The annual meeting of the Statewide Afterschool Networks in early February 2012 coincided with the first national Digital Learning Day. In order to take advantage of this exciting event and to raise awareness of digital learning opportunities in afterschool and summer learning, Collaborative suggested the development of a ‘Digital Learning Lab’ where participants could learn about policy, practice and research related to digital learning, and connect with experts in the field.
Collaborative designed a highly interactive and fun learning experience where participants could both hear from a series of organizations working to advance digital learning, and then could go deeper through either informal ‘Lab’ conversations or mini-presentations. Collaborative led the development of the Digital Learning Lab by:
Designed an interactive learning ‘Lab’ which consisted of a series of rapid-fire presentations by experts, followed by a deep dive by one organization, and an open, informal networking and learning experience where participants talked directly with the experts and tested their tools or products where applicable.
Invited and managed the group of expert presenters which included representatives from BAYCAT, CFY, Gooru, The After-School Corporation (TASC), Think Together and Wireless Generation.
Facilitated the rapid-fire presentations on key research, practice and policy issues related to digital learning, which provided participants with information on California digital learning programs and tools, current policy initiatives and assessment efforts.
Evaluated the session to gather information from participants on how to continue the conversation and advance the dialogue on digital learning in out-of-school time.
As a result of our efforts, nearly 100 participants learned about leading research, policy and practice in digital learning. Additionally, because of the design of the Lab, presenters were also able to connect with one another, forming new connections and gaining new ideas about their work.
This highly interactive learning experience provided connections to the latest trends in digital learning in afterschool and connected the ongoing conference to a larger national dialogue about digital learning.
The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) wanted to bring together afterschool professionals from across the nation to share best practices and to learn about new resources in the field.
Having assisted with workshop coordination at the 2008 Convention, Collaborative had the experience, insight and creativity to successfully support the NAA's 2009 convention. Collaborative coordinated the workshop planning and preparation, as well as the Web site development, convention registration, exhibition sites, specials events, plenary sessions, networking events, site visits and participant activities.
Speaker management included scheduling both the keynote speakers and workshop sessions. This year's convention featured the following keynote speakers:
Sir Ken Robinson, an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources
General Colin Powell, former Secretary of State
Jeff Corwin, host of Animal Planet's The Jeff Corwin Experience
Collaborative facilitated the request for proposal process for workshop presenters. With our strategic knowledge of the afterschool field, we reviewed proposals and selected content. The workshops were carefully planned to ensure an exciting and diverse suite of offerings. Collaborative also assisted NAA in the planning and execution of site visits and networking events. Site coordination occurred for the following:
Forums with a special speakers and panel discussions
Informal networking events and receptions
Facilitated discussions on timely afterschool topics
Invitation-only focus groups and research-based discussions
Convention registration was a coordinated effort among NAA, Meetings Management Group (MMG), and Collaborative. NAA supplied the content, MMG provided experienced management of convention planning, and Collaborative coordinated the efforts, fielded questions, and designed and maintained the convention Web site.
United Way in Greenville, South Carolina asked Collaborative to develop a strategic action plan that elevates the positioning of afterschool services for students in the community, particularly for middle grade students. This work also included the development of an assessment tool to help determine the quality of afterschool programs.
Collaborative facilitated the development of a strategic action plan with a community steering committee that emphasizes quality in all afterschool programs in Greenville—including the identification of a quality assessment tool—and best practices in middle grades afterschool, with a plan for implementation of quality programs in targeted middle grades.
The planning process resulted in a three-point strategic action plan for afterschool in Greenville. In one element, the plan will addressed services targeted to children at-risk of dropping out of school, with an outcome of increasing students’ academic success and graduation rates.
A second element focuses on the quality of services in the community. The third element will focus on how the United Way as an organization can focus its funding and support in future years to best support quality in afterschool services. Collaborative will help craft recommendations for a sustained effort, which include the necessary research, cost estimates and proposed timelines.
Collaborative worked with the steering committee to define what quality means for afterschool programs in Greenville, and developed of a quality assessment tool and a map of afterschool resources in the community. This quality assessment will have a far-reaching impact, helping not only Greenville United Way, but also the entire Greenville community to support and improve afterschool programs and systems. Ultimately, this work will feed back into the community-wide Graduate Greenville initiative as one strategy to help engage, motivate and support students toward the goal of increased graduation rates in Greenville County Schools.