Our friends at CBASS (@cbass_national) hosted a great discussion on digital learning beyond the classroom yesterday. The overall takeaway: New technologies present valuable opportunities for kids to explore the world, share discoveries and gain 21st Century skills, but are often underutilized in out-of-school time because of a lack of infrastructure, funding and understanding about how digital tools can be used to engage kids in learning.
In addition to posting a transcript here, we compiled this list of success stories, resources and ideas that were mentioned during the chat:
- The New Orleans Charter Science & Math High School has a robotics club that helps propel kids towards science majors.
- Other tech projects for middle school students: First Lego League and Vex Robotics.
- One Tweeter noted that middle school students in rural programs experienced more confidence in algebra after using Revolution Prep outside of class.
- Providence is using badges to validate and showcase expanded learning opportunities.
- Ready To Learn offers a free suite of online games for young learners, as well as free training resources to educators and caregivers.
- The Citizen Science Project provides apps and websites that give kids experience in collecting data/images, sharing info, graphing, etc.
- KidsCom has virtual science labs that give kids the opportunity to speak to real scientist through avatars.
- Young Adult Library Services Association provides resources for OST youth online to promotes critical thinking while surfing.
- KQED Science in Northern California has a ton of media resources.
- The National STEM Video Game Challenge promotes interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into kids’ passion for playing and making video games. (Hurry! The competition ends soon!)
- Chicago Public Library is engaging kids in digital technology through You Media Chicago.
- California Connects is working to increase digital literacy and improve broadband access in underserved communities.
- Wi-fi enabled school buses can help keep kids connected and learning on long rides home.
TASC suggested that a clearinghouse of high-quality tools and products would be a great resource, and may knock down some of the resistance in adopting digital tools that results from a lack of knowledge about practical ways to use them. Our fellow Tweeters noted that the clearinghouse should also identify risks and potential controls of new tools, and should include youth in the reviewing and testing of material. Know some kids who would jump at the chance to help with that? Yeah, me too.