Teen Tech Playground

Get Your Teens Tinkering, Gaming, and Podcasting

Two-week online course from Library Journal & School Library Journal
Live Interactive Sessions on Mondays at 2 PM ET: October 29 & November 5, 2018

Also Available On Demand!
Can’t make a live session? All sessions will be available to you on demand following the initial broadcast.

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Looking for innovative ways to engage and inspire teens in your library or classroom? This course will explore STEM-centric and creative programming ideas for your young adult users that will equip them with the 21st century skills they need for the future, and that they’re want to get involved in! Prepare your teen audience for careers that don’t even exist yet and have fun with dynamic multimedia projects, cutting-edge gaming initiatives, and more, helping to create lifelong learners along the way.

The course will provide an abundance of timely programming ideas for teens at your library or school, so whether you’re thinking of developing a “breakerspace,” a podcast by and for teens, or game design workshop, we’ve got you covered with live sessions from leaders in the field, self-guided bonus video content, and assignments in an advisor-led small group workshop to keep your planning on track!

As a participant in the course, you will view live sessions and join the conversation via live chat. (All sessions are recorded for on-demand access.) Most important, you’ll work with a dedicated advisor in an online coaching environment to gather resources and best practices and connect with peers from across North America (and beyond).

Online Course Features

  • Instructor-led online courses feature personalized interaction over 2+ weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos and other resources
  • Access all course content for 6 months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses

Who should take this course?

Public and school librarians serving young adults.

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical ideas in small groups, with guidance from an advisor, to map out your own plans for developing creative teen-centric programming at your library or school.

Learning Outcomes:

Through this interactive course, you’ll learn from experienced leaders how to:

  • Build actionable blueprints for high-interest STEM programs tailored to serve the specialized needs of your teens, whether at a public library or middle/high school
  • Design a teen program from scratch, from ideation to execution, with personalized feedback along the way
  • Identify and tap community partners to build and maintain your program
  • Get pointers on how to make a case for your project or program
  • Learn from model programs and connect with fellow tech-enthusiasts
  • Discover available resources, including grants, to help support your efforts

In the online classroom, you will:

  • Work with a dedicated advisor to develop and refine your ideas, with one-on-one coaching and feedback
  • Connect with a group of like-minded professionals to workshop your plans

Course Speakers

Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Monday, October 29, 2018

Session 1: Teens at the Helm: Preparing the Tech Leaders of Tomorrow

2:00-2:45 PM ET

A key element of engaging teens is about giving them the tools to take the lead in changing the future, and much of what’s altering the landscape of our world is tech-based. In this opening keynote, you’ll hear about why it’s more important than ever to equip young people with tech-chops and 21st-century skills, and how engaging them in STEM programming can not only delight, excite, and surprise them—but change their lives and the world forever.


Kristina Holzweiss
Kristina Holzweiss
, Educational Technology Enrichment Specialist, Syosset High School (NY)SLJ‘s 2015 School Librarian of the Year; Founder, SLIME (Students of Long Island Maker Expo)

Session 2: Cutting-Edge Gaming Programs for Teens

2:30-3:10 PM ET

In this session, learn from some of the best gaming in the library experts on how they take a high-interest topic and turn it in;o a substantial initiative to jumpstart important skills in young people. They’ll share ideas on how to get a program started, appealing to a wide audience, and using the most of-the-moment tech to get kids and the community involved.


Laura Bjornson  Regina M. Townsend, MLIS
Laura Bjornson, Retired Assistant Youth Services Librarian Librarian, Jeffersonville Township Public Library (IN)
Regina M. Townsend, MLIS, Teen Services Librarian, Youth Services Assistant Manager, Forest Park Public Library (IL)


3:10-3:20 PM ET

Session 3: Library, Community, and School Partnerships: Making the Most of a Teen’s Ecosystem

3:20-4:00 PM ET

The strongest library programs are often ones in which the library, schools, and the community come together to develop a dynamic, robust, and cohesive opportunity for patrons and students. With teen programming, this can be especially key, as it engages all elements of a young person’s environment. In this session, you’ll hear about programs that bring together all of these stakeholders to craft and cultivate opportunities for teens to enrich their learning, enable their futures, and empower themselves today.


Pamela Jayne Gina Seymour
Pamela Jayne
, Youth Services Librarian, Boone County Public Library (KY)
Gina Seymour, MLS, M.Ed., Library Media Specialist, Islip High School Library (NY)

WEEK 2: Monday, November 5, 2018

Session 1 : Podcasting and Sound Production: The Waves of the Future

2:00-2:40 PM ET

Podcasting is an extremely compelling trend that has resurged and captured the imaginations of adults and teens alike. In this session, you’ll hear how some library programs are engaging teens in podcasting and sound production, not only making the most of the latest technology, but also teaching them discrete sound engineering, communication, and storytelling skills that they can take with them into the future.


Adwoa Adusei Cassie Hickman Meredith Levine
Adwoa Adusei
, Library Information Supervisor, Brooklyn Public Library (NY)
Cassie Hickman, Children’s Librarian, Brooklyn Public Library (NY)
Meredith Levine, Head of Youth Services, Chattanooga Public Library (TN)


2:40-2:50 PM ET

Session 2: The Next Generation of Makers

2:50-3:30 PM ET

The Maker phenomenon has been around for years, but it has an exciting way of constantly evolving to inspire more and more people to take up the making mantle. In this session, you’ll hear about some of the most captivating maker projects available today and learn how you can take your maker programming to the next level.


Katie Darty
Katie Darty
, Media Coordinator, North Buncombe High School (NC)

Session 3: Making the Case for Your Teen Programming

3:30-4:00 PM ET

When developing a new program or initiative from scratch, it can be inherently daunting to consider how you’ll make the case for how necessary your program is—and even more, to secure funding. In this session, you’ll hear from an expert how to take a deep breath and focus your efforts in a way that yields results. Hear the top tips and tricks to making the best case for your program and developing a realistic budget—including ideas for sources of funding—in this informative and important session.


Linda Braun
Linda Braun
, Learning Consultant, LEO: Librarians & Educators Online