New mini-grants are supporting digital badges in five states


New mini-grants are supporting digital badges in five states

Congratulations to the Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance, the Maryland Out of School Time NetworkOregonASK, the Michigan After-School Partnership and the Ohio Afterschool Network for being awarded mini-grants of $10,000 to pilot digital badge projects in their states! 

Over the course of the next year, these five statewide afterschool networks will pilot new badge systems to offer digital badges to youth in afterschool and summer programs and/or offer digital badges to afterschool professionals.  

At the Afterschool Alliance, every day we hear stories of the range of activities and learning experiences students participating in afterschool programs are exposed to.  For instance, hands-on activities—such as creating and testing computer simulations of how a disease might spread; learning about health and wellness, as well as environmental science, through the cultivation of a community vegetable garden; and developing leadership skills through group projects that focus on collaboration and effective communication.  We also continuously review research demonstrating the multitude of positive outcomes associated with regular participation in quality afterschool programs. 

However, how can students demonstrate to those outside of their program—their parents, their friends, their school-day teachers or even their future employers—the skills and knowledge they’ve gained?

Digital badges are an exciting innovation to recognize the skills young people and adults gain in both formal and informal learning environments, such as afterschool programs, schools, libraries, museums, workplaces and institutions of higher education. 

We are looking forward to seeing these pilot projects take shape and gain insight into how the broader afterschool community can best benefit from, and build off of, the badge work being done.

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