12 March, 2012

Announcement and call for papers

4th Unisa Children’s Reading Conference: 11-12 September 2012

Venue: Sunnyside Campus of the University of South Africa, Pretoria

Theme: Social media and children

“One in six children is failing to read books as they spend an increasing amount of time text messaging friends, sending e-mails and browsing social networking sites”.

Social media has become exceedingly popular in recent years, which is a cause of concern among many parents, librarians, teachers and other adults. Sceptics refer to disadvantages of social media such as the effects on children’s ability to concentrate; their ability to communicate; the lowering of literacy rates, etc. In the mean time, children happily find themselves sharing, using and understanding information in ways that were unimaginable a generation ago.

The changes brought about by technology, and social media in particular, in the lives of children should not be denied but embraced.  Social media, as technology, should not be seen as a threat to reading and to books in particular, but.as a challenge and tool to introduce children to books and information via mediums other than traditional print.

Purpose of the conference

The purpose of the conference is to provide a forum for librarians, teachers, parents, caregivers, authors, publishers, researchers and academics and any other interested parties to share ideas and knowledge on the broad topic of children and social media.

Call for abstracts

You are invited to submit an abstract of between 150 and 300 words as an e-mail attachment to Prof Thomas van der Walt (vdwaltb@unisa.ac.za). Please include full contact details, institutional affiliation and a brief CV in paragraph format of not more than 100 words.

Presentations will be confined to 20 minutes plus a 10-minute question/discussion session. Your paper should address any of the following and related sub-themes:

  • Social media/networking and reading: the impact on reading
  • The use of social media/networking to promote reading
  • Libraries/information centres and social media
  • Marketing libraries as a partner in the social media context
  • Utilising the school library as a social media platform in SA
  • Social media and reading behaviour
  • Moral aspects/ethical of social media and children
  • Mobile technologies as enhancer of the reading habit
  • Publishing and social media

Important dates:
Submission of abstracts: 15 June 2012
Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 13 July 2012
Submission of full-text papers: 15 August 2012

Please note that that the submission of an abstract entails a commitment to attend and present the paper should the abstract be accepted.

For more information about the conference please contact Thomas van der Walt: vdwaltb@unisa.ac.za

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