This week, we have Maria, who is back to gently guide us into the land of media mentoring. Today, she’s addressing what we all dread: technical difficulties.
Integrating technology into our storytimes has, for the most part, been great, but occasionally we do have some hiccups when technology fails us.
Just last week, as I was about to welcome over 40 kids and their caregivers to storytime, the batteries in my microphone died. I immediately channeled my booming voice (that I so often used as a swimming instructor) and, of course, carried on.
Then, when I was about to share one of my favorite apps “Endless Alphabet,” the projector would not recognize the iPad. After quickly assessing the audience, a room full of toddling two and three year olds, I decided to give a concise explanation of the app and suggest that they try it out during our playtime after storytime. Of course, it is always a judgement call and you know your patrons best. If I had a smaller group, I might have tried to do a quick troubleshoot.
One of the nice things about toddler storytime at our library is that we have one at 9:30 and another one at 10:30, which allows for storytime redemption. After the first storytime, I was able to fix the technology errors and had no issues in my second attempt.
I introduced the letter “H” as our letter of the day. After drawing our uppercase and lowercase letters in the air and guessing what items that start with “H” were in our letter bag, I presented “Endless Alphabet.” This app features words that start with each letter of the alphabet. Kids see an outline of the letters in the word and must drag the letters to the right position. We used the word “Harvest” and the kids helped point out the correct letters as I moved them into place. The tip that I shared with parents was that this app uses a lot of rare words which is great for vocabulary development.
I feel that when technology fails, the best thing to do is keep your cool and quickly assess the situation. Don’t be afraid to be honest with your patrons and move on if the issue cannot be easily fixed. I would, however, offer to show them the app or piece of technology after storytime for those who are interested. So even though the thought of tech errors is less than appealing, the benefits of sharing quality apps and being media mentors for our patrons is well worth navigating through the issues that will inevitably arise.