Notes on Teen Tech Trends: 2012 Edition #PLA12

I was so pumped after this session and even after it was all over, this is still my favorite session I attended.

Linda Braun is the Educational Technology Consultant for Libraries and Educators Online in NYC and the purpose of her session was to figure out what’s going on with technology and teens.

How old is the www?  (about 20 years old)

How old is a teen?  (laughs throughout the room)

Teens grew up with technology, so it isn’t special to them.  It isn’t special to a 1 year old.  Because of this she says we need to manage our expectations.

Why do teens tweet now?

Audience answers:

– because parents on Facebook

– Quick

– Can use on cellphone

– Facebook is where you lie to who you know and Twitter is where you tell the truth to a stranger

– Celebrities

Linda said that it’s because it’s more private and you can manage privacy more easily.

Teens using Pinterest? Why?


– fashion

– design

– collect hotties

Linda says that teens like it because they can make it their own; they use it to plan prom

This becomes a major point in the technologies that teens choose.  They look for technology that they can make their own and the library needs to help teens find ways to do that.  With Pinterest, libraries can help teens use it in a way that is interesting to them, not create boards for them


Not dying.  All teens want to do is Youtube.  Why?

– Get content for free

– comments/conversations; it’s a great opportunity to write and have conversations with people

– a community mentality, whoever sees it first can share with their friends

Linda mentions that all the teens were crowded around 1 computer watching videos together.

The question is how to get teens to put library things on their page; make them come to you rather than go after them.

(I tried to comment on this because I remember at the North Carolina Library Association conference, Rebecca Renard who works with teens at the DC Public Library, has some great programs that are an example of this.  They keep up with the teen library blog, the teen podcasts, etc.)

An example of this, Linda said that she was asking teens about what rules they needed for gaming in the library and they created their own rules, some of which she thought were stringent, but they said they needed them.  They also enforced these rules and I believe they respect them more because they created them.

In the topic of outreach, she said she hears a lot of library employees say that they can’t get out because of lack of staff.  She remarked that this was a dangerous way to save money and that there is a need to get out and tell people about services.

The conversation needs to be about the advantage for teens, not for the library.

– social skills

– the YMCA isn’t a community funded agency, so going to the library is taking advantage of what your money paid for

At this point, she goes into the technology that is popular with teens now.

Apps: Draw Something and Where’s my Water?

Referencing games, all games have something else to offer.  Social skills, interactive, physics

More apps: Popbooth: photobooth for phone and can send away to have the physical strip sent to you (her idea: set up a station at a program where teens can take own pictures) and instagram – attendee said she uses it for the photo a day


Facebook timeline: a chance to talk with teens about privacy and digital footprint.

 Google +: Google hangouts – video and text chat; can watch Youtube videos with up to 10 people and good quality

Linda made a good point that apps are everything now and if libraries aren’t talking about them, they aren’t doing their job.  If they aren’t talking about circulating apps, not doing their job and will end up in the same place they are now with ebooks.


More ideas: have a technology newsletter for the library and have teens review apps

Places to find out the new popular apps:


– Mashable

Other forms of apps:

The Survivors – an enhanced ebook; the author chose music for each section of the book, can interact with the book (mention a type of car, you can click on the name and see a picture and information about the car); if the music gets out of date, easily updatable

Magazine apps – if there is a movie review, click and go to trailer

Mobile reading – Romeo and Juliet app: can tap on a word in Shakespearean english and it will give it to you in modern english; can read character studies and see maps of character relationships

Hacking: another popular thing with teens; learning how to code and how things work



There is a TED video of 6th grader, Thomas Suarez, who very successfully creates apps.  Linda referenced a quote of his:

“We have an advisor, but they don’t know anything.”

Linda loved that and said, “don’t you want to be that advisor?  Do you really care if you don’t know anything?” Meaning as long as you’re facilitating this creation by teens, it doesn’t matter.

Telling stories:

Xtranormal: create videos; write script, choose character profiles, etc

Storify: choose a topic and you can search the web and put together information from anywhere about that topic to create a story

Curating vs Creating

Curation isn’t about creation, it’s about gathering information together (like Pinterest)

Linda made one about what happens if zombies arrive

(Her slides should be available on the PLA site.)

As I said before, this was my favorite session.  I learned about some great new technologies/apps/sites and Linda was engaging and inspiring.  You could tell she really enjoyed what she was talking about.


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