Gerry Beimler, who is Manager of Leadership Development Programs for the Chicago Public Schools Office of eLearning and one of our School Technology Leadership graduate certificate students, forwarded me this story about the digital afterschool program at North Kenwood / Oakland Charter School in Chicago. Grants from the MacArthur Foundation are facilitating incredible digital experiences for the students in this program, most of whom come from socioeconomically-disadvantaged familes.

The program operates on the assumption that digital technology can be used as a constructive force and, possibly, a necessary force to equip children with the technological literacy skills they will need to be competent in this age of iPods, cell phones, e-mail, computers and countless other gadgets. The program uses cutting-edge educational strategies to introduce middle school students to the creative uses of digital technology. It has existed for only one year, but students in the program are already creating robots, programming video games, transmitting podcasts, recording original rap music and producing digital documentaries.

Read the article – there’s some very cool stuff happening in this program. Now all we have to do is replicate what’s happening in this building after school into the regular school day and across multiple schools and districts. Gerry, thanks for sharing this inspiring tale from Chicago.