The Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) and the MacArthur Foundation have announced their fifth Digital Media and Learning Competition—the Trust Challenge: Building Trust in Connected Learning Environments. The Trust Challenge will award a total of $1.2 million—in $10,000 to $150,000 year-long development grants—to institutions and organizations that look to answer questions around trust, privacy, safety and learning in an open online world. Proposals will address questions such as:
- How can learners exercise control over who sees and uses their data?
- What tools do they need in order to navigate, collaborate and learn online with confidence?
- What solutions will foster greater civility and respect in online learning environments?
- How can open technical standards create more opportunities to share and collaborate online in a spirit of trust?
Applications will be accepted Sept. 3 to Nov. 3, 2014.
By Jen Rinehart
Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., have joined the rapidly growing Cities of Learning movement, a new effort to network citywide resources to keep youth (ages 4 to 24) engaged in educational and career opportunities when school lets out. Cities are funded by local partners and receive national support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Digital Youth Network and the Badge Alliance.
Cities of Learning offer free or low-cost opportunities for youth to learn online or participate in programming at parks, libraries, museums and other institutions. Whether through robotics, fashion design, coding competitions or workplace internships, Cities of Learning provide an array of engaging opportunities for young people to explore new interests, develop their talents, and create unique pathways toward college or a career.
Chicago launched the Cities of Learning movement in 2013 with a successful summer program that now continues year-round. This summer, Dallas, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh will kick off their Cities of Learning, with Columbus and Washington, D.C., joining the lineup this fall. More cities are planning to launch in 2015.
This week the Aspen Institutes Task Force on Learning and the Internet released its much anticipated report, Learner at the Center of a Networked World. The report and series of recommendations seeks to ensure today’s students are at the center of, and have access to, safe learning inside and outside of the classroom that prepares them for future success. The comprehensive report addresses the serious issues of trust, safety, privacy, digital literacy and accessibility—especially for underserved students. In their recommendations, the task force recommends actions to help all students connect safely and maximize learning experiences online.
The task force—composed of 20 thought leaders with diverse perspectives on learning, innovation and safety, and supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation—finalized the report after a year of study, outreach to stakeholders including the afterschool field, public input and internal deliberations. Former Governor of Florida and Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) Jeb Bush and Co-Founder of Voto Latino Rosario Dawson served as Honorary Co-Chairs.
We're thrilled to announce that we have partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer the first ever Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. We need your help to find exceptional afterschool programs that are providing strong literacy support to middle schoolers—helping them to develop their reading, writing and critical thinking skills. The winning afterschool program will be awarded $10,000 and recognized at the Afterschool Alliance’s national Afterschool for All Challenge.
Nominate a program today! Or, nominate your own program today! We also encourage afterschool program directors, staff, volunteers and students to nominate their own program.
The Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award is a great opportunity to highlight the critical work taking place outside of the school day to ensure that middle school students have the necessary support and guidance to build the literacy skills that will help them succeed both in and out of school.
The deadline for nominations is Aug. 15.
The online nomination form has more detailed instructions, but feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions you may have about this process.
Good luck and we look forward to learn more about the valuable work to strengthen students’ literacy skills that is taking place in afterschool programs across the country.
Last week, the White House Science Fair hosted more than 100 students from across the U.S. to showcase their inventions and projects. Students, either individually or in teams, had won a variety of national and regional competitions in everything from rocketry, robotics and electric vehicles. Two of these teams represented afterschool programs! Pres. Obama toured the fair, meeting all of the students, and then announced new components of the Educate to Innovate initiative, including an expansion of the STEM AmeriCorps program and a national STEM mentoring effort.
We’ve gotten some great submissions for this year’s Lights On Afterschool poster, but we think there’s even more afterschool talent out there—and we want to see it! That’s why we’re extending the poster deadline to Monday, June 9, 2014.
This contest is a great opportunity for an afterschool program to gain national recognition for the great enrichment opportunities it offers, since the young artist’s program will be credited on the poster, too!
- The winning design will be printed on tens of thousands of posters
- The design will be displayed at thousands of Lights On Afterschool celebrations across the country
- The winning artist will be featured on our website, blog and Afterschool Storybook
We can't wait to see what you come up with!
By Luci Manning
Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program. Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.” Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”
Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA. Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets. Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.
On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club. The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life. Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”
Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.” Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process. “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News.
David Reeves is marketing manager of Playland Inc. in Carrollton, GA. Playland Inc. is a total solutions manufacturer and supplier to many industries, with its roots deep in the park and playground markets including churches, schools, and day care centers. It has developed into the only company in its field to offer direct to all of its customers, the ability to purchase outdoor playgrounds, shelters, shade, indoor playgrounds, water slides and site amenities.
As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time exercising and playing. Just like adults, kids need exercise, and there are plenty of benefits of exercising for school-aged children. As you may know, one hour of physical activity per day is the commonly suggested amount for kids to get the most out of these benefits.
Some benefits of exercise for school-aged children are pretty obvious, such as weight control. Kids who exercise also fulfill a great number of vital emotional, social and cognitive needs. Play helps kids feel better, act better and think better. They feel less stressed, and higher levels of physical fitness also improve confidence. They sleep better at night and are ready to learn more in school. Exercise helps kids build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Kids who exercise with their peers also learn teamwork and goal setting, and the chance of developing diseases later in life is greatly reduced.