Hennepin County Teen Tech Squad: An Update (Winter 2013)

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ipad keyboard on screen by Flickr Creative Commons User Music Radio CreativeIn 2010 YALS published an article in the winter Teens & Tech issue on the Hennepin County Library’s Teen Tech Squad. Members of YALS Editorial Advisory Board asked Cynthia Matthias to update YALS readers on the Tech Squad. Find out what they’ve been up to below.

Our Teen Tech Squad has gone through some changes since the YALS article was published. In 2010, Hennepin County Library received a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Funds from this grant allowed the Teen Tech Squad to explore new tools for art and media creation. Since the beginning Teen Tech Squad workshops attracted many aspiring musicians, and while there were many free and open source applications available for the teens to use, none quite met attendee needs. The new grant funds enabled us to purchase MAC laptops, a cart of 10 iPads, midi controllers, studio monitors, and music and video production software and apps.

With these new tools, Teen Tech Squad began MVStudio workshops. In these workshops, teens worked individually or in small groups to make music with the GarageBand iPad app. Members of the Teen Tech Squad also led collaborative music making workshops, inviting all participants to contribute to a group music project using the professional-grade music production program, Logic Studio. The Teen Tech Squad based at Minneapolis Central Library led these workshops through the summer of 2012. A newly-formed Teen Tech Squad at the Franklin Library continues to offer MVStudio workshops, using iPads, the GarageBand app and MyCreate, an iPad app used for creating stop-motion animation films.

Our Teen Tech Squad continues to evolve. In January 2013, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center opened at the Minneapolis Central Library. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center was made possible by the Friends of the Hennepin County Library through a grant from Best Buy. The Teen Tech Center is part of the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network, an international network of after school programs. The Best Buy Teen Tech Center’s computers are equipped with graphic design, music and video production software. It offers new platforms for art and media production, and will also be the new workspace for the Teen Tech Squad program.

Minneapolis Central Library is in the process of hiring a new cohort of Teen Tech Squad members, and library staff is excited about new opportunities for engagement that this new space makes possible. Though the tools have changed, and Tech Squad Members graduate and move on to lives as young adults, the Teen Tech Squad program continues, offering leadership opportunities and an environment in which teens can explore their creative interests.

In the original article a list of tools was included. Here’s an update to that list:

What’s no longer available – SAM Animation, Comic Life, and ArtRage no longer provide free demo or trial versions. But, the following programs, described above are worth checking out.

  • GarageBand for the iPad – 
Apple adapted this popular Mac application for the iPad. The app version enables users to create multi-track recordings, record vocal tracks, and construct beats using built-in sounds and music loops. 

  • MyCreate – An iPad app version of the stop-motion animation program, SAM Animation, that works on an iPad2. It allows users to easily capture frames using the iPad’s built-in camera and combine them into a film.

  • Logic Studio
 - Logic Studio has been described as “GarageBand on steroids.” It can be used to record and edit music and contains many built-in instruments. Projects from GarageBand can be imported into Logic Studio and edited.


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