Monday, January 20, 2014

Leading the Pack in Future Afterschool Trends

By Sam Piha

Sam Piha
Recently the National Afterschool Association (NAA) published an article calling out the 10 most important trends in afterschool for 2014. The Learning in Afterschool & Summer (LIAS) project and Temescal Associates led efforts in 2013 relating to these trends. Below we cite the trends from the above article and offer a brief summary of our work in 2013. 

Dale Dougherty
"1. With the mission of creating more opportunities for young people to develop confidence, creativity, and spark an interest in science, technology, engineering, math and the arts, the 'maker movement' and afterschool are natural allies in promoting learning thru making." - How Kids Learn III featured a keynote address from Dale Dougherty, Founder of the Maker Movement, and a hands-on workshop from MakerEd. Temescal Associates will look to expand our efforts to promote "maker spaces" in afterschool programs.

"2. While STEM will continue to be a focus for the afterschool field, I predict 2014 will be a year when we go deeper on STEM instructional training for the afterschool workforce." - The LIAS project promoted five important learning principles that STEM programs should draw upon to ensure that they truly engage young people.

"3. Until recently, it's often been difficult to get recognition for skills and achievements gained outside of school. Digital badges provide a way for young people to get recognition for the skills and experiences they gain in afterschool programs.  Potential employers, community members, and even college admissions staff can go to a student's online profile to see their portfolio of badges—linked to the work and projects done to achieve the badges—to get a holistic understanding of the student that goes beyond the classroom and beyond grades." - LIAS and Temescal Associates, in partnership with Public Profit and Youtopia, launched a major badging effort with afterschool groups across California. Badges will be awarded to exemplar programs, staff who receive certain professional development training, and youth who participate in and gain skills through their afterschool programs. We have been a leader in this area and will share more information soon.

Joseph Durlak
"6. Because conventional schooling in most places has not been able to focus productively on social and emotional learning and development, and because its benefits are so well demonstrated and wide-ranging, the afterschool field has a huge opportunity to fill a crucial need. I predict much attention will be given to the role of afterschool programs in promoting the skills necessary for success in school and in life." - LIAS and Temescal Associates has been promoting the importance of social emotional skills for several years through their blogs, including an interview with Joseph Durlak, and speakers at the How Kids Learn II and III conferences.

Dr. Jeff Borden, Vice President of Academic Strategy & Instruction in Pearson's Research and Innovation Network, published a similar article in eSchool News entitled Are these 8 trends the future of K-12?. Below, we quote from this article and share the work of LIAS and Temescal Associates.

Judy Willis
"6. Neuroscience & Learning Design: 2014 will see more and more assimilation of brain science into the culture of teaching. With liaisons like Judy Willis, neuroscientist and elementary school teacher, or even brain-science ‘navigators’ whose job it is to report on findings from the cognitive science world, it is becoming easier to digest information that used to be overly scientific and jargon-based. Soon, what we know about the brain will finally start to ‘move the needle’ in education. Imagine a learning ecosystem that enables the best memory techniques while boosting processing power, all the while controlling for variables like sleep, exercise, and food. That is what happens when teachers invite neuroscientists to conferences." - The LIAS project featured relevant findings from neuroscience and brain-based learning in our How Kids Learn I conference with our keynote by Dr. Michael Merzenich (UCSF), from Judy Willis, a video address, blog interviews, video interviews for training purposes, and resources posted on our website. 

"8. Constructivism Will Flourish: Along with neuroscience and learning design above, more and more 'movements' have emerged out of and around constructivist teaching and learning. From the veteran project-based learning to up-and-comers like the Maker Movement, flipped learning, challenge-based learning, entrepreneurial linked education, etc., people are realizing that the old apprenticeship model is again possible, at scale, thanks to technology. Learning by creating is fostering connections between the learner and real products, services, or ideas and is, to many, a fundamental 'missing link' with most education today." - The LIAS project promoted these ideas in our project position statement and through our training offerings and speakers featured at our How Kids Learn I, II, and III conferences.

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