Fun and learning intersect during library Teen Tech Week

Bryson Blanchard and Damien Wing try out the virtual reality viewers they put together at the Gilford Public Library. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
March 16, 2017
Older children and teens got some hands on experience and showed their skills with technology during Teen Tech Week at the Gilford Public Library.

Pe-teens and teens took part in a eries of activities at the library, including Technology Show and Tell and the Teen Virtual Reality Workshop.

Teen librarian Mark Thompson said Teen Tech Week is a yearly activity to show teens what kinds of technology programs are available at the library and the schools.

"Because teens tend to be pretty efficient with technology as it is, we want to encourage that to go further," Thompson said.

Teens shared their favorite apps and gadgets during Teen Tech Show and Tell on Tuesday. Four students from the GHS Robotics Team talked to the group about building their robot for competition.

On Wednesday, young adults made their own cardboard virtual reality viewers they could use with their smartphones. The students worked with kits that created the cardboard viewers, similar to Google Cardboard.

"We wanted to highlight some of the simple and free virtual reality capabilities, something you can do with your smartphone, cardboard, and free apps," Thompson said.

The kits are made to hold smartphones and be used as virtual viewers. Participants could use interactive features on the Cardboard app, such as a zombie hunter game, or watch videos in YouTube.

"You're just looking down and you actually feel that you're in the game," said 11-year-old Tyler Davignon.

Caleb Clough, 11, said their bodies are the controllers.

"It's so inexpensive so anyone can do it," Clough said.

Both said they have worked with something like this and they were happy to work with these at the library.

"It's really fun and it feels like I'm actually there," said 11-year-old Bryson Blanchard. "If something touches me it feels like the thing in the VR is actually touching me."

High school freshman Damien Wing said he has done many activities with Thompson at the library, but nothing like this.

"I just like the experience of being able to build something like this and have it work with your phone," Wing said.

Thompson said they like to mix education with entertainment at the library. They also feature book suggestions related to technology.

"We like to have programming that is educational and empowering while at the same time really fun," Thompson said.

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