Closing the Digital Divide with help from Generation YES
Highly qualified educators and IT staff don’t have enough hours in the day or the capacity to provide real-time support and training opportunities for students and faculty. Generation YES offers support by creating a web-based platform and curriculum to harness the energy and technology expertise of students in grades 4-12. These students collaborate with educators and other adults to integrate 21st century technology in schools, improving the learning process. While this strategy has become increasingly popular as a ‘homegrown’ model, Generation YES has the experience and existing structure to ensure the success and growth of the program in schools.
The GenYES program, unlike traditional top-down professional development strategies, provides a unique approach to teacher training for technology integration. The program creates a partnership between technology literate students and teachers in the school. This is designed to develop and deliver practical uses of technology into the teachers’ classrooms in order to meet standards and improve student learning. Because of the way that GenYES builds these learning partnerships, it supports such education reform initiatives as real-world relevancy, 21st century skills, problem solving, lifelong learning, technology integration, and collaboration/teamwork for both teachers and students. These initiatives are woven into the fabric of all of the national and state standards for students and for teacher professional development. GenYES also addresses the following:
- The need for new methods of teaching and learning to empower students. There is a need for a learning environment where students see the relevance of their education and develop self-esteem resulting from successful contributions to their world.
- The need to address the overburdening of educators and the complexity of today’s many technologies. GenYES student technology leaders can make a huge impact on helping teachers in today’s schools.
- The need for a learning paradigm that allows students and teachers to work collaboratively to address problems and increase academic skills and intellectual performance. We need to expand the ideas of what students can do to help reform schools. Students are an important resource for teachers. The capabilities of children are often underestimated.
- The need to provide equitable access to technology resources. Many schools and homes do not provide sufficient access to computers and networks. Rural and large city schools are especially ill equipped to prepare their students for their futures in an increasingly technological world.
- The need to improve student reading and writing skills within the context of content area instruction. By integrating problem solving, research, and presentation skills using technology, students improve these essential communication skills seamlessly.
Generation YES is about trusting in the power of youth to meaningfully contribute to their experiences in education. Please visit genyes.org for more information about the GenYES program including research, whitepapers, implementation models, and news. To inquire about bringing GenYES to your eMINTS school, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.