When School Gets Out, Learning Goes On
At Club Tech, Learning About Technology Leads To Learning With It
Published: February 26, 2003
Sara Weber, a fifth-grader in Scottsdale, Arizona, recently created a presentation for school about the geography of New York State. Nothing unusual about that, except Sara created an electronic presentation using PowerPoint software on a personal computer.
In Scottsdale and across America today, technology is becoming as integral to education as pencils and books. Computers and the Internet are everyday tools for research, homework preparation and communication among teachers, students and their parents. In colleges and universities, online education enriches the curriculum and extends opportunities to students far from campus.
Sara Weber finds technology helpful in her schoolwork, but she learned to use presentation software not in school or even at home. She learned through the Boys & Girls Clubs of Scottsdale, in Club Tech, a program that helps young people gain hands-on experience in the effective use of technology.
Launched nationally three years ago with support from Microsoft, Club Tech has involved nearly one million young people at 950 Boys & Girls Clubs. By 2005, plans call for the program to be offered at more than 3,000 clubs located across the United States and on U.S. military bases overseas.
Club Tech teaches kids practical computing and research skills by helping them use technology to enhance activities that they enjoy. Basketball players learn about data analysis using electronic spreadsheets to track statistics from their games. Art students develop research skills using the Web to learn from famous painters and their works. In the Digital Arts Suite, a new component of Club Tech, kids learn to use a host of software applications as they study digital photography, movie making, music composition and graphic and Web design.
Education specialists developed and tested Club Tech programs, which include training and ongoing support for staff as well as software and curricula, to help ensure that children’s experiences are educationally sound. Club Tech complements and enriches what kids are learning in schools. And it provides a special boost for children who do not have access to a computer at home.
An independent evaluation found that the program provided many children with their first opportunity to use a computer and was effective in extending children’s learning beyond the school day. After just three months, participants showed increased skill in word processing, creating computer graphics and developing multimedia presentations.
Microsoft has donated more than $100 million in cash and software to support Club Tech because we believe that it’s a great way for young people to get excited about learning and to understand the value of technology. By partnering with organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we aim to help people realize their full potential—in school and out.