Now Online: Guide to Low-Cost, No-Cost Technology Resources for Afterschool Programs

May 6, 2008
Austin, Texas

Laura Shankland
Communications Associate
Phone: 512-391-6556

Finding the right technology curriculum or technology resources 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 and based at SEDL.

In the past 2 years, the National Partnership has launched a series of free online curriculum guides designed especially for afterschool programs. The Partnership’s newest release is The Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Technology Resources, created by Education Development Center (EDC).

Catherine Jordan, director of the National Partnership, said the technology section of The Afterschool Curriculum Choice aims to help afterschool educators make good programmatic decisions. “The resources included in the guide help balance the need to meet academic goals and provide engaging activities that capture students’ imaginations,” she said.

The online guide includes a 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. The resources were selected to meet a number of needs including cost and flexibility in terms of program duration.

Tony Streit, director of EDC’s YouthLearn project, said, “If educators are seeking a technology-enriched activity for a particular group, such as teens or English language learners, for a particular purpose—career exploration, community engagement—or on a particular theme, like media literacy or global issues, this database identifies a handful of the strongest materials for afterschool from among the vast array of resources available.”

More good news: Regular classroom teachers may find these resources useful, too. As Wendy Rivenburgh, YouthLearn associate and one of the database creators, explained, “Many of these resources support robust project-based learning experiences and integrate academic content in a way that responds to the demands of the K-12 classrooms. There are online games and activities such as Windward and My Pop Studio that young people can work on independently, and there are collaborative projects that teachers can implement in addition to or as part of the regular curriculum.”

About the National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning
The National Partnership is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education under contract number MRED-03-CO-0048. The National Partnership is based at SEDL and includes the following partners: SEDL; National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST); Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL); SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; WGBH Educational Foundation; and the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.

For more information about the Partnership, visit The Partnership helps state education agencies and local practitioners develop high-quality, balanced programs that promote academic achievement and youth development activities in a safe, engaging environment.

About SEDL

SEDL (formerly Southwest Educational Development Laboratory) is a nonprofit corporation based in Austin, Texas. SEDL is dedicated to solving significant education problems and improving teaching and learning through research, research-based resources, and professional development. For more information about SEDL, visit