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Andrea Vernola's picture

Screen Time Book Club: Chapter 10

Thank you for joining us again for Chapter 10 of Screen Time. I'm enjoying thinking about this book a little deeper and revisiting some research, I had forgotten about since my first reading. Lots of you are viewing but not commenting and that's totally fine, of course. But I do want to encourage anyone who wants to share some thoughts about the issues raised in the book or the research presented or anything you'd like to go ahead and do so. You do not have to respond directly to anything we've said. You can share anything you like! We'd love to hear from more great librarian brains here. We all have something to learn from others and something we can teach.

Thanks for joining us, in any case! We are glad to have you here!

So Chapter 10...

I just find this book so interesting. The main question in this chapter asks if "interactive media is worthwhile--or at least better than TV?" And I'm not really sure there's a definitive answer found in the chapter. As Lisa says, elsewhere in the book and at the beginning of Chapter 10, it's all about context, content, and the individual child. So my question now is how am I considering those things with my own child and/or children I work with at the library. Maybe some interactive media is worthwhile but the context, content, and the child must be carefully considered. So I'm wondering if anyone has an example of how they've considered those 3 c's and decided either for or against particular media? I like Lisa's examples of how she makes choices with her own daughters but I'm curious what others are thinking too. How do we apply this message of Context, Content, and Child practically?

Also one line in particular really stood out to me in Chapter 10 as it relates to learning in general and storytime and programming in specific. Regarding software for kids, Lisa says, "they are usually programmed to guide children down particular paths, not to set them loose" (p. 204). That line is just sticking with me and making me think about more than just software but also the experiences we design for children as librarians. I'm reminded again how important play and experimentation and imagination are to a child's learning experience. I did not need to be convinced of this but it's always nice to see it from another angle. I am ffreshly inspired to "let kids loose" in storytime and other programs. To provide interaction and some ideas for where we will go together and what we will talk about but to let them do the learning at their own pace.

Maybe that was slightly off-topic but I'll see if I can circle it back to screen media. The research in this chapter shows that with interactive media as with all experiences, children learn the most when they direct their own progress. This isn't a surprise to those of us who work with children regularly. But I think it could be a helpful tip for evaluating media for it's potential learning benefits. One criteria should be: "How much of the experience is self-directed?" Again, considering context, content, and child....will this interactive content really benefit this child in this context? Would a different activity be a better choice? 

Hope my rambling makes at least some sense. Thanks again for joining us. As always feel free to comment on anything from this chapter or other resources that relate. We're all just learning and thinking together here. 

Melissa Depper's picture

Thanks, Andrea! I think applying the 3 Cs to library collections is going to always be tricky because they are designed to be so situational. The "content" might be easy to get a bead on, but the "context" and the "child" are going to be different for every family.

Here are some hypothetical decisions a library might make in response to trying to manage the 3 Cs:

(NB: Hypothetical! I don't know of any libraries that are doing this for sure, and I'm not necessarily proposing any libraries make these decisions! I am just thinking out loud.)

*Not purchasing "Baby Einstein" type videos

*Purchasing "baby videos" but putting them in the parenting section (ie, not where toddlers can see them and grab them)

*Requiring parents to sit with and play with their children at library game/AWE computer stations or inhouse tablet checkouts

*Organizing media/videos by developmental level

*No media in storytimes for babies under 2 (actually I know libraries that have made this decision)

What else comes to mind?

Melissa

Melissa Depper
Librarian, Child and Family Library Services
Arapahoe Library District (CO)