Featured Member: Christine Maziarz

Do you have twenty seconds to spare? If so we’re happy to tell you that Christine Maziarz, a.k.a. 20SecondsWithMC, is the KidLit TV Featured Member this month! Christine is one of the kid lit champions who runs her own YouTube Channel featuring twenty second videos. We love how she’s mashing up Minecraft with literacy, is an advocate of online safety for kids, and encourages kids to learn about technology. We learned a ton from our interview with Christine and we hope you do, too!

For the last two or so years, Christine’s been managing the social media and website for Stanley & Katrina, a website filled with all kinds of author news and advice, book reviews, games and a focus on the wonderful world of pets. Christine also produced The Write Chat, the interview talk show on Stanley & Katrina’s YouTube Channel.

Christine is also a part of KidLit TV team member Katya Szewczuk’s #NewYouTubersUnite community and does her best to help out the new members whether that’s giving them tips and tricks or marketing advice.

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Be sure to check out our interview with Christine!

How will parents and teachers benefit from watching your YouTube Channel?

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Thanks for asking! The obvious answer for how parents and teachers will benefit from my YouTube Channel is in my Monday series:  Word of the Week. Mondays are when I share a new “big word” each week (kindly supplied by Muhlenberg School District), via my Minecraft world. Parents and teachers are invited to share their own videos using the word – or just use the word throughout the week.

For the parents and teachers who have kids that may be inclined to create YouTube videos, Tuesdays, I share tips on how to improve your channel. I do monitor all comments to be sure the community stays family friendly.

I also hope to inspire ways to connect with children who enjoy Minecraft. Even if you don’t play Minecraft, you most certainly can learn enough to have a conversation about the game.  You could possibly encourage a student/child to learn how to customize (code) Minecraft with mods.  And, yes, while hearing about Creepers, Stampy, and Villagers may not excite you – it sure excites a child who plays Minecraft, which then means you’ve made a connection. Connections are key.

Oh, and maybe you’ll win a giveaway!

What is your YouTube Channel all about? 

Oh, why can’t my answer be easy? An answer like, “Cars;” or, “Computers” or even, “Minecraft.” No, you won’t get a simple answer from me. I’ve always been a multi-passionate person. Staying on one creative project for days on end easily drains me. Knowing  I enjoy bouncing from one creative project to another, I’ve decided, at this point in my life, to embrace it.

The quick answer: Variety of Short Videos

The long answer:

Mondays I share the Word of the Week to keep my Kidlit juices flowing.

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Tuesday I share a YouTube tip for the techy geeky side of me (I’m a former software developer).

Wednesday I share a quick Snippet of a Minecraft Survival world I am working on – for the kid in me.

Thursday is my Random day to share whatever I feel like sharing that week: vlogs, reviews, giveaways, and more.

Friday is silly and fun and also at that week’s whim.

As a parent how do you think technology can help children today?

This feels like a loaded question. There are the obvious answers such as adaptive technology for children with disabilities and such, but I think outside of those things, the use of technology comes down to budget and beliefs.

One family may want their kids to be exposed to technology heavily but if they are having trouble putting food on the table, they aren’t going to be able to do that. Then there are parents who have the money, but they want to keep their home technology free as much as possible. It is highly personal.

Assuming a family is pro-technology and has a decent budget for non-essentials here are my thoughts:

The world runs on technology, but not everyone understands the technology behind the technology. I believe much of the power of the future is in the people who code. Those humans who understand the HOW in all of these amazing gadgets will have the ability to fix, destroy and create amazing things.

Giving your child the ability to become familiar with various technologies can give them an edge in the future. They might even happen on a passion.

As the producer of “The Write Chat” for Stanley & Katrina’s YouTube Channel what are some of your favorite topics that you’ve discussed?

Oh, what a fun work that was, working for two great kids who interviewed amazing authors. The co-hosts picked all of the topics. I found that when the participants discussed non-writing topics, I enjoyed that time the most – everyone would relax a little, and that is when my editing job became the most fun. I will say, by far, my most favorite author to schedule and work with was Bart King. That man is as kind, appreciative and gracious as he is funny. A true pleasure whether confirming a virtual meeting or while the co-hosts were interviewing him. His entire interview is one of my favorites.

What have you learned about technology and marketing from running your own YouTube Channel? What are some tips you can give parents and teachers if they wanted to start their own?

Technology is ALWAYS changing. If you don’t love the platform you work with, it will become a burden to you – and life is too short to spend time doing that. Just because your neighbor does well on Twitter, doesn’t mean it is where you should spend all of your time. Use what you love, and don’t force the other platforms. If you don’t enjoy what you are using, try another platform, and find the place that brings you joy – focus your time there – it will come through. You can flow the information out to the other platforms as you have time. That being said, if you have loads of money and can hire social media experts to work for you then, by all means – use all of the platforms, all the time.

For parents, monitor your kids. Please monitor your kids. Keep tabs on them; who they are following; and who is following them. Educate your kids about online safety, and remind them (and yourself) to only share things that you know you’ll be okay with having public thirty years down the road.  For young kids, I recommend having a parent or guardian involved in the entire process. Considering  Google accounts are for ages 13 and over, the parent/guardian should run the account.

The internet is an amazing place. It is fun, and it is highly educational (you can learn almost anything via YouTube), but it also can be scary and upsetting. I recommend a few years of training before allowing free reign on it.

Literacy is an importance to every child’s life. What are some tips you can offer adults when they start building a child’s love of reading?

Read to your child(ren). They are never too young to be read to. Maybe take turns reading a book as a family?  Read more to your child, and again, and again, and again. Don’t just read through a book, but ask questions, use voices, do activities that might have been sparked by the books. If your child wants to learn something new, head to the library to get a book out on the subject, or help them research on the computer and read the website together. Keep in mind that reading isn’t always in book form.

I know, I know, I hear the audible gasp.

It is true, though, there are online resources; comic books; magazines;  flyers; signs in museums; manuals for games they want to learn; online game instructions; cards in board games – you name it. It is ALL reading.

How do you think librarians can use tech, such as YouTube, to entertain and teach kids?

There are so many options for librarians to use YouTube to entertain and teach kids. First, is there any way you can have your patrons/students create videos?

Being a YouTube creator is exciting for some people and within that project there are so many roles: camera work; on-camera talent; sound; editing; music; writing; SEO and social media sharing.  How about creating a video where individuals share about what the library means to them? Or on a particular topic you want to cover? You could also run a club just for kids interested in creating a YouTube channel, where they research the smaller roles in the library and share what they have learned.

You may also use YouTube to find supporting videos and activities on a plethora of topics. More than likely, if you are thinking about it, someone has made a video about it. Truly. Spending 3 minutes on YouTube to see if anything pops up (that is appropriate) could very well make you the most popular librarian around.

How has KidLit TV been helpful to you?

KidLit TV is a fantastic community. Even with my unique position in the industry, I have beenwelcomed with open arms.The Facebook Community continues to provide inspiring conversations and information where I can hobnob with authors that my daughter and I fan- girl over.
Not only does KidLit TV inspire me but I also am entertained by their edutaining videos.
I’ve even won a giveaway just for sharing KidLit TV’s awesome and entertaining videos!

Are you looking forward to starting your own YouTube Channel? If so, be sure to join the #NewYouTubersUnite community and subscribe to Christine’s channel. She’ll be sure to lend you a helping hand!

CONNECT WITH CHRISTINE!

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