Twist Fate challenge.

teen tech week 2016

The challenge is to get young people (ages 13-17) telling stories about what happens when a hero becomes a villain, or a villain a hero (through writing, video, digital art, animation, etc.) and sharing them across the Deviant Art and Wattpad platforms. It’s happening March 6-April 6th, and to ramp up for it there will be a series of free webinars with guests including Mimi ito, Christina Cantrill, Candice Mack, Josh Wattles from DeviantArt, and Jing Jing Tan from Wattpad:

Connecting the Creative Sparks of Young Makers to Supportive Communities of Practice Feb. 11, 7pm EST

Storytelling and Making Redefined: Get to Know the Wattpad Community Feb. 18, 7pm EST

Meet the “Deviants”: Networked Artists and Makers of DeviantArt Feb. 25, 7pm EST

Teen Tech Week: YA Fiction About Online Life

TTW14_featureslideGiven the central role that the Internet plays in so many people’s lives these days, it is hard to believe that this has been the case for less than 20 years. As with all great technologies, it has brought with it a whole spectrum of positive and negative changes, and has fundamentally altered the way that people meet friends, keep in touch across great distances, and express themselves.

Whether you want to keep in touch with friends both far and near, feel awkward in social situations, or are simply interested in connecting with others who share your specific interests, the Internet offers a whole new way to socialize, communicate and create.

Teen Tech Week: Building a Better Human

TTW14_featureslideMarch 9 – 15 is YALSA’s annual Teen Tech Week, when libraries shine a spotlight on all of the great technological tools that they offer for their patrons. And though this event only lasts for one week, technology is a core element of most libraries’ mission year round. More and more are offering digital labs and makerspaces where patrons can learn to use technology to create fantastic projects and give free rein to their imagination.

Photo by unloveablesteve. CC BY-NC-SA
Photo by unloveablesteve. CC BY-NC-SA

One of my favorite examples of this is the prosthetic Robohand that was recently created for a young boy using the 3-D printer at the Johnson County Library Makerspace. As soon as I read the story, it got me thinking about all of the great stories I have read about technology being used to augment the human body or even change what it means to be a person. And, so, in honor of Teen Tech Week, I decided to create a list of some of my favorite books about technology being used to augment the human body or fundamentally alter humanity as we currently conceive of it.

Teen Tech Week: YA Lit Characters on Pinterest

TTW14_featureslideIn honor of YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, I wanted to imagine some YA book characters using one of my favorite social media tools: Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to create nice looking collections of Web sites you want to remember or images that inspire you.

Some of my fellow Hub bloggers and I had fun getting creative with this– take a look at some of our boards inspired by a few books and series. Click on the links or the pictures to see more pins!

Geri Diorio’s page for Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon

 

Great Apps For Readers

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As a fan of both technology and reading, I love finding a great app almost as much as I love finding a great book. Even better is finding the perfect combination of the two: an app related to books or authors. In honor of Teen Tech Week, here are some great examples of apps that will appeal to readers.

Book Tie-In Games

With the skyrocketing popularity of mobile apps, many app designers have started designing apps that are set in the worlds of popular books. These apps are often released to coincide with the debut of a movie based on the book. Check out these games if you think playing through the world of your favorite books sounds like fun.

  • Temple Run: Oz: Wizard of Oz fans who are looking forward to seeing Oz The Great and Powerful will enjoy this version of the popular Temple Run games. While the gameplay is similar to that found in the other versions of Temple Run, the entire world is designed to look like Oz and includes functionality specific to the world, such as the ability to fly in a hot air balloon. Available for both Android and iOS devices, fans of Oz will want to take this chance to run down the Yellow Brick Road as Oz himself.
  • The Adventures of Tintin: The Game: With great 3D graphics that look a lot like the animation of the recent Tintin movie, this game will immerse you in the world of Tintin. At various points, you play as several different iconic Tintin characters, including his dog Snowy. Versions are available for both Android and iOS devices. And, for big Tintin fans, there is also an interactive version of the book, The Art of the Adventure of Tintin, available for iPad.

If You Like This Book, Try This App

photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook
photo courtesy of Flickr user William Hook
I love books, my iPad, and match-making, so in honor of Teen Tech Week, a YALSA initiative that promotes ethical and competent use of technology, I wanted to pair some of my new favorite books with some of my favorite apps.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the UniverseFans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the History of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults, 2013 Printz Honor Award) will enjoy the Go SkyWatch Planetarium Guide for iPad or Google Sky Map for Android devices. Both use GPS locators to generate a map of the sky with a guide to all the planets and stars, complete with interesting information. It’s the perfect app to take out into the desert for some stargazing, just like Aristotle and Dante loved to do.

Those who loved Across the Universe by Beth Revis (2011 Readers’ Choice nominee) can explore the universe from the comfort of their own home with Solar Walk for iPhone or iPad or Solar Planets 3D for Android devices. Both these apps are tours of our solar system that allow users to zoom in on planets while learning the history of space exploration. Who says you need a spaceship to navigate through space and time?

Teen Tech Week: YA Characters on Polyvore

TTW13_banner1002x200March 10 through 16 is Teen Tech Week! Teen Tech Week is a national initiative sponsored by YALSA. It encourages teens to be competent and ethical users of technologies, especially those that are offered through libraries such as DVDs, databases, audiobooks, and videogames. Teen Tech Week encourages teens to use libraries’ nonprint resources for education and recreation and to recognize that librarians are qualified, trusted professionals in the field of information technology.

I was thinking about how teens use social media to connect and collaborate, and my mind immediately jumped to Polyvore. A haven for fashionistas, Polyvore is a giant style community in which users can create virtual collages to showcase their sartorial savvy.

So, what if some of my favorite YA characters were on Polyvore? What kind of collages would they put together in their spare time? I mean, when they’re not fighting for their life or kissing cute boys, of course. Here are a few of my ideas.