In the Library’s new digital learning programs, leading-edge robots and engineering kits are put in the hands of kids in our community who probably would not have the chance to work with them otherwise. Students have a chance to attend workshops to learn how to use the kits after school or during the summer where they problem-solve, troubleshoot, and design projects of their own.
“Kids today are immersed in technology; it’s where their interest is,” says Juan Rubio, The Seattle Public Library’s Digital Media and Learning Program Manager. His mission, part of a two-year pilot project funded by donors to The Seattle Public Library Foundation, is to add a new dimension to the Library’s youth programs.
“The key is giving them access to resources to play with and then linking the learning to academic skills and potential careers. The programs also provide an opportunity to demystify technology and move the kids from mere consumers to creators and producers using technology.”
Workshops with littleBits, Finch robots, game design and even 3-D design and 3-D printing are opening new opportunities for learning at the Library. “These kits and materials are costly and it would be hard for the average family to afford one,” says Juan. “By making these resources available in our libraries we can give kids the chance to have hands-on experience with design and engineering.”
Juan’s work is one more example of how donors to The Seattle Public Library Foundation are helping the Library go beyond books to bring exciting learning experiences to children in our community.