By Sam Piha
Before the COVID-19 pandemic Temescal Associates and The How Kids Learn Foundation created several resources and initiatives that have taken on a new value to the field given the emphasis on distance learning and the lack of opportunities for youth to gain employment. Some of these resources and initiatives are reviewed below. Check them out!VIRTUAL VACATION: Because afterschool programs are looking for inspiring approaches for virtual/ distance learning, our program guide introducing Virtual Vacation may be just the thing. Virtual Vacation is an academic, cultural, and creativity-based program. It was developed specifically for an afterschool setting and can be utilized through distance learning as well. During a Virtual Vacation, participants virtually travel to a destination or period in history and learn about it through academic and creative components. Participants are enveloped by the culture of the chosen destination through a multitude of activities that also promote positive youth development. Take a look at our Virtual Vacation Guide to inspire your virtual learning planning.
DIGITAL BADGES: Afterschool programs that are offering distance learning are faced with a number of questions. One question is, "how do you incentivize young people's participation?" A second question is, "how do we best acknowledge young people who have completed participation in assignments related to distance learning 'classes'?" The answer may be the awarding of digital badges that can be stored in a digital backpack.
Temescal Associates developed the Center for Digital Badges (CDB) to serve as a clearinghouse for information and research on digital badges. It also offers a number of case studies on the use of digital badges by expanded learning programs and implementation support.
EMPLOYING YOUTH IN AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS: We know that many Summer youth employment programs were closed due to COVID-19, as well as many small businesses that traditionally employ young people. Can afterschool programs fill some of this gap by hiring older, school-age youth?
We developed a briefing paper on employing youth in afterschool programs. The purpose of this brief is two fold: the first is to inform high school afterschool program leaders and stakeholders on policies and guidelines related to employing high school age youth and the use of 21st CCLC funds for compensation. The second purpose of this paper is to document strategies currently being used by California programs to engage high school age youth through work within their afterschool programs.
The How Kids Learn (HKL) Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization. It is dedicated to improving the effectiveness of settings that support the education and healthy development of youth. This includes schools and out-of-school time programs. It provides educational and training activities that promote the capacity of organizations that support the education and healthy development of youth. Examples of activities include conferences, speaker forums, screenings of relevant films, training sessions, coaching sessions, the awarding of digital badges to acknowledge exemplar programs and the learning that happens within these settings. Activities also include the development and distribution of educational materials (papers, self-assessment tools, videos, program guides, etc.).