Tech & Learning for Library Staff: A YALSA Badges Case Study (Winter 2014)

communications, marketing, outreach badgeMany readers know about the YALSA Badges for Lifelong Learning project. But, in case you missed the information about it, the association has been working for a couple of years to develop a curriculum and online system that provides library staff working with teens – not just teen librarians – the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge to help them succeed in their work. In December YALSA launched a beta version of the system they developed which focuses on learning plans that help staff gain skills in three areas of YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth – Communication, Outreach, and Marketing; Leadership and Professionalism; and Access to Information.

The process of developing the learning management system and the activities that library staff would complete in order to earn badges provided YALSA with opportunities to think about exactly what staff needed to know in order to be successful with teens. It also helped those working on the badges better understand what badging is all about and how to help others understand what badging is all about. The key is the badge is the representation of the learning, it’s not the learning itself. A successful badging system for anyone – adults or teens or children – requires a lot of thought about what makes successful learning. What is required in order to evaluate learning experiences. And, what is required in order to be successful in earning a badge.

Anyone can now learn about the YALSA badges, the process the badge development team went through in developing the learning, and the outcomes reached in a case study published by Mozilla and HASTAC. You can also read about other badging projects.

Relax and HOMAGO! (Winter 2014)

Jennifer Larson, Youth Services Manager at St. Paul Public Library, wants the teens at her library’s new Learning Lab to Hang Out, Mess Around, and Geek Out. This is the HOMAGO theory of learning based on solid research and used by most of the labs in the YOUMedia network. The basis of HOMAGO is that youth will learn better in an environment where they can hang out and ease into an activity before the training or lesson begins. In the current issue of YALS, you can read all about the St. Paul program, their partnership with the city’s Parks and Recreation department, and the nuts and bolts of their Createch Lab. For more information on YOUMedia, visit their website.

Every Teen Deserves a Place in the Library (Winter 2014)

image by NYCDOTMany teens find that they are categorized by their peers, friends, teachers, and even family members. They might find they are thought of as goth or jock or overachieving or underserved.

Being professionals serving teens means making sure to serve all teens no matter what category they place themselves in, or are placed in by others.

The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action, published by YALSA, offers a look into information focusing on how we need to serve all teens today and tomorrow. Some of the quotes that jumped out at me as highlighting this need to actively work towards serving as many teens as possible include:

  • “There are currently 74.2 million children under the age of eighteen in the united States; 46% of them are children of color.” p. 2
  • “Today more than one-fifth of America’s children are immigrants or children of immigrants.” p. 2
  • “The number of unemployed youth ages 16-24 is currently 22.7%, an all-time high.” p.2
  • “More than 1.3 million children and teens experience homelessness each year.” Family alcohol /drug abuse, physical/sexual abuse, teen pregnancy, and homosexuality are reasons for them leaving. p.2
  • “Issues like poverty, homelessness, failing schools, and bullying have physical and psychological ramifications for teens.” p. 4 Continue reading

The ALA Leadership Institute (Winter 2014)

graphic showing one person leading the way by creative commons flickr user nist6dhHave you been looking to boost your leadership skills? Perhaps you aim to become a library leader someday. The American Library Association (ALA) Leadership Institute may be just the right thing for you. Led by ALA President Maureen Sullivan and ACRL Content Strategist Kathryn Deiss, this four-day immersion program is meant to improve participants’ leadership skills, and will cover topics like:

  • Power and influence
  • Leading in turbulent times
  • Creating a culture of inclusion, innovation, and transformation

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Midwinter 2014: Badges a New Way to Develop Professionally

YALSA communications marketing outreach badgeIn the Winter 2014 issue of YALS readers will get the chance to learn about badges in an article by Sheryl Grant, Director of Social Networking for the HASTAC/ MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competition. The article provides a great overview of what badges are all about and how you can use them in your own professional development, as well as with the teens with which you work.

But, reading about badges isn’t all you can do to learn about them. At the ALA Midwinter 2014 Meetings in Philadelphia, YALSA is sponsoring a program all about their new badging system. You’ll get to learn how the system works and how you can get involved in earning badges as a part of your own, or your colleagues, professional development. The program is on Sunday, January 26 from 8:30 to 10AM in room 108B at the Philadelphia Convention Center.

YALSA currently has about 35 testers working on the three badges already in place. The testers are providing feedback on what works and doesn’t work in the badge earning process. At Midwinter 2014 if you want to be a tester too, you can let us know at the program that you are ready, willing, and able.

If you want to learn a bit more about badges before you attend the program at Midwinter check out the December post on the YALS site all about YALSA’s project and then also take a look at posts published on the YALSAblog over the last year.

Badges: Working Hard for Professional Development (Winter 2014)

YALSA's communications marketing outreach badgeIn the winter issue of YALS members and subscribers will have the chance to read about badges as a form of demonstrating knowledge and skills. As the author of the article, Sheryl Grant, states, “Badges for learning are digital
credentials that recognize a person’s skills and achievements” I think that this is something that people often miss when talking about badges and learning. The badge is the “proof” of learning it’s not the learning. What do I mean by that? Well, to earn a badge requires work of some kind, whether that work is comprised of reading a series of books or completing a series of lessons. When it comes to professional development badges aren’t just given out willy nilly. They take work to earn

As readers probably know, YALSA has been working on a badging project for just over a year and those working on the initiative have learned a lot about what it takes to build a successful badging system. This includes gaining understanding of what badge earners will have to complete in order to successfully earn a badge. In the next week or so YALSA is soft launching some of its badges to a group of fearless testers who have volunteered to try out what the association developed. These testers will discover that to complete the different badges they will have to go out into the community, talk to teens, talk to community members, talk to colleagues and staff. They will have to develop “artifacts” that demonstrate what they learned by going into the community and actively learning. These artifacts will range from presentations to Twitter accounts and posts. And, actually, earning a badge could take a few weeks, it’s not just an hour or two and you are done. (Learning takes time, we all know that.)
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Coming Soon the Winter 2014 Issue of YALS

When YALSA members (and YALS subscriber) open up their mailboxes in mid-January they will find the winter issue of YALS. And, even though the issue won’t be in mailboxes for a few more weeks, it’s definitely time to let you know what’s going to be worth reading in the issue.

2014 Teen Tech Week logo - theme DIY @ your library

The winter 2014 YALS theme is Teens, Tech, and Learning (just in time to help you get ready for Teen Tech Week (TTW) 2014: March 9 – 15):

  • The theme for TTW 2014 is DIY @ your library and TTW Committee members Carla Avitabile and Christie Gilbrich write about a host of ways to celebrate the week with teens at your library. All of the ideas give those working with teens the chance to have teens participate in planning TTW programs. They also connect DIY ideas to learning. For example, building a makerspace and maker projects with and for teens gives everyone the opportunity to gain critical thinking skills, problem solving and troubleshooting skills, as well as skills related to STEAM topics.
  • Tiffany Williams, another TTW 2014 Committee member, writes about the value of integrating technology in library programs and services for teens. She discusses the digital divide that separates those who have tech skills from those that don’t, and the library’s key role in helping to bridge this divide so that teens are able to succeed in academic and career pursuits. Continue reading