So, here’s the scene:
It’s a busy Saturday at the Toronto Public Library’s Book Bash children’s festival. There’s kids running around everywhere in the TPL’s Northern Branch. There’s stacks of books (obviously). There’s busy balloon-animal maker. And then there’s me talking comics to a room full of kids.
I have a lot of fun giving my Panel Power presentation to libraries and school groups around Canada and last Saturday’s Book Bash talk was no different. I was about halfway through the talk, showing kids how I come up with my ideas when disaster struck.
The Power Point presentation on my laptop crashed.
I’m talking one of those, crash-so-you-can’t-click-anything kind of crashes. It just froze. And to be honest, so did I.
I made a few uncomfortable jokes, which the adults in the crowd laughed at politely. I clicked a few buttons and generally tried to look like I was in control.
One of my clicks must have gotten through because suddenly Power Point closed and my desktop wallpaper was projected on the large screen behind me for all to see.
This is what they saw:
This is what I heard:
Instantly, the frozen laptop was forgotten. Many of the kids in the audience were suddenly sitting up in their seats, eyes wide and ready to talk. And talk we did. Ender Dragons, Withers, World Edit plug-ins and more.
For a few minutes, we chatted back and forth excitedly about video games, that other alternative literacy that, like comics, is big with reluctant readers everywhere.
While my laptop sorted itself out and I chatted to the kids, I was struck (once again) with just how important these other forms of literacy are to young readers. Parents might roll their eyes, librarians and teachers might scoff (but many don’t!) at the mention of video games in general and Minecraft in particular.
I remember when the same could be said of comics in the classroom and the library. And I’m happy to see this attitude changing.
I’m also happy in my choice of computer wallpaper.
As a gamer-geek and elementary school teacher, I often have Tech Teaching ideas to share with fellow educators, librarians, homeschoolers and parents/guardians. I deliver these resources and ideas to your inbox in my monthly e-newsletter Reading Change.
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