21 Things Week 1: Gadgets

Image via Flickr user sirwiseowl
Image via Flickr user sirwiseowl

This week's topic was gadgets. We talked about new tablets hitting the market and the potential for new access to  ebooks for libraries in 2013. By participating in at least one of the three Things below, you will be entered in our first weekly raffle. Week 1's prize is a Nook!

*Note: Week 1's e-mail mentioned that Overdrive and 3M apps could be purchased, they are actually available to download for free.

Thing: In the comments below, discuss your favorite tablet or ereader device. What do you use? What does your family use?

Thing: On Monday, January 14th at 10 a.m., Darien Library will host a screening of Connected, a documentary about the visible and invisible connections of our time, in the community room. Attend this screening or the encore show Thursday, January 17th at 7 p.m.!

Thing: On Tuesday, January 15th at 9:30 a.m., Darien Library and YWCA Parent Awareness will host Cyber Safety for Kids and Tweens, a panel discussion, in the community room. More information about the event can be found here.


21 Things: Apps (Week 8)

Image via Flickr user Jenny Downing
Image via Flickr user Jenny Downing

This week's topic was apps. 

Thing:  Discuss the following question in the Comments below.  Do you have any app recommendations--for kids or adults?

Thing:  Attend our Smart Apps, Sound Screentime Panel Discussion on Tuesday, March 13 at 9:30 a.m.  Touch screen technology and apps have changed the way even very young children interact with media, books and each other. But how much screentime is too much? Where do parents draw the line between healthy does of technology and oversaturation? How can parents find great, educational apps for different age groups? Hear from a panel of experts who will share their experiences and recommendations. This program is co-sponsored by Darien Library and YWCA Parent Awareness, members of Thriving Youth; Connected Community.

Thing:  App Chat on Thursday, March 15 at 4 p.m.  Join the Children's Librarians for this special edition of our monthly Children's Library Chat program.  We'll discuss great apps for different ages--everything from interactive e-Books to educational games.  We'll also share tips with parents and teachers on finding and evaluating apps for children.


21 Things: Shopping Online (Week 7)

Image via Flickr user hellojenuine
Image via Flickr user hellojenuine

This week's topic was fun stuff to do online--everything from crafting to shopping!

Thing:  Discuss the following questions in the Comments below.  Are there certain items you only shop online for?  Are there items you only buy in-person?

Thing:  Sign up for our Etsy Workshop on Tuesday, March 6.  If you have an eye for vintage or handmade goods, Etsy is the place for you.  Learn all about how to run an Etsy shop from Jennifer St. Jean (one of our Tech Panel bloggers, IttyBittyBag.com).


21 Things: Using the Library (Week 6)

Darien Library in the summer
Darien Library in the summer

Thing: In the Library's catalog, there is a specific tag given to a famous Beverly Cleary character. Find the items that have been tagged with this young girl's name. 

Hint: It's not Beezus, but ...

What is the very first book on the top of the list?  E-mail childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org to let us know your answer!

Thing:  Write a review in Darien Library's online catalogue.  Look up a book, movie, or other item that you liked, or didn't like, and click on "Write a Review" under "Community Reviews" to add your thoughts.  E-mail childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org to let us know you've written a review.

Thing:  Join us for a Tweet Up on Friday, March 2 at 11 a.m.  Using the hashtag #CLTweetUp, we'll be discussing Darien Library's interactive website and catalog.  Share your thoughts with us and other Twitter users!


21 Things: Blogs (Week 5)

Image via Flickr user futureshape
Image via Flickr user futureshape

This week's topic was Blogs. 

Thing:  Discuss these questions in the Comments section below.  Do you read any blogs?  Are there a few that you particularly enjoy?  Feel free to share suggestions with your fellow participants.

Thing:  Attend our Tech Moms panel discussion on February 15 at 9:30 a.m. and hear from local moms who successfully use blogs and Twitter personally and professionally.  RSVP online.

Thing:  Check out our Tech Moms' blogs!

Lisa Boncheck Adams, Jacquie Miller, Jennifer St. Jean, Nicole Lyons


21 Things: eBooks and eReaders (Week 4)

Image via Flickr user edwc
Image via Flickr user edwc

This week's topic was eBooks and eReaders.

Thing: Read this New York Times article about the “war” between libraries and publishers over eBooks. What do you think: Are some publishers being overly protective and missing a marketing opportunity? Or do you think libraries are a threat to the future of publishing? Add your thoughts in the Comments below.

Thing: Tweet-Up! Join the Children’s Librarians on Twitter next Friday, February 10 at 11am. Sign on from home, on the go, or at the Library to tweet about eBooks and eReaders. Use the hashtag #CLTweetUp to join the conversation.

Further Reading: The flexibility and ease of creation make eBooks a medium that changes the rules of publishing, editing, and content delivery. Read Nicolas Carr’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal on the eBook revolution and the future of publishing.

21 Things: Facebook and Google+ (Week 2)

The "Like" button Image via Flickr user Sean MacEntee

This week's topic was social media websites, specifically Facebook and Google+

Thing:  Discuss the following questions in the Comments below.  What is your opinion on children under 13 having Facebook profiles?  How should, or can, parents control the content their teens post online?  Or feel free to discuss these questions or any others you have about Facebook, Google+, or social media in general.

Thing:  Sign up for our Facebook/Google+ Workshop on Wednesday, January 25 at 9:30 a.m. 

Everyone who comments or attends the workshop will be entered into our weekly raffle.

21 Things: Gadgets (Week 1)

Smart phones - Image via Flickr users Dru Bloomfield
Smart phones - Image via Flickr users Dru Bloomfield

Our topic this week was Gadgets. 

Thing: What gadgets does your family own?  Which one(s) could you not live without?  Use the Comments section below to discuss these questions or any others you have about gadgets.

Thing:  Check out our Gadget Sandbox on Saturday, January 21 at 2 p.m. in the Children's Library for a chance to play with different tablets and e-readers, including Leapfrog's and Innotab's tablets for kids.

*Don't forget, everyone who completes a Thing is entered into the weekly raffle.  Participants who complete all 21 Things will be entered into a Finale Raffle for a Kindle Fire! 

Week 2: Browsing and Searching

We all browse and search the web because that is what the web is for!  This week we are going to focus on different searching features.

Often times, we use the browser that comes with our computer; Internet Explorer for PCs and Safari for Macs.  But there is another browser which has some great features.  I use it a lot.  And that is Mozilla Firefox.  Which brings us to...

Thing 2: downloading Mozilla Firefox onto your computer and playing around with its tabs. 

What is Mozilla?  Mozilla is free, and is open source technology. Click here to download.  One of the best parts about Mozilla is the tabs feature.  You can switch back and forth between multiple websites on the tabs; directions to NYC, a list of museums, a restaurant reservation site.  Planning your day is easy peasy.  Watch this video about how to use tabs

There are also some cool add-ons.  Think of them as apps for your computer!  Some are for personal organization such as Read It Later, for you to save the website for when you have more time. Another add-on you might like to try is KidZui, a search for kids!

Thing 3:  download an add-on feature in Mozilla.  Write a comment below on what you thought about the add-on you chose.  Did it live up to what you thought it would be?


Now...start your search engines! 

Thing 4. Do the same search (of any topic you'd like) in Google and Bing

How was the process?  Write your thoughts in the comments below:  did you get similar results, or different results?  Also for thing 3, click on Bing's visual search.  How was the same search in visual?  Or, do you think that visual search only coalesces with certain topics?


This week we looked at a browser, which is the application that gets you onto the web (like Firefox or Internet Explorer) and search engines that search the web itself (like Google and Bing.)  As a parent, you can change search engines' settings on the computer that your children use most frequently. Google has SafeSearch Filtering for easy filtering at the browser level.

Try a few searches on kid friendly engines:

  • Yahoo Kids (no results for "breast" but good results for "breast cancer")
  • FactMonster (good relevant results for same search)
  • AskKids (a little inconsistent, good results when misspelled "breas," no relevant results with correct spelling "breast")
  • KidsClick (a site created by librarians, but very tough filter)

What kind of results would you want if your child was doing legitimate research for a school assignment? Protecting younger children from stumbling across questionable content is one issue, allowing your older children to access reliable information for learning about life and health is another.

There are many ways of controlling the access your children have to the Internet and this is an issue that will weave through many of the lessons in this program. See this great article over at CNET for an overview of security options for parents. Kids deserve Intellectual Freedom (pdf), but it is up to us to help them learn to how to find good information and evaluate those resources.The focus of this program is not to teach any one area of technology in depth, but to strengthen your own use and understanding of Web 2.0 so that you may more confidently exercise control at your own comfort level. For more resources on Internet Safety, please see this link for additional resources.

Week 1: What is Web 2.0?

Thing 1: Read & watch the following perspectives on Web 2.0, technology and digital citizenship. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Welcome parents, we're so glad you're here!

The term Web 2.0 is commonly associated with applicaitons and sites that allow for information sharing and collaboration on the World Wide Web. The history of the modern Internet can be traced all the way back to the early generations of computers in the 1950's and 1960's. The original networks were actually created and run by scientific, military, and a few commercial enterprises. You can watch a fantastic animated explanation here. But that was then, and this is now. Web 1.0 only allowed us to passively view information that was provided on a website. Web 2.0 allows us to interact and even personalize content on a website. Web 2.0 is not static, it is interactive.

Watch this video by Cultural Anthropologist, Professor Michael Wesch (dubbed, "The Explainer" by Wired Magazine) to get a glimpse into how digital text is different from traditional text. 

The focus of this program is not formal education, but an informal learning experience focused on these tools. At the kick-off party, , we watched this video, also by Professor Wesch called, A Vision of Students Today. Take a few minutes to watch it and bear in mind that video was made in 2007. By the time your children are in their first year of college, how different will the world be?

Our kids are often referred to as Digital Natives. They will never know a life without computers and interactive technology - Meet 1 year old, Joey.


It's not what we do for our children that will make them successful, it is what we can teach them to do for themselves that will make them successful.

We want to be there for them when our children face challenges. So, just like with reading, we should be there and help them learn to use technology and computers. We are moving away from just "literacy" and moving toward Transliteracy; the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks.

There are many issues that we as parents and guardians of children need to be aware of and be thinking about like Digital Citizenship, Privacy and Safety, but please don't be afraid - consider what is Fact vs. Fear.  Using these tools can be FUN! They can help bring you closer to extended family that may live elsewhere and even, perhaps, closer to those living under the same roof. We can extend the parenting lessons we learn in the physical world into the virtual world.

Kids love to play, but the way they play is changing. From an early age, Play is important to a child's development and learning. It is not just physical, but also cognitive, emotional, creative and imaginitive. Young children learn through their senses. Now that technology is changing into a more multi-touch, physically interactive experience, it allows for even greater opporuntities for children to Play.

So, what are the benefits? Why should you care about learning how to use these 2.0 tools? Simple. Your kids are using them. There is no going back and before Web 3.0 is upon us, your kids need you to be actively involved in this part of their life.

This video is not aimed directly at parents, but drives home the message. The power of social media - it is not a fad, it is a revolution.


Last year, PBS aired a documentary called, Digital Nation. The piece explores how technology is reshaping our culture and the realities of our human experience within this 21st Century world. If you don't have time to watch the entire hour and 30 minute broadcast, please take a few minutes to watch this chapter, Old School, New School. In it, they interview teachers and kids about issues like cheating, time pressures, reading and learning.

Through this program over the next 12 weeks, we will introduce you to websites and ask you to engage and experiment with them. Every Monday morning from now until May 1st, we will post a new lesson on this website. Participants will post comments on the lesson. In a few weeks, you will create a blog that will enable you to chronicle your experience. Blogging will be explained in more detail in Week 4.

For this first "Thing," we'd just like you to comment below on what you've read and watched about the philosophy and framework of Web 2.0 and how it is reshaping our society. Most importantly, how are your kids are growing up digital and how can the adults in their lives be involved in their experience?

Why did you sign up for this program?

Where are you in your knowledge and use of Web 2.0 tools?

Can you easily identify a Web 2.0 tool? 

How has the Internet and the vast resources it can offer affected your use of time at work and/or at home?

Syndicate content