App Authors project moves forward at new sites

App Authors project moves forward at new sites

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Quealy-Gainer (kqueal1@illinois.edu|217-265-0608)

Champaign, IL (January 5, 2017)—App Authors has expanded its reach beyond Champaign as programs are implemented at our partner sites in Maryland, Oregon, and Alaska. The project, developed by the Center for Children’s Books and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, aims to give young participants a chance to explore, play, and create their own apps through a child-centered curriculum. It engages kids regardless of experience level and gives them familiarity with problem solving and the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills.

In Frederick, Maryland, librarians at the C. Burr Artz library completed a two-week session of App Authors this past summer. Participants were introduced to various coding applications and terminology and then worked on coding through different online programs, including those from Code.org and the App Lab during one hour periods.

In August and December, App Authors was offered at the Springfield Public Library in Oregon. Youth services librarian LuCinda Gustavson added a new element to her use of the program, inviting teens from the first session in the summer to return for the second session to act as mentors and guides for younger participants.

Gustavson says, “The kids really became engrossed in the projects. It has given these kids a real connection to the library as the they continue to work on their apps even after the session ends, and they have stayed in contact with myself and our tech person for assistance.”

Claudia Haines of Alaska’s Homer Public Library also ran the program at her library in the fall, and plans for a spring session are underway.

The App Authors project will continue to work with those sites in the coming year and will also carry on in Champaign as dates are decided for sessions at Kenwood Elementary.

This is the second phase of the CCB’s Closing the App Gap three-year project, which addresses the app gap, the income-related disparity in young people’s access to handheld technology. The project will develop curricula for app-building in school and public libraries and will see the program repeated at the above mentioned sites plus two to five new library venues, allowing us to reach hundreds of children directly and to refine a program that other libraries can adopt for their own use. The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded the Center for Children’s Books $248,205 to support the project.

The project is led by Dr. Deborah Stevenson, Director of the Center for Children’s Books, with co-PIs Dr. Kate McDowell, Associate Professor, and Dr. Rachel Magee, Assistant Professor.

The Center for Children’s Books is a research center devoted to the study of youth, literature, and media. To learn more, visit the App Authors site at http://appauthors.ischool.illinois.edu/, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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