Looking for activity ideas for your Teen Tech Week celebration? Check out the following suggestions from the Teen Tech Week Committee and add your events in the comments.
Old School Tech Make a display of old technology and its current equivalent. Old cell phones, VHS players, typewriters—you name it. Encourage teens and colleagues to bring in their old tech to show off. Additional supplies/old tech can be found at most any Goodwill or thrift store.
Search Engine Battles! Have teens type in the beginning of a random phrase (e.g. “Dinosaurs are,” “my shoes have a,” “I would like five”) and see what ridiculous answers the autofill comes up with in various search engines (pick two or three search engines to work with). The teen with the most ridiculous autofill answer gets a prize.
Make a Meme Let teens create a meme using a site like “Meme Generator” or “Make a Meme” using a catchphrase or popular topic in the library or school. Make meme signage for the library (e.g. a courage wolf “FACE THE FEAR; RETURN YOUR BOOKS.”).
Charades Play a game of charades where two opposing team act out website keywords at the same time. The team who can accurately guess and navigate to the website first, wins.
Social Media Lesson Give your teens a social network lesson. Ask how much information they share on their Facebook profiles, show them the ways privacy settings have changed, and use sites like Pipl and Intellius to show how readily available personal information has become. Have your teens log into their FB accounts and show them how to change their privacy settings and preferences.
Our Web Split teens into small teams to create their own website from scratch. No previous web building knowledge is necessary, just direct teens to http://hackasaurus.org where they are given tools to learn simple HTML code quickly. Make sure to leave enough time at the end of the program for teens to share their websites with the other teams.
Cheat With Friends Show teens where the popular mobile app Words With Friends originated by holding Scrabble tournaments at the library. Add a new age touch by allowing the teens to use their mobile devices or library Internet to “cheat” with websites like www.wordswithfriendscheat.com to change the pace of the tournament.
Paper Puzzles Engage teens in multiple paper folding challenges that range in difficulty. Print the puzzles from www.uniqueprojects.com/projects/complico/complico.htm and provide the teens with scissors and directions to see what solutions they develop.
No Budget, No Time Book Adaptations Create a short movie adaptation (2 minutes tops) of a favorite book. Pull out only the most important parts and write a 2-page script, draw stick-figure storyboards, and put together simple costumes and props from materials you have on hand. Shoot it in order and do just one take of each shot. Edit using simple software like Windows MovieMaker or Apple iMovie, or upload your footage to www.youtube.com and edit it there.
Teen Choice Awards Invite teens to vote for their favorite movies, songs, music videos, video games and TV shows. Create simple paper ballots and put voting boxes at the service desks or wherever teens congregate, offering small raffle prizes to maximize participation. Post the results and hold the raffle at the end of Teen Tech Week.
How Secure Is my Password? Have teens plug their passwords into www.howsecureismypassword.net to evaluate their strength. Hold a contest to see who can invent the password that will take the longest to crack.
Wikipedia Experiment Does your library have a Wikipedia entry? If so, then evaluate it for accuracy, currency, and completeness and edit it if needed. Include references and relevant external links. If not, then work as a group to create one. Revisit your entry and its edit history over a period of time to monitor and discuss any changes that are made. Variation: Look up your library on a social rating site like Yelp and read the reviews and ratings. Enhance the library’s entry by uploading photos. Discuss potential bias and the reliability of the information supplied by reviewers.
Geek Out with Pinterest: Show Pinterest to teens (Pinterest.com) as a cool way to create a digital bulletin board of their passions. Create and show off some Pins reflecting your own passions and geek-worthy obsessions to get them started. Have teens show off their projects at the end of the program, and encourage them to invite friends. Note: Pinterest is still in beta so this will take some prior planning. Request an invite, wait to be accepted, and then invite students/teens as you go. Requests for invitations will take a few days, but once you're in you can invite others and they can accept immediately. Thanks to Karyn Silverman of Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School for this program idea.