As part of his Middle East trip, President Barack Obama met with students at the Al-Bireh Youth Resource Development Center in Ramallah, one of several youth centers run and programmed by Education Development Center, Inc. (EDC), between 2008 and 2012, and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
At a time when many schools are being pushed to narrow their focus and concentrate on core academic subjects like reading and mathematics, afterschool programs are being pulled in a dozen different directions. Program directors wrestle with a range of questions as they try to meet the diverse needs of funders, parents, and the young people they serve. Should afterschool time be an extension of school, focused on tutoring and homework help? Or a break from school, focused on sports, fitness, arts, and hobbies?
For students who are struggling with math, finding exciting and engaging ways to interest them in the subject and help them succeed can be a difficult task. There is no shortage of web sites and software packages that help students practice their skills, but these can often lead to frustration for students. Integrating math with other disciplines into hands-on, project-based learning activities can transform math from a daunting and overwhelming subject to an approachable and practical set of skills.
In an effort to provide more choices and expanded educational opportunities to their clients, many community technology centers (CTCs) are turning to online learning. ACC recently spoke with two programs funded under the Department of Education CTC grant program that provide online courses as part of their program offerings. These experiences capture both the promises and pitfalls of online learning and show its potential to complement the great work CTCs across the country are already doing.
For EDC Senior Vice President Vivian Guilfoy, who has spent more than a decade working in the fields of community technology and youth development, one of the signs of progress is a blurring of boundaries. “The days of distinction between formal and informal education have come to an end,” says Guilfoy, director of EDC’s Center for Education, Employment, and Community (CEEC).
EDC and seven partners have been awarded a one-year, $2 million U.S. Department of Education contract to further the work of community technology centers (CTCs) in low-income areas. The America Connects Consortium, as the eight partners will be known, will provide technical and organizational assistance to the more than 400 CTCs currently funded by the Department of Education and the many other CTCs that have been established in low-income communities with other funding.
EDC released a new study of community technology centers (CTCs). A longitudinal analysis of a dozen users over two years, it confirms that CTCs play an important and ongoing role in peoples’ lives. Participants quickly come to rely on the technical assistance, high-end equipment, and the social and educational opportunities the centers provide. Most users return regularly for additional support and training or as teachers themselves.
In the summer of 1960, reverend Solomon B Caulker, an African college administrator from Sierra Leone, travelled to Israel to attend an international conference on improving science education in developing countries. After listening to several papers on nuclear power, Caulker stood up to address the group.