The Brooklyn Park Library's Teen Tech Squad went on the road to lead a workshop at Sumner Library in Minneapolis last week. None of us had ever visited this library before so it was kind of cool to see a completely different building in a completely different community.
The workshop took place in a meeting room in the basement of this split-level library. After a rocky start with various technology mishaps, the youth instructors launched into their workshop presentation with little bits of instruction interspersed with long periods of tinkering; the goal was to make a project about spring. The Tech Squad quickly found that this style of instruction didn't work for 6 teens and tweens who dropped in for the program. The first issue was that of language--all of the youth were Somali with shaky English comprehension. There was another issue with general nervousness about doing something new on a computer and using an unknown computer program. The workshop participants were pretty distracted and generally excitable, especially after some sort of disturbance erupted in the hallway, at which point all participants rushed out to spectate.
The workshop participants were eager to make projects, however, and began to work on them in earnest after Tech Squad members sat down and gave each participant individual attention. Several of the participants would hover their mouse over a button and wait for someone to tell them that it was the right thing to click. We always record the usernames of our participants so that we can make encouraging comments on their projects and add them to our galleries, and we were pleased to see that several of the youth had made more projects after the workshop.
This was the Teen Tech Squad's first encounter with a class that required this much one-on-one attention. They remarked on this as we were going home, and described how it contrasted sharply with a workshop they led the previous week at Rogers (see Alicia's post.) It was a pretty good learning experience for us all!