WordyUpLSC 530 Texts and Tools for Children and Youth

Fall 2014

Professor Renee Hobbs


Children’s media is a wonderfully rich and complex treasure trove of continually changing materials. Today, children and young people grow up with an explosion of resources available to them at their fingertips, including picture books, chapter books, novels, non-fiction, magazines, newspapers, TV shows, videos, music and audio recordings, websites, games and apps, and more. Babies enjoy playing with tablets and children in preschool may play with apps and games that include a social media component. Many children have a cell phone of their own and by age 10, 40% of American children will have created their Facebook account. The rise of user-generated content has enabled even very young children to begin to discover the power of digital authorship, developing their creative expression skills and reaching audiences with their drawings, stories and songs.

At the same time, the nature of reading and literacy are in a state of transformation. While many children develop a love of literature and books, others struggle with reading. Print literature is converging with other media forms. In this course, we consider elements of continuity and disjuncture in the many genres of children’s literature, defined in its broadest possible sense. We also develop competence in selecting and curating content in a wide variety of forms and in creatively composing original content, using language, sound, images and interactivity to communicate and share ideas.

Real World Connections

This course is designed to prepare you for any of a number of careers and professions that involve the intersection of children, teens, media and technology.  You will have the opportunity to customize your learning experience depending on your own interests and professional goals.

  • Researchers will be able to develop the capacity for gathering information and synthesizing ideas in the context of interdisciplinary exploration of the social practices, products and people associated with media and technology in the lives of children and teens. You will gain knowledge that in three distinct areas of scholarship: children, youth and media (media studies), children’s literature and young adult services (library and information studies) and human development and media literacy (education).
  • Teachers will develop knowledge about youth engagement with books, movies, music and popular culture and learn about the variety of informational and entertainment resources available for recreational use and lifelong learning in and out of school. You will learn how to use media texts, tools and technologies for learning, deepen your understanding of best practices in online learning, and apply the pedagogy of content creation as an instructional strategy.
  • School and public librarians will gain an understanding of media and technology in families and communities and develop the ability to curate a wide variety of quality materials. You will learn some of the foundational elements of children’s and youth library services and appreciate both the field’s history and the anticipated developments in the future of the library and information services field. You will gain practical digital media communication, networking and advocacy skills that are essential for library program development, marketing and outreach.
  • Media professionals will gain knowledge about the highly competitive and dynamic market economy for entertainment and information products and services for children and youth. You will develop your ability to turn ideas into creative multimedia products, using print, visual, sound and digital media.

 Learning Outcomes. These learning outcomes are expected for every participant. You will:

  1. Gain knowledge of the role of media and technology in the lives of children and youth.
  2. Appreciate the wide variety of content and forms of children’s and young adult literature, mass media, music, games, the Internet and social media.
  3. Learn about the creative market economy for children’s media and examine issues, trends and factors that are affecting the development of new products and services.
  4. Gain knowledge of human development and the role of storytelling in practices of socialization, learning and culture.
  5. Learn how to curate and evaluate print, visual, sound and digital media for children and youth in the context of education, library, family and informal learning contexts.
  6. Strengthen professional skills of communication, performance, collaboration and creativity through activities that require the synthesis of divergent ideas, information and concepts.
  7. Develop technology fluency and advance creative media production competencies using digital and social media tools for professional development, inquiry, networking and information sharing

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