Strategically link programs as well as your organization more broadly to place and local need through participation in networks and partnerships.

See community resources

​The approach to digital learning highlighted in this toolkit is one that is deeply situated, place-based, and most importantly, rooted in community.

Rather than something abstract or technical, community-based digital learning relies on organizations developing rich relationships across their communities to support powerful learning outcomes.

The resources in this section highlight how community connections can amplify and enhance activities in specific programs. Community might be thought of as the people who live in the neighborhoods where programs are based, as well as local businesses, institutions such as local schools and churches, grassroots civic groups and more. Additionally, community speaks to the professional networks of collaborators and colleagues in which an organization participates.

Being ‘place and community-based’ means that organizations are attentive to the needs of those they serve, aware of ongoing community challenges, connected to potential partners and able to connect youth to new opportunities beyond their own programs.

Effective strategies include leveraging local relationships in order to reach and serve disconnected youth, provide inspiration and audience for media and technology projects, build internal capacity for new digital learning programs, support youth to pursue interests across organizations and connect youth to professional and higher education opportunities.

As with all strategies, the kinds of relationships organizations develop with local communities should follow from the broader goals they’re aiming to achieve.

But these must indeed be active strategies—just because an organization is based in a given neighborhood doesn’t mean that it’s intentionally building the sorts of place-based connections outlined here.Figuring out what these strategies should look like, ways to pursue them, and who should lead them are key questions to answer in efforts to create an effective community-based digital learning program.