Intentionally select and integrate tools and practices that support voice, creativity and participation in ways that are meaningful and impactful for youth futures.

See technology resources

In making decisions about what, where, when and how to incorporate technology into program design, we found that our partners were considering how the choices they made would bolster larger goals around supporting youth futures. We provide a brief framework for thinking about different affordances of technology in informal learning settings as a starting point to evaluate how an organization can leverage and integrate technology within youth programs to best fit its unique situation. We offer the following questions for consideration:

What might technology help an organization to achieve? How does technology align with an organization’s broader mission and approaches to learning? How do choices around technology speak to the interests of the youth the organization serves, the capacities of its educators, and the needs of its community?

The kinds of technology we’re talking about here are specifically ones that youth can use and interact with as they create, connect and share. These include various forms of media production tools, hardware and software, programming languages, Internet sites such as social networks and cloud-based production tools, 3D printers and laser cutters and even ‘low tech’ tools like crafting and woodworking materials.

Organizations can amplify key goals for youth by incorporating technology into their programming in ways that follow some or all of the best practices laid out in our resources. There’s no one right way; therefore, not one right set of tools that organizations should focus on. The right tools for any single organization are the ones that serve its goals.

Resources in the Technology section include our partners’ insights on achieving youth outcomes that include: development of skills that move youth from consumers to producers, building professional social capital, promotion of cultural and political voice, engagement in place-based innovation, grounding in identity and community, and documentation and reflection on learning.