After seven years of fieldwork, the Morino Institute has joined with EDC to release a guide designed to help after-school programs create and implement high-quality, technology-enriched learning activities. The guide provides user-friendly tools and resources that have proven effective at inspiring young people’s curiosity and creativity in a range of community-based settings.
The YouthLearn Guide: A Creative Approach to Working With Youth and Technology is a manual with more than 160 pages of hands-on lessons, worksheets, and sample activities. This guide helps practitioners combine new technologies with proven teaching techniques in ways that can make their work even more rewarding for them and the children they serve. The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and PowerUP are partnering with the Morino Institute and EDC to share The YouthLearn Guide with thousands of their technology-enriched sites across the country.
"We are witnessing an explosion of technology-based programs in both after-school and in-school settings," said Mario Morino, chairman of the Morino Institute, whose YouthLearn Initiative created the guide. "The leaders and instructors of these programs are in great need of quality materials to help them enrich these learning programs and introduce new ones. We believe The YouthLearn Guide will go a long way toward fulfilling this important need."
The YouthLearn Initiative is rooted in seven years of work by the Morino Institute to help community organizations use new technologies to strengthen their youth programs. The most intensive of these efforts began in 1998, when the Morino Institute joined with four respected community organizations in Washington, DC, to launch a two-year pilot project that established high-quality technology-based learning centers as core components of youth development programs.
"The emphasis was not on teaching technology but on using technology to spark project-based learning-collaborative activities that inspire students to connect their work with real-life experiences," said Tracy Gray, Vice President of Youth Services at the Morino Institute.
The publication of the guide marks the beginning of a collaborative effort between the Northern Virginia-based Morino Institute and the Massachusetts-based Education Development Center. After incubating and building the YouthLearn Initiative into a thriving online learning community and web-based resource center frequented by thousands of after-school instructors and classroom teachers, the Morino Institute focused its efforts on finding a strategic partner to assume the ongoing leadership of YouthLearn and ensure its growth and advancement. The Institute found the ideal partner in EDC, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit education organizations, with hundreds of quality learning projects around the globe. In the coming months, the Morino Institute will continue on in an advisory role as EDC expands YouthLearn’s offerings, including new training sessions for practitioners.
"The Morino Institute built YouthLearn into a highly valuable online source for quality materials and inspiration for out-of-school professionals and teachers," said Janet Whitla, President and CEO of EDC. "This collaboration builds on the important work of practitioners in the field and is a natural extension of our long-standing history in human development. Ultimately, we hope to establish a national center of excellence on youth, learning, and technology anchored around YouthLearn’s unique approach."
Originally published on January 1, 2002