Youth, Education & Technology News : August 2009

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+ Having a Say: Youth and Educational Activism
+ Momentum building on STEM education
+ Film series profiles visionaries in 21st-century education
+ Back-to-school Activities and Crafts
+ 25 Activities to Keep Kids' Brains Active in The Hot Summer Sun

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August 18, 2009

Having a Say: Youth and Educational Activism

"Ever since school was made compulsory for American children in the early 20th century, efforts at reform rarely included input from youth. But that is changing, as U.S. institutions are beginning to value the opinions of youth, and as youth themselves have realized their collective power through new networking media.

'Ten years ago, it was hard for young people, or adults even, to know whom to lobby, to find which elected officials, let alone to figure out how to contact them. And with all that information readily available online, I think the bar is lowering on how difficult it is to do lobbying at the same time that interest is rising among young people to do lobbying,' said Thaddeus Ferber, manager of the Youth Policy Action Center an online youth empowerment site organized by a collection of youth and advocacy organizations around the country.

Youth activism on educational issues takes many forms. It includes volunteering within the school to help staff or students. It also includes fundraising for various school projects and programs and lobbying administration officials for changes in policy or curriculum.

Other forms of activism happen outside of school. Youth write letters or launch rallies to press elected officials and administrators for changes they believe in. They also attend board meetings and city council meetings to present their cases for reform."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 18, 2009 | Resources

Momentum building on STEM education

"As part of the Obama administration's emphasis on bringing education into the 21st century, it comes as no surprise that policy makers have trained their focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as a way to give more students, especially girls and minorities, stronger global skills. And with this increased focus, some education experts say momentum is building for more recognition of the 'T' and 'E' in STEM--technology and engineering, two subjects often overlooked.

In fact, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), part of the National Research Council, recently completed a report that surveys the extent and nature of efforts to teach engineering to K-12 students in the United States. The report is set to be released Sept. 8....

'One of the findings is that discussions of STEM tend to be focused on science, sometimes math, rarely both together--usually they're siloed, and the T and especially the E are really just left out of the discussion in policy, education, and classroom practice,' Pearson said."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 18, 2009 | News

Film series profiles visionaries in 21st-century education

"The nonprofit Pearson Foundation hopes to start conversations and get people thinking about educational innovation with a new film series that profiles remarkable people and their accomplishments in school reform....

The film series, called 'A 21st Century Education,' highlights a dozen innovative and compelling school-reform leaders from around the world. The series was produced by the Mobile Learning Institute (MLI), a co-funded effort by Nokia and the Pearson Foundation.

MLI helps students in the United States and internationally use computers and digital-arts technologies to tell stories about themselves and their communities. The initiative also conducts professional development workshops and hosts leadership summits for school administrators."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 18, 2009 | Resources

Back-to-school Activities and Crafts

From Enchanted Learning, "These back-to-school activities and crafts are simple to do and are great as ice-breakers for the beginning of the school year. They help the students and teacher get to know one another. Also, it may help students find those people in the class who share similar interests, helping them make friends."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 18, 2009 | Activities

August 03, 2009

25 Activities to Keep Kids' Brains Active in The Hot Summer Sun

Running low on things to do with the kids? Here's a list of various online and offline activities from Education World. Among the ideas:

"Read aloud The Paper Crane by Molly Bang. Then introduce the art of paper folding by printing and following the instructions for How to Make an Origami Crane."

"Go on a Light Walk, an outing designed to teach kids the properties of light and facts about the sun. Bob Miller of the Exploratorium explains it all. Can't take an online tour? Do your own image walk by printing the directions and template found at the site."

"Cool down by making Ice Cream in a Bag. The simple technique produces delicious ice cream in about 5 minutes. What ice cream varieties will you and your child concoct?"

"Staple together pieces of plain paper or use a notebook to help your child make a cartoon flip book. Kids draw a sequence of cartoons and simulate motion as they 'flip' through the pages."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 03, 2009 | Activities

Afterschool Matters - Spring 2009 Issue

If you haven't already seen it, check out the current issue of Afterschool Matters, a journal published by the National Institute on Out-of-School Time with support from the Robert Bowne Foundation. Articles include: "Preparing Youth for the 21st Century Knowledge Economy: Youth Programs and Workforce Preparation" by Graham R. Cochran and Theresa M. Ferrari; "The Girl Game Company:Engaging Latina Girls in Information Technology" by Jill Denner, Steve Bean, and Jacob Martinez; and "Making the Most of the Middle: A Strategic Model for Middle School Afterschool Programs" by Holly Morehouse.

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 03, 2009 | Resources

TechSoup Resources for Nonprofits

"TechSoup provides a range of technology services for nonprofits, including articles, a blog, discussion forums, Webinars, and discounted and donated technology products."

To get involved and obtain benefits:

"Join TechSoup and Create a member profile. Once you have a member profile, you will able to post and reply to our discussion forums and you have taken the first step to becoming an authorized buyer of donated products for your organization.
Get a product donation. After you have created a member profile, register your organization to get donated products with TechSoup Stock. If your organization is already registered, you can apply to become an authorized agent.
Subscribe to our free e-newsletters. By the Cup brings you highlights from across TechSoup each week, while the monthly New Product Alert delivers announcements from TechSoup Stock for the latest donations...
Learn how your nonprofit can get the most out of technology. Whether you're trying to choose between TechSoup Stock products or need support for a technology you already have, TechSoup can help guide you through every stage of the decision-making process...
Check out our Global Network."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 03, 2009 | Resources

The Benefits of and Barriers to Out-of-School Programs for Youth

"Research suggests that participation in out-of-school time programs and activities can lessen the likelihood that youth will engage in negative behaviors, such as using drugs and alcohol, dropping out of school, and practicing unhealthy eating habits. Despite these benefits, millions of youth still do not participate in these programs. Three new Child Trends briefs explore the various reasons for non-participation.

1. Program Participation Can Lower Risk of Youth Disconnection From School or Work
2. Child, Family, and Neighborhood Factors Influence Youth Non-Participation in Programs
3. Youth Perspective on Why Teens Don't Participate in Programs"

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 03, 2009 | Research

Video Game Minority Report: Lots Of Players, Few Characters

"The first comprehensive survey of video game characters... shows that the video game industry does no better than television in representing American society.

In some cases, video games do worse, said study leader Dmitri Williams, a social psychologist and assistant professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication.... fewer than 3 percent of video game characters were recognizably Hispanic, and all of them were non-playable, background characters.
Imagine if no Latino on television had a speaking part.

'Latino children play more video games than white children. And they're really not able to play themselves,' Williams said. 'For identity formation, that's a problem. And for generating interest in technology, it may place underrepresented groups behind the curve.'

'Ironically, they may even be less likely to become game makers themselves, helping to perpetuate the cycle. Many have suggested that games function as crucial gatekeepers for interest in science, technology, engineering and math.'
Women, Native Americans, children and the elderly also were underrepresented."

Posted by wrivenburgh on August 03, 2009 | Research