21st Century Skills Courtesy of The Boys and Girls Club
Techlearning recently highlighted a study conducted in my home state. The University of Washington’s Center for information and Society has been looking into the work of 38 Boys and Girls Clubs across the country and how that work is contributing to the formation and growth of 21st Century skills among our youth. According the the BGCA website, their mission is to "promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence."
In the late 1990s, Boys & Girls Clubs began operating computer labs and integrating technology-related access and learning opportunities into their activities. The study found that the access to learning after school plays an important role in complementing what is actually learned in school. BGCA members not only learn computer basics, but how to use technology to increase their literacy in current affairs and other topics. Many students also find that they are able to successfully complete their homework in the supportive and collaborative environment the BGCA provides—and which far too many do not have at home. It seems to me that this is a strong partner able to introduce and enhance technical skills, promote an understanding of the Internet, build computer fluency and all the while providing a safe environment in which to learn social and non technical skills as well.