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How Well Do You Know Your Computer?

Chattahoochee Valley Libraries

Innovation Leader: Christopher Warren, Branch Manager, SCPL and Library Assistant, SCPL, cwarren@cvrls.net

Problem Statement

 Young people are often already more tech-savvy than adults, but some teens could use guidance on how to use technology more effectively. Additionally, success in the 21st century will require a new set of skills and competencies, especially if young people are expected to compete in a rapidly changing and evolving technological environment.

Innovation

To address this problem, the South Columbus Public Library (a branch of the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries) introduced a series of classes for teens and young adults who wanted to learn more about ways to improve their profiles on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites. Library Assistant Eric Willis (who does much of the library’s programming for teens) would develop and lead classes on the basics of website design, as well as ways to create and embed small applications, such as games or quizzes, to a social networking site profile.

Progress

The class successfully taught young people about ways to enhance their MySpace and Facebook profiles, but it developed into much more. The scope of the class grew to include web design, video game creation, and media production. Using equipment from the library’s Gadget Garage (including Flip cameras, a digital camcorder, and a snowball microphone), Mr. Willis led young people in designing, creating, and producing their own songs and short films. Participants enjoyed hands-on practice with basic video editing, music recording and mixing, and even more advanced production techniques, including chroma key compositing (or “greenscreen” technology).

Each class is attended by approximately 10 teens and young adults (many of them from a neighboring middle school). The teens have been very proud of their work, which was displayed in a Five-Minute Film Festival with an audience of 18 (including some of the teens’ parents).

The new and expanded scope of the computer classes will be used in planning future events, including a commercial for the library during National Library Week and possible computer classes for adults.