SEDL Monthly: May 2008
SEDL Monthly: Advancing Research, Improving Education May 2008

Technology in Afterschool
Exciting technology-enriched activities can spark kidsí imagination, enthusiasm, and learning

The Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources
new at SEDL

Low-Cost, No-Cost Technology Resources Available for Afterschool

Finding the right technology resources and activities for an afterschool program can be difficult because the programs often serve a diverse group of students, have limited budgets, and try to meet multiple goals. Help is available from The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. In the past 2 years, the National Partnership has launched a series of free online curriculum guides just for afterschool programs. The Partnership’s newest release is The Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources, created by Educational Development Corporation.

This unique guide includes a resource description for each resource, a page describing staff and planning needed to effectively use the resource, and a page that discusses standards, research, and evaluation related to the resource. Wendy Rivenburgh, an associate with EDC’s YouthLearn program says, “In our exploration of resources, we strongly favored curricular materials that were free or low cost, and which did not depend on deep content knowledge or technical expertise on the part of the educator.” She also notes that most of the resources were flexible in terms of program duration.

The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning has collaborated with subject-matter experts to identify quality curriculum resources for afterschool in literacy, math, science, and technology. Visit the curriculum database section online.

tips and tools

Principles of Quality Technology Activities in Afterschool Settings

The Afterschool Training Toolkit developed by the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning (funded by the U.S. Department of Education) discusses guiding principles that can help you plan, implement, and assess your technology efforts in your afterschool program. Afterschool technology-enriched activities should meet the following goals:

  • Facilitate learning, communication, creativity, and self-expression.
  • Promote student-centered activities where the student becomes involved in determining the course of his or her own learning.
  • Motivate and engage students in authentic, real-world, relevant activities.
  • Promote opportunities for communication and collaboration in project-based and inquiry-based activities.
  • Support activities that promote problem-solving and higher-order thinking skills.
  • Support different learning styles.
  • Are safe, operational, and accessible to all.

Learn more about the Afterschool Training Toolkit-Technology online. View other Afterschool articles in AfterWords, the e-newsletter of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning Web site.

Free Resources

Motivating in Middle School with Technology

At an afterschool program at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, middle school students experiment with combining their movements with an artist’s images and a rapper’s music. The project is part of an effort to engage middle school students in science and technology by incorporating those subjects into something of interest to the students—hip hop.

“The point is not only to show them cool stuff, but to show them that it isn’t rocket science. The fact that we’re using webcams makes it very accessible,” says Rachel Brady, Duke research scientist and director of the visualization technology group.

Afterschool programs across the country face a unique challenge when it comes to middle school students. These students aren’t as easily engaged as the younger ones, and they often are less disciplined. To ensure participation and success, afterschool programs must find activities that appeal to these students while helping them successfully navigate the social, developmental, and emotional changes that accompany this age group. By providing opportunities to learn through experience in real world context as well as to develop personal responsibility, self direction, and leadership skills, afterschool programs can help middle school students prepare for their future academically and otherwise.

Read more about this topic in the newest edition of SEDL Letter: Making the Most of Middle School.

Technology Resources Beyond SEDL

The Community Technology Centers' Network Toolkit has curricula for teaching children, youth, and adults about computers and various software packages; articles on how to bridge the Digital Divide; resources to evaluate and sustain programs; and other resources on policies, procedures, and evaluation.

View other free afterschool resources available on the SEDL Web site. Sign up for AfterWords, the newsletter of the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning or subscribe to SEDL Letter, our award winning magazine that examines issues that affect schools and districts today: teaching, reading, hiring and supporting quality teachers, and improving student achievement.

Upcoming SEDL Professional Development

June 25–27

Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) training on Innovation Configurations (IC) and Stages of Concerns (SoC)
SEDL Corporate Office
Austin, TX

Dr. Shirley Hord will train SEDL staff and a limited number of external clients on elements of the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM), including Innovation Configurations (IC) and Stages of Concerns (SoC).

Seats are still available! Please contact SEDL publications for details.
Contact: Kati Timmons
Phone: 512-391-6559
Web site:

View other events on the SEDL calendar.

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Questions or comments should be directed to:
Leslie Blair
4700 Mueller Blvd.
Austin, TX 78723
Phone: 512-391-6507
Fax: 512-476-2286