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NAA Releases Afterschool Tech Toolkit to Support Digital Learning and Technology Access in Afterschool

Washington, DC, May 17, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) released today a free, online Afterschool Tech Toolkit to guide the effective integration of technology in afterschool learning programs.

The modular toolkit was developed as part of a $500,000 grant from Google to maximize technology-based learning in afterschool, with an emphasis on ensuring all students - especially those in underserved communities - have equitable access to high-quality digital learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

"Technology in afterschool programming supports students of all ages, from elementary students who can build their curiosity to middle and high school students who need tech access to complete their homework and develop 21st century skills," said Gina Warner, president and CEO of NAA. "We see this toolkit as a valuable resource for the afterschool field to make high-quality digital learning and technology access a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have, for all kids in afterschool programs."

Developed in close partnership with educators and afterschool professionals, the toolkit and its modules respond to their stated needs to advance their youth development goals. The toolkit empowers afterschool professionals with resources and hands-on training they may use to provide students with powerful access to technology outside of school hours. It provides guidance to afterschool professionals who currently lead or oversee afterschool programming in various settings, including schools, community-based and private organizations, and places of worship.

The Afterschool Tech Toolkit offers concrete action steps that empower afterschool professionals to incorporate digital learning into their programs. Specific topics addressed in the toolkit include creating a shared vision for digital learning, embedding technology in curriculum, addressing equity around technology access, and training and supporting staff to use technology. Through engaging learning modules focused on specific topics around digital learning and equity, educators complete learning tasks, review case studies and best practices, and begin to think through how to implement quality digital learning and technology into their programs.

The Afterschool Tech Toolkit will be available to afterschool professionals at no cost on the NAA website. Educators, practitioners, and partners are invited to attend a training webinar training hosted by NAA on May 22 about increasing meaningful digital learning opportunities and access in afterschool.

According to a November 2017 research review on equitable access to technology in afterschool by Policy Studies Associates, 97 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools say their students do not have access at home to the digital resources needed to complete assignments. This lack of daily access to technology is resulting in a "homework gap," leaving millions of students to fall behind.

"We are excited to continue our support of NAA and afterschool professionals across the country." said Amanda Del Balso, senior program manager for Google's Education Social Impact programs. "Our hope is that this toolkit will expand access to digital learning opportunities and technology for students across the country after their school days end."

To learn more about NAA's work to support afterschool professionals, visit their website at http://www.naaweb.org.


About the National AfterSchool Association

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) is the national membership organization for professionals who work with and on behalf of children and youth during out of school time. NAA's mission is to promote development, provide education and encourage advocacy for the out-of-school-time community to further the afterschool profession. An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000. Visit https://naaweb.org/ for more information about the association.

About Google for Education

Google for Education is committed to directing their resources — their products, programs, philanthropy and people — towards creating a future where every student has access to the skills they'll need and the quality education they deserve. Building on the work of Google's Dynamic Learning Project, their support of NAA is a part of their continued efforts to help provide educators—including those outside of traditional classroom settings—with the skills, trainings and resources they need to help benefit from the promise of technology. For more information about their work in education visit edu.google.com and follow on Twitter at @googleforedu.