Public Media and Expanded Learning — Natural Partners in Digital Learning

Seeking to use the latest digital learning tools to boost student engagement in your expanded learning program? Look no further than your local public media station. While public television has long provided high-quality programming for children (who didn’t grow up learning the ABCs with Sesame Street?), public media is entering a new age of providing learning experiences to children at home, on-the-go, and wherever they are. And the resources, games, and apps from public media are a perfect fit for the informal learning that takes place in after-school and summer settings.

Like expanded learning systems, public media seeks to provide exceptional learning Summer Adventureexperiences to children in low-income families to prepare them for school and beyond. In order to boost the math and literacy skills of children in low-income families, the CPB-PBS KIDS Ready To Learn initiative has created new shows (Odd Squad and Peg+Cat), and designed educational apps and games that incorporate popular PBS KIDS characters. This strategy—called transmedia—tells a single story across multiple platforms. For a young learner used to watching Curious George on their television at home, playing a game with George on a tablet in an after-school program makes learning more comfortable, fun, and engaging. Children also gain early, interactive exposure to the tools of the digital age. Research has found that this approach can have a powerful impact on learning for young students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Continue reading


The Building Blocks for Youth Success: A Q&A with the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research

Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework, a new report funded by The Wallace Foundation, brings together decades of research from many fields to show that children need more than academic knowledge alone to succeed in life. In this Q&A we asked the report’s authors—Jenny Nagaoka, Camille Farrington, Stacy Ehrlich, and Ryan Heath of the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research—about their findings and the implications for the world of expanded learning

Every Hour Counts: From your research, what does true success look like for young adults?

UChicago CCSR: Success means that young people can fulfill individual goals and have the agency and competencies to influence the world around them. It means that young people have developed an awareness of themselves and of the wide range of options before them, the competencies to pursue those options, and the ability to make good future choices for their lives as engaged citizens in the world. This larger focus is inseparable from goals related to college and career.

Every Hour Counts: What can adults do to support youth on the path to becoming successful adults?

UChicago CCSR: Adults can provide opportunities for young people to have developmental experiences. Developmental experiences are those which expose young people to new ideas, people, and perspectives; provide opportunities to engage in hands-on learning; include demonstrations of expert performance and models of high-quality work to emulate; offer extended time to practice and develop competencies; and ultimately allow young people to contribute their unique gifts to the world. Developmental experiences also offer opportunities to reflect upon one’s learning, to “name the world,” evaluate ideas, and to make connections between one’s actions and other things one cares about. Finally, wallace coverdevelopmental experiences support young people in integrating disparate occurrences into a larger sense of themselves in a way that propels them forward, and eventually, acting with agency in the larger world.

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