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Afterschool Snack, the afterschool blog. The latest research, resources, funding and policy on expanding quality afterschool and summer learning programs for children and youth. An Afterschool Alliance resource.
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Snacks by Melissa Ballard
MAR
27

STEM
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Guest Blog: Free STEM career role model webcast

By Melissa Ballard

This blog post was contributed by Laura Batt, director of educational programs at JASON Learning, an exploration-based organization that links students to real science and scientists. Laura works in JASON's out-of-school-time division, Immersion Learning, which focuses on developing multi-media ocean science curricula.

Ever wondered how to get a job designing video games? Or what it feels like to swim with sharks? Or what it takes to be a rocket scientist? For answers to these questions and more, JASON Learning invites you to participate in our free, live, interactive webcasts with career role models in STEM .
The mission of JASON Learning, a nonprofit managed by Sea Research Foundation in partnership with the National Geographic Society, is to inspire and educate kids everywhere through real science and exploration. One of our focus areas is inspiring kids to pursue careers in STEM. According to the 2010 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, two reasons kids feel discouraged from pursuing careers in STEM fields are 1) a lack of understanding of what people in the fields do and 2) not knowing anyone who works in the fields. Although we at JASON do take some kids on actual scientific expeditions through our National Argonaut program, taking the 1 million kids we serve each year would be a bit impractical. So we do the next best thing — invite them all to tune in to our live webcasts with real STEM professionals. If you have struggled with finding STEM role models for your youth, you don’t need to worry any longer—we bring the role models to you!
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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings Guest Blog Science Community Partners
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MAR
18

STEM
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Resource round-up: girls in STEM

By Melissa Ballard

In honor of Women’s History Month, we wanted to recognize the incredible work being done in the afterschool field to encourage and support girls in STEM. Below are a selection of recent publications and a list of girl-serving afterschool and summer programs actively working on the best ways to engage girls in STEM learning.

And for a bit of history, all this month, the National Girls Collaborative Project is highlighting women who have made and are currently making a significant impact in the STEM fields.

What resources would you add to this list? Add your comments below or send us a tweet @afterschool4all!

Best Practices
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learn more about: Science
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MAR
12

STEM
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Computing 101 for afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

At the recent National AfterSchool Association (NAA) Annual Convention , I co-presented with Irene Lee, an expert in computer science education, on how afterschool programs are engaging kids in computing. Irene runs two computing afterschool programs in New Mexico, Project GUTS and GUTS y Girls, and works on several initiatives with the Computer Science Teachers Association. Project GUTS was the winner of our 2013 Afterschool STEM Impact Awards!

Computing and computer science education have been hot topics in the news. Recently, we released an issue brief, “Computing and Engineering in Afterschool,” and hosted a lively webinar on the topic.

In our conference session at NAA, we talked about what computing is, what afterschool programs are doing with computing, and some tips to get started. Interested in Computing 101 for afterschool? Check out our presentation slides!

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learn more about: Digital Learning Events and Briefings
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MAR
7

STEM
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Guest Blog: Quality afterschool STEM necessitates quality teaching and learning

By Melissa Ballard

Jeff Davis is the Program Director of STEM in OST Programs at the California AfterSchool Network.  This post originally appeared on the Click2SciencePD blog on Nov. 28, 2013.

 

 

 

The Expanding Minds and Opportunities compendium highlights persuasive evidence on the effectiveness of expanded learning (afterschool, summer, inter-session, etc.) opportunities.  In one article, the authors state:

“…Quality afterschool and summer learning opportunities work.  We know that quality expanded learning programs are associated with increased academic performance, increased attendance in school, significant improvement in behavior and social and emotional development, and greater opportunities for hands-on learning in important areas that are not typically available during the school day” (Peterson, Fowler, and Dunham, p. 357).

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learn more about: Guest Blog Science State Networks Youth Development
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MAR
4

STEM
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Guest blog: Anytime, anywhere STEM professional development

By Melissa Ballard

Lisa Mielke, a former zookeeper, is the Science Manager at TASC (The After-School Corporation). She leads STEM training and professional development for directors and front-line staff at out-of-school-time programs throughout New York City. One of the ways TASC supports schools and community partners to expand learning opportunities is to build the capacity of staff members to lead STEM inquiry.

This post originally appeared on TASC’s blog on Feb. 27, 2014.

As someone who trains hundreds of New York City out-of-school-time program directors and frontline staff every year, I’m excited about the best resource I’ve seen in ages for supporting more and better STEM learning. It’s a new, interactive professional development website called Click2Science.

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learn more about: Guest Blog
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FEB
25

STEM
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Moms inspire their daughters in STEM

By Melissa Ballard

We loved the message of this recent GE ad, “Childlike Imagination.” Already, it has more than 1.2 million views on YouTube. Earlier this month we blogged about the importance of mentors for inspiring girls and other populations underrepresented in STEM. Working moms in STEM surely inspire their own daughters, and we hope they seek opportunities to inspire more girls in their community! 

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learn more about: Media Outreach Science Working Families
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FEB
25

STEM
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STEM webinar re-cap: Engineering and Computing in Afterschool

By Melissa Ballard

To celebrate last week’s national Engineers Week, the Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar featuring three incredible afterschool programs engaging students in engineering, computing and technology education. We were joined by:

  • Jen Joyce, Director of Professional Development at Techbridge in Oakland, CA
  • Andrew Coy, Executive Director of Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore, MD
  • Maureen Psaila-Dombrowski, Program Coordinator at the Santa Fe Institute, representing Project GUTS

All three were featured in our latest issue brief on computing and engineering, and they were able to provide a clearer picture on what has made their afterschool programs successful. Program profiles in our Afterschool STEM Storybook provide additional information. You can watch the full recording and view the slides on our webinar archives page. Below is a quick re-cap!

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learn more about: Digital Learning Issue Briefs Science Community Partners
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FEB
12

STEM
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The importance of STEM mentors

By Melissa Ballard

 

January’s National Mentoring Month celebrated the work of thousands of adults who make a difference in young people’s lives by offering stable relationships to support their academic and social development. The initiative also sought to raise awareness for the continued need for mentors. A new report from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership found a significant mentoring gap, particularly for at-risk youth.

STEM-specific mentors are especially important to break down stereotypes about who practices STEM and to demonstrate the diversity in career options. The White House has recognized the need for more STEM professionals to mentor youth, which resulted in the US2020 initiative, calling on companies to allow their employees to volunteer as mentors.

In other big news, the Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative was launched last month, and to-date almost 45,000 have taken the pledge! In the near future, MWM plans to offer an online platform to provide STEM professionals with tools to become effective mentors and to connect with girl-serving youth organizations. Several groups working in the out-of-school-time space are official partners—Girls, Inc., 4-H, YWCA,Girlstart, the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.

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learn more about: Service Youth Development Community Partners
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