Tuesday, June 17, 2014

TED Talk Tuesday: Patrick Carman on Blending Books with Technology

Happy summer vacation! My kids are out of school and so we're going to places like the zoo and enjoying unstructured time. I asked them to put together their summer reading book baskets, mostly because I wanted to see if we needed to head to the library today or not.
Superman's basket (He's 10)
Cowgirl's basket (She's 8)
One of these baskets is more eclectic than the other. :) Both of my boys are what I would call reluctant readers, simply because they would chose to do something else rather than read, every time. My daughter will choose books over other things. 

So, I make sure to carve out time for my boys to put away the other stuff and read. And they do. But I also seek out specific books that would compel them to chose reading over their electronics. And that is how I discovered Patrick Carman (@patrickcarman), years ago. I read the ARC of Floors as a read-aloud, and we tuned in to Trackers as an awesome adventure with movie content on-line. That got me hooked--the movies that accompany and enhance the books are spectacular. So, I went off to read some of his spookier stuff on my own.

I love Skeleton Creek.

When my older son (Euphonium Boy) saw that series lying around the house, I let him know that he was welcome to read them, but that the online movies are a little scary. They are spooky, blaire witchesque things. My son was twelve at the time, an age which is probably okay with Skeleton Creek, except that my son is a little sensitive--he has an elaborate imagination. So, he said okay, didn't pick them up, and time marched on. His next year English teacher handed him Skeleton Creek, and he read it in the classroom, without access to the extra movie content. When he finished, he came home and asked to watch the movie clips with me. 

I looked at my tender thirteen-year old, and told him I would, but that he might be scared by it. Did he want to wait? He did not. 

We watched the first clip, and at the end, something jumped out at us. (Spoiler alert.) My son screamed, jumped back, looked at me with sheer panic in his eyes, yelled, I HATE YOU, MOM! and ran to his room. 

And, fright aside, we both still love Patrick Carman. 

So, for your viewing pleasure, check out his TED talk about why he developed interactive books and his smart strategy of meeting kids where they are. I especially love the humor at 9:09. Kids are funny. :)

Can't see the TED talk? Watch through this link.

I love his point that no amount of technology will save a bad story, and his perspective that 75% of books should continue to be what they are--books. But that 25% or so should be trying to reach the kids who would prefer doing technology with that technology.

I also blogged about Patrick Carman's cliff hanger endings here, if you want more of my perspective on his other kid-hooking methods. :)

Would you consider supplying additional book stuff with your writing, like online content, or an accompanying app?

What's in your summer reading basket? Right now, I'm reading the 6th book of the Mortal Instruments series.

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