Welcome to Afterschool Curriculum Choice:
-- a message from the YouthLearn Initiative at Education Development Center
We are pleased to share this collection of technology resources, which were carefully selected to serve the needs of afterschool practitioners. We hope that you find the materials to be both practical and engaging.
Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources is a project of the YouthLearn Initiative at Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC). This database was developed with support from the SEDL National Center for Quality Afterschool. YouthLearn offers comprehensive services and resources for creating exciting learning environments, with an emphasis on experiential learning, technology integration, and digital literacy.
Technology use, whether it's surfing online, making media, or text-messaging, is ubiquitous outside the classroom. On average the media exposure of 8 to 18 year-olds amounts to eight hours per day, with much of that time spent multi-tasking using multiple media tools. This is according to research by Donald F. Roberts and Ulla G. Foehr, published in The Future of Children journal, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2008.
Clearly, more than ever, young people are using digital technologies to learn, communicate, and create. Afterschool programs that engage youth in constructive technology-based activities leverage their skills and interest in the latest digital tools.
Development of the Guide
As part of a comprehensive process of evaluating potential resources, YouthLearn team members first reviewed technology curriculum that was already being used by 21st Century Community Learning Center program staff. We culled more ideas from various sources, including educational publications and online communities. A key requirement was that the curriculum must involve the use of technology as a tool, not just as the delivery vehicle.
To assess the value and appropriateness of the curricula to afterschool settings, we compared potential resources against the promising practices identified in the Afterschool Training Toolkit for Technology. Among these practices are finding and solving problems, learning in virtual spaces, and building skills and understanding. We researched the adaptability and effectiveness of the curricular materials, perusing evaluation studies and interviewing the content developers as part of the process. Although not every resource was created to specifically address academic or technology standards, we looked for rigor and depth in the material - for example, curriculum that was field-tested and/or based on research.
Overall, we aimed for diversity in this collection, with regard to target grade level, technology type, and content area - including the traditional subjects as well as life and social skills, parent and community involvement, and other dimensions. It was our overarching goal in developing this database to provide technology resources that would meet the needs of a wide range of educators and programs.
About the Resources
These curricular materials support experiential learning in a variety of content areas, employing an array of technology tools and skills. Organized as extensive, multi-session curriculum, one-off group activities, or self-paced online learning experiences, these resources engage young people in media arts production, hands-on science investigations, online interactive games, engineering design challenges that incorporate computer programming, animation, and other technology-enriched projects. The resources are free or relatively low-cost, and do not depend on deep content knowledge or technical expertise on the part of the educator.
In addition to reflecting the promising practices described in the Afterschool Training Toolkit for Technology, the resources in this database correlate to the skills and expertise identified in the National Educational Technology Standards for Students. These standards were developed and recently updated by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Many of the curricular materials address academic content standards as well.
We hope that this database will be a valuable resource to you and your program. Please give us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.