Washington, D.C. - November 29, 2017 - The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has received a $500,000 grant from Google to support the integration of technology into afterschool learning programs. The grant coincides with the release of a research report that explores how to empower afterschool professionals to ensure that all students—especially those in underserved communities—have equitable access to high-quality digital learning opportunities outside of school hours.
The research review, developed by Policy Studies Associates in Washington, D.C., takes a close look at the experiences of the 10 million elementary, middle and high school students who participate in afterschool programs in school- and community-based settings. It reports that afterschool professionals play an especially important role in supporting learning for low-income students: consistent participation in high-quality afterschool has been shown to eliminate gaps in achievement based on income.
The review also includes that ninety-seven percent of teachers in high-poverty schools say their students do not have access at home to the digital resources needed to complete assignments. As daily access to devices and Internet connectivity after school is necessary to successfully complete homework, the lack of technology is resulting in a "homework gap", leaving millions of students to fall behind.
"Afterschool programs are uniquely positioned to support technology use to address the 'homework gap' and encourage creative uses of technology rather than simple consumption," said Gina Warner, president and CEO of NAA. "These programs have long been known as a solution to help students and families complete homework with mentors and support, and now with access to technology, the new research indicates afterschool programs can play a major role in addressing inequities."
NAA is the premier membership organization dedicated to delivering high-quality, professional development to afterschool practitioners across the U.S. NAA reaches more than 520,000 afterschool professionals who impact more than four million students, roughly half of all the children that participate in afterschool programs.
The report finds that afterschool educators need support with the use of technology and developing the capacity to serve as facilitators in a digital environment that encourages students to explore and pursue topics of interest. With the right professional development, afterschool professionals can "help students actively navigate the technology to create deep learning experiences and develop digital citizenship and responsibility in a safe, facilitated setting."
In response to this inequity, and building on their Dynamic Learning Project, Google is providing a $500,000 grant to support NAA's efforts to integrate technology into afterschool programming. Google has long supported efforts to close education gaps in schools around the world, providing over $160 million over the last five years alone. Their support for NAA will help both students and educators access necessary tools to maximize technology-based learning after school.
"We are so excited to support the National AfterSchool Association in their efforts to help students and afterschool professionals across the country access technology and quality education programming outside of classroom hours," said Amanda Del Balso, Senior Program Manager for Google's Education Social Impact programs.
Click here to learn more about NAA's research on increasing technology access in afterschool programs.
About the National AfterSchool Association
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) is the national membership organization for professionals who work with and on behalf of children and youth during out of school time. NAA's mission is to promote development, provide education and encourage advocacy for the out-of-school-time community to further the afterschool profession. An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000. Visit https://naaweb.org/ for more information about the association.
About Google for Education
Google is committed to directing our resources — our products, programs, philanthropy and people — toward making education accessible for everyone. While technology alone won't fix or improve education, we believe it can be a powerful part of the solution, and we want to help ensure that all teachers and students are able to benefit from it. We'll continue working toward a future where every student has access to the skills they'll need and the quality education they deserve. For more information about our work in education, visit edu.google.com and follow along on Twitter at @googleforeducation.