MLD's unBound hosts mom-friendly tech event



 

 

By Gaye Bunderson



   Stay-at-home moms frequently enjoy getting together with other stay-at-home moms, so unBound, a digital resources branch of the Meridian Library District, created a program with a different twist. It's called Moms and Tech.

Before anyone panics over the word “tech,” be assured the program is a comfortable zone for all women, including those who might just be getting their feet wet in the tech pool. Also, Moms and Tech isn't entirely just about the many uses of technology.

“It's a lot about community,” program leader Alexandra Johnatakis, a member of the staff at unBound, said. “We discuss employment opportunities, or someone will talk about her son's band competition. We bond and get to know each other.”

Employment opportunities are a key component of the group.

“Women tend to be underrepresented in the tech world,” Johnatakis said. “Moms and Tech helps stay-at-home moms get marketable skills.”

The program covers a range of technology topics, from writing blogs to posting videos on YouTube. One mom wanted to learn how to use Raspberry Pi to make a digital wall calendar. (From https://www.raspberrypi.org: “The Raspberry Pi is a tiny and affordable computer that you can use to learn programming through fun, practical projects.” It is made in the UK.)

Johnatakis, who herself was once a stay-at-home mom, said Moms and Tech is a “learning as a community” experience. She said she knows a lot about technology, but if something comes up she's unsure of, she will research it.

“Librarians are really good at research,” Macey Snellson, communication and marketing manager for the Meridian Library District, said.

Johnatakis said Moms and Tech adheres to the concept of “failing forward” — another way of saying participants learn as much from their failures as from their successes. (“Failing Forward” is the name of a book by John Maxwell, with the subtitle, “Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones.”)

The program for stay-at-home moms used to be called Moms and Code, but the word “code” was a little intimidating, according to Johnatakis.

“Coding is the language that tells computers and software what to do,” Snellson explained. “Coding is so much easier than it used to be. Now you get instant feedback.”

Children can learn to code at an early age, and unBound and the Silverstone and Cherry Lane branches of the Meridian Library District offer various activities around coding and other technology skills. Mothers are allowed to bring their children to Moms and Tech, and the younger ones are entertained with a story that is related to digital literacy.

Among its many services, unBound is helping children cultivate the skills that will be necessary to enhance their quality of life in the future, and that includes both boys and girls. Often boys take to technology more readily than girls, and Snellson said there is a Mighty Maker Girls program at unBound that specifically targets girls so they will not be left behind in education and employment opportunities. (The program is held at 4:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month; registration is required.)

Other programs at unBound include Family Make It, held the first and third Saturdays of the month beginning at 11 a.m. Families with childen of all ages are welcome to drop in to “explore the world of making and learning with strong STEAM focus,” according to the Meridian Library District Summer Programs Calendar. (STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.) 

Another program is Swift Playgrounds, held the second and fourth Saturdays of the month at 2 p.m. Targeted toward children and teens, participants use Apple's Swift Playgrounds to learn coding concepts and start developing apps and games.

Moms and Tech and its companion Maker Storytime program meet the first and third Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m. A calendar of all programs may be picked up at each library branch or found online at mld.org.

unBound is located at 713 N. Main St. in downtown Meridian. A compact building, it is nonetheless filled with conference space and technology that is available for businesses and entrepreneurial-minded people to utilize. A brief list of the space and equipment includes a 3D Printing Cove open for public use, a Design Lab with four iMacs with Adobe Creative Cloud, a Printer Center, and a Sound Studio. More information about unBound may be found at www.mld.org/unBound. For specific information about Moms and Tech — an opportunity to learn useful technology skills for free — contact Johnatakis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 258-2000.