The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning

The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning


Edited by: Kylie Peppler


The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning documents what the best research has revealed about out-of-school learning: what facilitates or hampers it; where it takes place most effectively; how we can encourage it to develop talents and strengthen communities; and why it matters. Key features include: Approximately 260 articles organized A-to-Z in 2 volumes available in a choice of electronic or print formats. signed articles, specially commissioned for this work and authored by key figures in the field, conclude with Cross References and Further Readings to guide students to the next step in a research journey. Reader’s Guide groups related articles within broad, thematic areas to make it easy for readers to spot additional relevant articles at a glance. detailed Index, the Reader’s Guide, and Cross ...

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  • Reader's Guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject Index
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
    • Access and Equity
    • Civic Engagement
    • Creative Learning and the Arts
    • Developmental Issues
    • Homes and Families
    • Learning, Assessment, and Evaluation
    • Media and Cultural Studies
    • New Literacies
    • Online and Distance Learning
    • Play, Games, and Virtual Worlds
    • Populations
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
    • Settings
    • Technology and New Media
    • Theories, Models, and Methodologies
    • Web 2.0 and Social Media
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      Editorial Board


      Kylie Peppler Indiana University Bloomington

      Editorial Board

      Nancy L. Deutsch University of Virginia

      Victor R. Lee Utah State University

      Vera S. Michalchik Stanford University

      Kimberly M. Sheridan George Mason University

      Robert H. Tai University of Virginia

      Karen E. Wohlwend Indiana University Bloomington

      List of Entries

      Reader’s Guide

      About the Editor

      An artist by training, Dr. Kylie Peppler is an associate professor of learning sciences at Indiana University Bloomington and engages in research that focuses on the intersection of arts, computational technologies, and learning. In addition to serving as the director of the Creativity Labs, Dr. Peppler is the lead of the MacArthur Foundation’s Make-to-Learn initiative, an advisor to the Connected Learning Research Network, and a member of the 2015 National Educational Technology Plan Committee sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Peppler is the recipient of several awards, including 2016 Mira Tech Educator of the Year and a National Science Foundation Early CAREER award, as well as grants from the Spencer Foundation, Google, the National Science Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Moore Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. Through this support, she has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications, including the authoring or editing of more than 11 books. Her current scholarly interests include theorizing about how changing the tools and materials in today’s learning environments can help broaden participation in STEM, particularly among women and minority populations, as well as improve overall learning outcomes.


      Dor Abrahamson University of California, Berkeley

      Itzel Aceves-Azuara University of California, Santa Cruz

      Thomas Akiva University of Pittsburgh

      Jamie N. Albright University of Virginia

      H. Samy Alim Stanford University

      Meryl Alper Northeastern University

      Donna E. Alvermann The University of Georgia

      Emilia Askari Michigan State University

      Joseph Avera University of Texas at San Antonio

      Flávio S. Azevedo University of Texas at Austin

      Parissa J. Ballard University of California, Berkeley

      Megan Bang University of Washington

      Alain Barker Indiana University Bloomington

      Lisa M. Barker Towson University

      Meghan E. Barnes The University of Georgia

      Sabrica Barnett Girl Scouts of the USA

      Sarah Baughman Boise State University

      Richard Beach University of Minnesota

      Corliss Bean University of Ottawa

      Catherine Beavis Deakin University

      Ronald A. Beghetto University of Connecticut

      James Bell Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education

      James A. Bellanca Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Schools and Partnership for 21st Century Learning

      Sophia Bender Indiana University Bloomington

      Matthew Berland University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Bronwyn Bevan University of Washington

      Magdalena Bielenia-Grajewska University of Gdansk, Poland

      Allison L. Bishop Swarthmore College

      Michael Bitz Ramapo College of New Jersey

      Rebecca Black University of California, Irvine

      Mollie V. Blackburn The Ohio State University

      Dale Blyth University of Minnesota

      Curtis J. Bonk Indiana University Bloomington

      Lisa Brahms Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

      Karen Brennan Harvard University

      Jay Z. Breslow Community Creativity Collective

      Jennifer O. Briggs University of Pittsburgh

      Heather Britt Girls on the Run International

      Francette L. Broekman University of Amsterdam

      Liz Brooker UCL Institute of Education

      Stephen D. Brookfield University of St. Thomas

      Brian Burkhard Tufts University

      Angela Calabrese Barton Michigan State University

      Claire E. Cameron University at Buffalo

      Gerald Campano University of Pennsylvania

      Josephina Chang-Order University of Colorado Boulder

      Amy Chapman Michigan State University

      Jennifer Chiu University of Virginia

      Ming Ming Chiu Purdue University

      Samantha Close University of Southern California

      Linda Skidmore Coggin King University

      Michael Cole University of California, San Diego

      Catherine Compton-Lilly University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Tara L. Conley Teachers College, Columbia University

      Scotty D. Craig Arizona State University

      Anne Crampton University of Minnesota

      Kevin Crowley University of Pittsburgh

      Juliane D’Almas State University of Londrina

      Rosana Da Silva Rutgers University

      Michael Dando University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Joshua A. Danish Indiana University Bloomington

      Heidi J. Davis-Soylu Indianapolis Museum of Art

      Samuel B. Day Susquehanna University

      Andrew Dayton University of California, Santa Cruz

      Dante de Tablan Ben Franklin Center for Community Schools

      Elise Deitrick Tufts University

      Nancy L. Deutsch University of Virginia

      Dane Marco DiCesare University at Buffalo

      Daniela K. DiGiacomo University of Colorado Boulder

      Joe Dillon Aurora Public Schools

      Ray Droujkov Natural Math

      Maria Droujkova Natural Math

      David L. DuBois University of Illinois at Chicago

      Sean Duncan Indiana University Bloomington

      Lexi Earl The University of Nottingham

      Suzanne J. Ebbers LuminEssence Change by Design

      Christian Ehret McGill University

      Noel Enyedy University of California, Los Angeles

      John H. Falk Institute for Learning Innovation and Oregon State University

      Rachel Fendler Florida State University

      Jennifer Fenwick Science Friday Initiative

      Deborah A. Fields Utah State University

      Dorothy E. Finnegan The College of William & Mary

      Andrea Forte Drexel University

      Jennifer Ann Fredricks Connecticut College

      Kerry Freedman Northern Illinois University

      Ettya Fremont Tufts University

      Daniel Friend University of Illinois at Chicago

      Jeremiah Frink Monroe #1 BOCES

      Valerie A. Futch Ehrlich Center for Creative Leadership

      Antero Garcia Colorado State University

      Jacqueline Genovesi Drexel University

      Seth Giddings University of Southampton

      Julia Gillen Lancaster University

      Margaret Glass Association of Science-Technology Centers

      Krista Glazewski Indiana University Bloomington

      Shelley Goldman Stanford University

      Susan R. Goldman University of Illinois at Chicago

      Robert L. Goldstone Indiana University Bloomington

      Roberta Michnick Golinkoff University of Delaware

      Leslie Goodyear Education Development Center

      Lucy Green UCL Institute of Education

      Christine Greenhow Michigan State University

      Eve Gregory Goldsmiths, University of London

      Gena R. Greher University of Massachusetts Lowell

      Melissa Sommerfeld Gresalfi Vanderbilt University

      Kris Gutiérrez University of California, Berkeley

      Mark Guzdial Georgia Institute of Technology

      Barbara Jean Guzzetti Arizona State University

      Carol M. Haden Magnolia Consulting, LLC

      Kai Hakkarainen University of Helsinki

      Allison Hall University of Illinois at Chicago

      Georgia Hall Wellesley College

      Ted Hall Indiana University Bloomington

      Erica Rosenfeld Halverson University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Mary Agnes Hamilton University of California, San Diego

      Stephen F. Hamilton Cornell University and University of California, San Diego

      Michael Harris University of Colorado Boulder

      Debra Harwood Brock University

      Brenna Hassinger-Das Temple University

      Kenneth E. Hay Virtual Learning Sciences & Technologies Consulting

      Angela K. Henneberger University of Maryland

      Daniel T. Hickey Indiana University Bloomington

      Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Temple University

      Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver Indiana University Bloomington

      Ellen S. Hoffman University of Hawai’i at Mˉanoa

      Ty Hollett The Pennsylvania State University

      Lyla Houglum Oregon State University

      Noelle M. Hurd University of Virginia

      Nicholas Husbye University of Missouri, St. Louis

      Karen Hutzel Ohio State University

      Dirk Ifenthaler University of Mannheim

      Ann M. Ishimaru University of Washington

      Erik Jacobson Montclair State University

      Carrie James Harvard Graduate School of Education

      Henry Jenkins University of Southern California

      Heisawn Jeong Hallym University

      Catherine Jhee The Joan Ganz Cooney Center

      David Johnson University of Texas at San Antonio

      Jeffrey N. Jones Western Michigan University

      W. Kyle Jones Kennesaw State University

      Tanya Joosten University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

      Sean Justice Teachers College, Columbia University

      Yasmin B. Kafai University of Pennsylvania

      Stella S. Kanchewa University of Massachusetts Boston

      Fares J. Karam University of Virginia

      Michael Karcher University of Texas at San Antonio

      Jen Katz-Buonincontro Drexel University

      Stacy Kehoe University of Pittsburgh

      Ari Y. Kelman Stanford University

      Maureen E. Kendrick University of British Columbia

      Ruth Kermish-Allen Maine Math and Science Alliance

      Anna Keune Indiana University Bloomington

      Amanda K. Kibler University of Virginia

      Jenny Kidd Cardiff University

      Lindsay E. Kipp Texas State University

      Ben Kirshner University of Colorado Boulder

      Eric Klopfer Massachusetts Institute of Technology

      Michele Knobel Montclair State University

      Inge Kral The Australian National University

      Anita Krishnamurthi Afterschool Alliance

      Gabriel P. Kuperminc Georgia State University

      Jayne C. Lammers University of Rochester

      H. Chad Lane University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Patricia G. Lange California College of the Arts

      Colin Lankshear James Cook University, Australia

      Joanne Larson University of Rochester

      Irene A. Lee Massachusetts Institute of Technology

      June Lee Sesame Workshop

      Victor R. Lee Utah State University

      Jacqueline V. Lerner Boston College

      Mellinee K. Lesley Texas Tech University

      Michael H. Levine The Joan Ganz Cooney Center

      Cynthia Lewis University of Minnesota

      Belle Liang Boston College

      Alex R. Lin Vanguard University

      Marcia C. Linn University of California, Berkeley

      Breanne K. Litts Utah State University

      Andres Lombana-Bermudez Berkman Center for Internet and Society

      Henry Lowood Stanford University

      April Luehmann University of Rochester

      Joseph L. Mahoney Elizabethtown College

      Joanna Maravilla-Cano University of Illinois at Chicago

      Holly Marich Michigan State University

      Ananda Marin Northwestern University

      Lesley Markham Association of Science-Technology Centers

      Ellen S. Markowitz University of Virginia

      Elizabeth Marshall Simon Fraser University

      Caitlin K. Martin Digital Youth Network

      Crystle Martin University of California, Irvine

      Fred Martin University of Massachusetts Lowell

      Jolie C. Matthews Northwestern University

      Carmen L Medina Indiana University Bloomington

      Elizabeth Mendoza University of Colorado Boulder

      Guy Merchant Sheffield Hallam University

      Eileen Merritt University of Virginia

      Vera S. Michalchik Stanford University

      Ellen Middaugh San José State University

      Brant G. Miller University of Idaho

      Amon Millner Olin College of Engineering

      Claire E. Mitchell University of Virginia

      Kamla Modi Girl Scouts of the USA

      Patricia Montano Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education

      Stacy L. Morris Boston College

      Fred Mulder Open University of the Netherlands

      Selena Nemorin Monash University

      Sue Nichols University of South Australia

      Gil Noam Harvard University

      W. Ian O’Byrne College of Charleston

      Christina Paguyo University of Denver

      Kate Pahl University of Sheffield

      Nazareth Pantaloni Indiana University Bloomington

      William R. Penuel University of Colorado Boulder

      Kylie Peppler Indiana University Bloomington

      Mia Perry University of Glasgow

      Mike Petrich Exploratorium

      Nathan C. Phillips University of Illinois at Chicago

      Nichole Pinkard DePaul University

      Jessica Taylor Piotrowski Amsterdam School of Communication Research

      Timothy E. Podkul SRI International

      Merredith Portsmore Tufts University

      John Potter University College London Institute of Education

      Christopher A. Rates University at Buffalo

      Aria Razfar University of Illinois at Chicago

      Mimi Recker Utah State University

      Andi M. Rehak Indiana University Bloomington

      K. Ann Renninger Swarthmore College

      Mitchel Resnick MIT Media Lab

      Jean E. Rhodes University of Massachusetts Boston

      Allison Riley Girls on the Run International

      Ryan M. Rish University at Buffalo

      Mariela J. Rivas University of California, Irvine

      Jessica Roberts University of Illinois at Chicago

      Kristine Rodriguez Kerr New York University School of Professional Studies

      Barbara Rogoff University of California, Santa Cruz

      Margarida Romero Université Laval

      Enid M. Rosario-Ramos University of Michigan

      Jeremy Roschelle SRI International

      Wolff-Michael Roth University of Victoria

      Jennifer Rowsell Brock University

      Natalie Rusk MIT Media Lab

      Jennifer Lin Russell University of Pittsburgh

      Raúl Sánchez-García Universidad Europea de Madrid

      Mavis G. Sanders University of Maryland, Baltimore County

      Rafi Santo Indiana University Bloomington

      Marlene Scardamalia University of Toronto

      Cassandra Scharber University of Minnesota

      Bertrand Schneider Harvard Graduate School of Education

      Judy Schoenberg Girl Scouts of the USA

      Sarah E. O. Schwartz Suffolk University

      Kristin A. Searle Utah State University

      David A. Sears Purdue University

      Julian Sefton-Green London School of Economics and Political Science

      Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen University of Helsinki

      Ashley Shafer University of Pittsburgh

      Brett E. Shelton Boise State University

      Kortney Sherbine Framingham State University

      Kimberly M. Sheridan George Mason University

      Bruce Sherin Northwestern University

      David J. Shernoff Rutgers University

      Patrick Shields Learning Policy Institute

      Rob Simon Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

      Sandra D. Simpkins University of California, Irvine

      Anna Smith Illinois State University

      Brian K. Smith Drexel University

      Gareth Dylan Smith Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

      Jeffrey K. Smith University of Otago

      Lisa F. Smith University of Otago

      Peter K Smith Goldsmiths, University of London

      Cary I. Sneider Portland State University

      Danielle C. Stacey Tufts University

      Constance Steinkuehler University of Wisconsin–Madison

      Becky Herr Stephenson Loyola Marymount University

      Amy Stornaiuolo University of Pennsylvania

      Rolf Straubhaar University of Georgia

      Brian Street King’s College London

      Shaobing Su Tufts University

      Sara Suzuki Boston College

      Robert H. Tai University of Virginia

      Edna Tan University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      Joseph S. Tan University of Virginia

      Tamara Tate University of California, Irvine

      Katie Headrick Taylor University of Washington

      Sandra Elizabeth Telles University of California, San Diego

      Jaye Johnson Thiel University of Georgia

      Naomi A. Thompson Indiana University Bloomington

      Pat Thomson The University of Nottingham

      Ross J. Toedte University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

      Sandra Annette Toro Institute of Museum and Library Services

      Bailey Triggs Harvard University

      Kallen Tsikalas Girl Scouts of the USA

      Linda “Jo” Turner University of Missouri Center for 4-H Youth Development (Retired)

      Jessica F. Umphress Northwestern University

      Katie Van Horne University of Colorado Boulder

      Olga A. Vásquez University of California, San Diego

      Lalitha Vasudevan Teachers College, Columbia University

      Andrea Vaughan University of Illinois at Chicago

      Andrea Vest Ettekal Tufts University

      Tammie Visintainer TERC

      Shirin Vossoughi Northwestern University

      Kate Walker University of Minnesota

      Elizabeth Walsh San Jose State University

      Shannon B. Wanless University of Pittsburgh

      Mark Warschauer University of California, Irvine

      Jennifer L. Weible University of Central Michigan

      Lois A. Weinberg California State University, Los Angeles

      Maureen R. Weiss University of Minnesota

      Barbara West Culture Works

      Tobin F. White University of California, Davis

      Justin N. Whiting Indiana University Bloomington

      Stephanie B. Wilkerson Magnolia Consulting, LLC

      Karen Wilkinson Exploratorium

      Karen E. Wohlwend Indiana University Bloomington

      Casey Philip Wong Stanford University

      Rebecca Woodard University of Illinois at Chicago

      Vanessa L. Wyss Ferris State University

      Jason C. Yip University of Washington

      Mia Zamora Kean University

      Sarah Machel Zeller-Berkman CUNY Graduate Center

      Yuliya Zholu University of Texas at San Antonio

      Heather Toomey Zimmerman Penn State University

      Jennifer M. Zosh Penn State University Brandywine


      The Field

      There is a real educational crisis facing us today. For every year children spend in school learning, engagement declines, dropping from 80% in elementary school to 40% in high school. By the time youth reach 12th grade, more than 1 in 4 students are actively disengaged with learning (Gallup Student Poll, 2014) and 1 in 5 will drop out before they graduate (Layton, 2014). In a globally connected knowledge society, the fallout from this disconnect is enormous and lands most heavily on youth from non-dominant groups. For example, according to a recent report, only 9% of children born in the bottom income quartile go on to complete a bachelor’s degree (Childress and Amrofell, 2016).

      And yet we live in a time where learning resources abound. There is an entire universe of learning opportunities at the ready in our out-of-school settings: online and at libraries, community centers, museums, Scouting, music and arts lessons, parks, science centers, home activities, and local businesses, among a myriad of other settings. Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that what happens in out-of-school settings significantly impacts youth outcomes (e.g., Broh, 2002; Kosteas, 2010; Lleras, 2008; McNeal, 1995; Troutman and Dufur, 2007).

      The research listed here and similar research demonstrates it is necessary to redefine what we have traditionally considered to be learning—both where and when it takes place—and to follow up with new technological innovations that enable communities and school districts to work together to extend and reinforce learning beyond the school day by creating more high-quality after-school and summer opportunities, mobilizing and effectively coordinating enrichment resources (e.g., libraries, cultural institutions, parks), and using data to monitor program quality and determine what parents and children really want in out-of-school time (OST) learning programs.

      This encyclopedia documents what the best research has revealed about what is distinctive about out-of-school learning: what facilitates or hampers it; where it takes place most effectively; how we can encourage it to develop talents and strengthen communities; and why it matters.


      Though there has been an extraordinary growth of interest in the field of out-of-school learning (both from an academic and institutional point of view), it can still be considered an emergent and wide-ranging field. To date, no single comprehensive reference source captures the diversity and sophistication of the emergent field. In addition, with the increasing interest in the field of out-of-school learning, there is a growing need for a resource appropriate for experts but accessible to novices as well. The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning was designed to fill this void.


      The encyclopedia includes entries related to out-of-school learning that are organized in the Reader’s Guide into the following overarching categories:

      • Access and equity
      • Civic engagement
      • Creative learning and the arts
      • Developmental issues
      • Home and families
      • Learning, assessment, and evaluation
      • Media and cultural studies
      • New literacies
      • Online and distance learning
      • Play, games, and virtual worlds
      • Populations
      • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
      • Settings
      • Technology and new media
      • Theories, models, and methodologies
      • Web 2.0 and social media

      Within the field of out-of-school learning, there is a growing focus on access and equity as it pertains to providing socially supportive and academically rich out-of-school time opportunities for all youth. Realizing this aim involves not only seeking to provide access to programs for youth, especially those from marginalized or historically underserved populations, but also investigating the cultural, socioeconomic, and political forces that differentially shape the lives of today’s youth. Entries in this category include those on access and equity in out-of-school learning, apps and the app gap, the digital divide, and dropout reengagement and social exclusion, among others.

      The entries within the broader category on civic engagement, such as those on community service and on youth and political participation, alert us to the ways in which young people are becoming more civically engaged, often through the use of new digital and social media, and how our educational offerings and research methodologies are shifting as a result.

      The entries on creative learning and arts, which fuel the out-of-school interests and hobbies of millions of youth, span a range of topics on everyday creativity as well as traditional, new media, and other art forms important to the 21st century, including cosplay, crafting, game design, hip-hop, and martial arts.

      The category of developmental issues includes entries covering a range of topics affecting learning across one’s lifetime, including key theoretical pieces on ecological systems theory, identity theory, social-emotional development, and positive youth development, among others. Topics important to early childhood, including natural mentoring and cross-age peer-mentoring, as well as topics impacting later development, such as workplace learning, are covered.

      Similarly, the entries relating to homes and families focus on the tremendous role that home environments have on one’s learning, including the role of adults, access to technology in the home, and child care. Entries on educational camps, everyday expertise, family learning, gardening, intergenerational learning, online safety, parent-child interaction, and religious education in out-of-school settings fall within this category.

      The entries on learning, assessment, and evaluation cover a range of topics important to the study and assessment of learning in the out-of-school hours, some of the most enigmatic aspects of recognizing the learning that takes place outside the classroom. Topics include after-school standards, badges, embodiment and mathematics learning, learning sciences, learning through observation, and statistical discourse analysis and out-of-school learning.

      The category of media and cultural studies includes entries that address the central role that popular culture and media play in shaping the worldviews and perspectives of youth. Entries cover research on iconic media and key cultural studies topics important to the field of out-of-school learning, including research on Barbie, copyright, cosmopolitanism, DIY culture, radio, self-publishing, Sesame Street, and YouTube.

      As the 21st century expands our notions of literacy—including the new literacies that are required for successfully navigating today’s schools, workplaces, and civic life—we stand to benefit by moving beyond standard conceptions of literacy as being able to read and write typical types of print literacy to one that understands literacy as a set of social practices embedded in the larger cultural context. This paradigm shift is captured among the various entries on new literacies, including those on artifactual literacies, critical literacies, digital literacies, family literacy, information literacy, media literacies, multiliteracies, multimodality, space and spatialized literacies, third space and sociocritical literacy, transliteracies, and visual literacy.

      Entries on online and distance learning topics cover a range of technologies and innovations that are central to the way technology shapes our learning and collaboration today, including avatars, blogs and blogging, Knowledge Forum, flipped learning, massive open online courses, mobile learning, open education, and wikis and Wikipedia. A closer examination of the technologies that enable these breakthroughs is provided in the entries in the technology and new media ­category, which introduce new technologies and ways of thinking about technology that shift our understanding of the possibilities for learning in the ­out-of-school hours. These entries include ones taking a closer look at computational thinking, adults learning coding out of school, Fab Lab, hackerspaces, interactive sensing technologies, mobile devices, one-to-one device initiatives, robotics, Scratch, and tangibles and tangible learning.

      The entries on play, games, and virtual worlds highlight the abundance of emerging interest in these areas among parents, scholars, and educators. These entries include those on notable games in the industry, such as Minecraft, The Sims, and World of Warcraft, as well as general classes of games (e.g., serious games and video games), new technologies used to create games (e.g., virtual reality), and other topics (e.g., toys).

      The entries within the populations category cover a range of topics specific to out-of-school learning, especially considerations pertaining to non-dominant groups. These entries focus on topics including dropout reengagement, English as a second language, Indigenous heritage communities of North America, juvenile justice and school discipline, Latinos and organized activities, mentoring and tutoring for youth with special needs, migrants and out-of-school learning, rural settings, and urban settings, among others.

      Much of the research on out-of-school learning has been advanced in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, spanning an array of contexts including museums, after-school centers, and homes. STEM entry topics include Association of Science-Technology Centers, citizen science, computer programming, lifelong and lifewide science learning, math and social media, math circles, science-technology centers and science museums, and STEM learning.

      Out-of-school learning happens in a variety of settings. The entries on settings cover a full range of place and space-based settings that have an emergent body of research around them, including art museums, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, child care learning, children’s museums, children’s hospitals, The Computer Clubhouse Network, Digital Youth Network, Fab Labs, 4-H Youth Development Programs, La Clase Mágica, libraries and library services, makerspaces, remote indigenous communities, residential education in higher education, science fairs, YMCA, and YOUmedia. These entries provide readers with an understanding of these unique contexts for learning as well as methodological and theoretical frameworks for studying them.

      Undergirding the field of out-of-school learning is a set of theories, models, and methodologies important to theorizing and studying the field. A closer look at these foundational topics is offered in an array of entries spanning active learning, Black feminist theory, connected learning, constructionist learning, constructivist learning, critical race theory, cultural–historical activity theory, feminist theory, inquiry-based learning, interest and interest-driven learning, learning analytics, learning sciences, mediated discourse analysis, motivation in out-of-school learning, participatory action research, queer theory, relational developmental systems metatheory, transfer of knowledge, and 21st-century skills, among other areas.

      The final set of entries, on the Web 2.0 and social media, cover a broad array of technologies important in the shifts seen in the 21st century, including entries on chatrooms, networks, and social media and social networks.


      The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning is a reference tool for readers who may be interested in learning more about a particular topic in out-of-school learning or are seeking recommendations for future research. Readers can search the encyclopedia for specific topics or browse the Reader’s Guide to find potential topics of interest.

      Each entry is authored by one or more key leaders in the emergent field of out-of-school learning and includes a short overview of the entry at the start. The overview includes definitions of the key terms used in the entry and relates the entry to the larger topic of out-of-school learning. At the end of each entry, there are cross-references to other entries that likely provide additional information on the topic, as well as further readings, which provide references to additional scholarly sources on the topic recommended by the entry’s author.

      In addition to more than 260 entries on a variety of topics important to out-of-school learning, there are two appendixes. The first, the Resource Guide, is a comprehensive list of resources important to out-of-school learning, including (a) agencies, organizations, and programs; (b) recommended books, journals, journal articles, and reports; and (c) educator tools and materials. The purpose of each resource is described, as well as the types of materials and/or services that it offers. The reader is encouraged to directly contact a respective resource or visit its website to obtain further relevant information.

      The second appendix is a high-level Chronology of important events in the advent of out-of-school learning. These events span the Reader’s Guide categories and chart the emergence of the broader democratic interest in educating youth and the general public beyond the school day, with the involvement of libraries and museums, the arts, as well as key out-of-school time organizations. In particular, the Chronology charts the advent of particular genres of technology and their subsequent impact on expanding time for lifelong and lifewide learning.


      The first step in the creation of The SAGE Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning was the identification of six editorial board members. They were selected for their unique expertise spanning the array of topics captured in this encyclopedia. Based on their areas of expertise, each of the advisory board members recommended entry titles. The board met monthly at the start of the project to discuss ideas and suggestions. This was challenging primarily because out-of-school learning is both a relatively new area of study and because it spans many disparate domains, including literacy studies, learning sciences, STEM fields, sociology, psychology, women’s studies, digital media and learning, queer studies, African-American Studies, media studies, film, music, fine arts, information studies, computer science, informatics, and many other fields. After iterative discussion, entries were included because of a general consensus that they painted the clearest picture of the breadth of the field, as well as its many points of intersection.

      Once the initial list of possible entries was in draft form, it was revised to produce the set of categories reflected in the Reader’s Guide. The editorial board ultimately wanted topics that were sufficiently broad to cover key areas important to the study of out-of-school learning but that also reflected the larger disciplinary domains mentioned earlier. In particular, we wanted to cover the major theories and methodologies used among academics and educators in the out-of-school space in addition to those where perhaps there has been less abundant research but where entries could inspire future academics to use these theories and methodologies in their work. In addition, the editorial board strove to cover some of the core issues around access, equity, and civic engagement, which have built the larger foundation for the importance of the field of out-of-school learning (i.e., to recognize and value learning beyond the boundaries of schooling).

      As the reader will see, many of the Reader’s Guide topics also relate to an area of out-of-school learning related to technologies, given the important role that new technologies play in advancing our understanding of learning in the 21st century. Beyond this, there were several disciplines that had a substantial body of work that advanced our understanding of out-of-school learning, including the arts, STEM, media and cultural studies, and literacy studies. Each of these types of entries was grouped into disciplinary-related Reader’s Guide categories. In a final review, the editorial board wanted to pay particular attention to the key settings where out-of-school learning was taking place (with special attention to homes), its impact on particular populations, and how out-of-school learning impacts lifelong learning (captured in the Reader’s Guide category developmental issues).

      Following the selection of entries and Reader’s Guide groupings, the editorial board embarked on nominating potential authors for the suggested entries. Authors were nominated based on their existing outstanding scholarship. At times authors invited coauthors (and often student coauthors) to participate in the project. Given the relative infancy of the field, all authors were encouraged to outline potential future directions for research. Where possible, authors compare the findings of U.S.-based studies with those of non-U.S.-based studies, highlighting key differences and core conceptual issues. Note, though, that the volume has an explicit focus on U.S. out-of-school learning and does not provide a global perspective on these issues in most entries.

      Following the entry submissions, the two appendixes and the front matter were developed by the editor in conversation with editorial board members and additional help from staff and students. The Resource Guide and front matter were developed to build on the entries, acting to both summarize and complement encyclopedia entries. As such, the reader will find a summary of the most well-cited books, for example, and key institutions in the field of out-of-school learning not found within any of the entries. The Chronology takes a similar approach—inclusive of many of the key events found among the entries but also other historical moments that gave rise to innovations in out-of-school learning.


      I would like to thank the editorial board members, Nancy Deutsch, Victor Lee, Vera Michalchik, Kimberly Sheridan, Robert Tai, and Karen Wohlwend, for identifying topics and authors as well as for reviewing entries. Many thanks to each of these members for their outstanding editorial reviews that strengthened the entries and shaped the project from start to finish. Special thanks to Mimi Ito, Julian Sefton-Green, Phil Bell, Shirley Brice Heath, William Penuel, and other members of the Connected Learning Research Network for their additional insights and recommendations along the way.

      Additional thanks go out to the trailblazing scholars and academics for authoring the entries found in these volumes. Many of these authors coauthored entries with advanced doctoral students, providing the students with an opportunity to further their research and publishing experience in this emergent field.

      At SAGE Publishing, I would like to thank Jim Brace-Thompson, former executive editor at SAGE Reference, for the initial ideas and invitation that inspired this project and for recognizing early on the value of this emerging field of out-of-school learning. I am also incredibly thankful for Shirin Parsavand, developmental editor at SAGE Reference, for her help and guidance at every step along the way. In addition, I’m incredibly grateful for Leticia Gutierrez’s work as SAGE Reference manager, helping to keep this project and the multiple authors informed and moving ahead at all stages.

      I would also like to thank my family, staff, students, and colleagues for help and inspiration throughout this process. In particular, I would like to thank Ms. Janis Watson for all her help keeping the project on track every step of the way and my students, including Sophia Bender, Anna Keune, Anthony Phonethibsavads, Naomi Thompson, Mishael Sedas, Kate Samson, Rafi Santo, and Suraj Uttamchandani, for assisting on a variety of things but most notably with the appendixes.

      Broh, B. A. (2002, January). Linking extracurricular programming to academic achievement: Who benefits and why? Sociology of Education, 75, 6996.
      Childress, S., & Amrofell, M. (2016). Reimagining learning: A big bet on the future of American education. NewSchools Venture Fund. Retrieved from
      Gallup Student Poll. (2014). Fall 2014 U.S. overall Gallup student poll results. Retrieved from
      Kosteas, V. D. (2010). High school clubs participation and earnings. Available at SSRN 1542360.
      Layton, L. (2014). National high school graduation rates at historic high, but disparities still exist. Retrieved from–11e3–937f-d3026234b51c_story.html?utm_term=.5032c4da8ff7
      Lleras, C. (2008). Do skills and behaviors in high school matter? The contribution of noncognitive factors in explaining differences in educational attainment and earnings. Social Science Research, 37(3), 888902.
      McNeal, R. B., Jr. (1995). Extracurricular activities and high school dropouts. Sociology of Education, 6280.
      Troutman, K. P., & Dufur, M. J. (2007). From high school jocks to college grads: Assessing the long-term effects of high school sport participation on females’ educational attainment. Youth & Society, 38(4), 443462.
    • Appendix A: Resource Guide

      The resources listed in this section have been divided into the following three categories relevant to out-of-school learning:

      • Agencies, organizations, and programs
      • Academic resources
      • Educator tools and materials

      The purpose of each resource is described, as well as the types of materials and/or services that it offers. The reader is encouraged to directly contact a respective resource or visit its website to obtain further relevant information. These lists are in no way meant to be comprehensive but are high-quality examples of the numerous agencies, resources, funders, and materials.

      Agencies, Organizations, and Programs

      AERA Informal Learning Environments Research (Special Interest Group #49):

      Informal Learning Environments Research is a special interest group of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Its goal is to advance educational research in informal learning environments and to promote a more comprehensive understanding of teaching and learning.

      AERA Out-of-School-Time (Special Interest Group #160):

      Another AERA special interest group, the mission of the out-of-school-time group is to maintain a forum for researchers of out-of-school learning environments to share resources and support each other. The group aims to provide opportunities for researchers to present related studies and to advance the collective knowledge of AERA.

      After School Matters:

      After School Matters offers programs that provide teenagers with hands-on experiences while working alongside skilled adults in order to cultivate professional skills. A variety of programs are offered across domains of art, technology, science, sports, and communication.

      Afterschool Alliance:

      The Afterschool Alliance works to increase public and private investment in quality after-school program initiatives in an effort to provide all youth with access to these programs. The Afterschool Alliance provides information on after-school resources and aims to support the development of programs at the national, state, and local levels.

      Association of Science-Technology Centers:

      ASTC provides professional support and programming opportunities for science centers, museums, and related institutions, increasing awareness of the contributions its members make to the field of informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning.

      Center for Innovative Research in Cyberlearning (CIRCL):

      Managed by SRI International in partnership with the Education Development Center and NORC at the University of Chicago, this center connects state-of-the-art research on digital learning in STEM to help it have a wider impact. This includes organizing in-person and online events for researchers to share findings and insights, and providing recommendations to the National Science Foundation for future cyberlearning funding.

      Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE):

      Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) Program, CAISE works to strengthen and advance the field of professional informal science education and its infrastructure by providing resources for practitioners, researchers, evaluators, and STEM-based professionals.

      Charles Stewart Mott Foundation’s Advancing Afterschool grant program:

      The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation provides grants that support afterschool and summer learning programs and networks, seeking to build partnerships and improve practice.

      Collective Shift and its LRNG program: and

      An outgrowth of the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, Collective Shift is now an independent nonprofit that designs innovative social systems in digital learning environments. The first endeavor by Collective Shift is LRNG, which teams with schools and community organizations to support connected learning through online “playlists” of activities on topics of interest to teens and young adults.

      Computer Clubhouse Network—Best Buy Teen Tech Centers:

      The Clubhouse Network is an international organization that utilizes technology to create a safe and engaging out-of-school learning environment for youth. The clubhouses and teen tech centers in the network offer resources for professional development, new technology innovations, assessments, and partnership opportunities, and provide both youth and mentors with access to an online community.

      Digital Media and Learning (DML) Research Hub: and

      The Digital Media and Learning Research Hub engages in research about enriching and democratizing the learning ecosystem by leveraging the digital and networked realm. It also hosts a blog—DML Central—that provides resources and ideas about digital media and learning.

      Digital Youth Network:

      Housed at DePaul University, this research center focuses on supporting underprivileged urban youth by implementing programs and tools for digital literacy and reporting on best practices to help youth develop analytical, creative, and technological skills. Its initiatives provide opportunities for learning through digital media production in informal settings, seeking to span institutional boundaries in young people’s lives.

      Education Development Center (EDC): and

      EDC offers resources for professional development to community organizations and school districts that aim to advance informal learning, especially through STEM education. The center helps organization leaders provide additional opportunities for students to develop professional skill sets and to practice new skills in order to prepare for the workforce.

      Expanded Learning & Afterschool Project:

      Helps schools and communities leverage the time beyond school to accelerate student achievement by sharing research across a 50-state network on expanded learning, identifying best practices in after-school and summer learning, and sharing sustainable expanded learning approaches.

      ExpandED School—formerly The After-School Corporation:

      Helps kids in low-income communities gain access to enriched educational experiences, including special initiatives spanning STEM education, literacy development, and college and career readiness.

      The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation:

      Seeking positive outcomes for the future, the Moore Foundation invests in scientific innovations, environmental conservation, improvements in patient care, and initiatives supporting the unique character of the Bay Area. Within the science division, opportunities exist for grants in informal science education, and the foundation supports the science and technology museums in the Bay Area as well.

      Harvard Family Research Project:

      HFRP is focused on helping improve learning opportunities for children, families, and communities through dialogue among policy makers, practitioners, and community leaders. The out-of-school time area of its website includes an overview of the field as well as a database of evaluations and research related to out-of-school time.

      Imagination Foundation:

      The Imagination Foundation aims to help a new generation of young innovators develop the creativity and leadership skills needed to make positive change in the world. It sponsors after-school imagination chapters of youth that engage in low-tech and high-tech creative play, and hosts the annual Global Cardboard Challenge encouraging play and exploration with repurposed cardboard.

      Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS):

      IMLS is the primary federal funding source for libraries and museums. It seeks to advance lifelong learning, innovation, and civic and cultural engagement.

      The Joan Ganz Cooney Center:

      The Joan Ganz Cooney Center is a research organization that focuses on education through new media. The center investigates education technologies, with primary interests in how children learn in both formal and informal environments.

      John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation:

      Part of the MacArthur Foundation’s commitment to “building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world” involves supporting educational initiatives, whether through the arts, community development, or digital media and learning. The foundation has moved the focus of its digital media and learning initiative to the new nonprofit Collective Shift.

      LIFE (Learning in Formal and Informal Environments) Center:

      The LIFE Center is a research group whose mission is to investigate the social foundations of learning. The center comprises researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle, Stanford University, and SRI International.

      Maker Ed:

      Maker Ed is a nonprofit organization that equips community organizations and educators with the skills and resources to create learning experiences for youth through making. Maker Ed strives to create more opportunities for all young people to cultivate interests in science, technology, and the arts.

      MENTOR/National Mentoring Resource Center: and

      Provides resources to mentoring programs, including translating research to practice and evaluating evidence-based practices in mentoring.

      Mozilla Hive Learning Networks:

      Hive Learning Networks, stewarded by the Mozilla Foundation, enable youth to learn beyond the scope of traditional classroom settings through engaged learning communities. Hive Learning Networks help educators develop the tools they need to build connected learning experiences and teach digital literacy skills.

      National AfterSchool Association (NAA):

      NAA is a resource for professionals who work in schools and community-based settings and who aim to offer a variety of extended learning opportunities for youth during out-of-school hours. NAA is dedicated to the advancement of out-of-school-time communities.

      National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment:

      This center provides training and technical assistance to agencies associated with the Child Care Development Fund so that these programs can enrich their after-school and summer offerings to school-age children in low-income families.

      National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST):

      NIOST’s goal is to provide all youth with access to high-quality opportunities. Work at the institute combines theory and practice to provide resources to overcome challenges in out-of-school learning environments.

      National Science Foundation (NSF) Division on Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings:

      This division of the NSF funds efforts to improve STEM learning both inside and outside of school through innovative approaches. It seeks to engage with all STEM disciplines and to broaden participation in STEM fields.

      Partnership for After School Education (PASE):

      PASE connects and champions the after-school programs in New York City that support youth affected by poverty. By ensuring that the caring adults in children’s lives are prepared, trained, and capable of providing high-quality services, PASE promotes positive outcomes for youth across New York City and beyond.

      Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21):

      P21 promotes the concept of 21st-century learning through partnerships among community leaders in education and government so that all learners gain the knowledge required to succeed in a rapidly changing world. P21 supports the idea that learners need a variety of experiences to develop skills for success, including developing traditional academic competencies, creativity, critical thinking, communication, technology, and life and career skills.

      The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience:

      PEAR is focused on fostering school and after-school settings in which all students can succeed. PEAR’s website includes assessment tools and resources for practitioners.

      Spencer Foundation:

      Established by Lyle M. Spencer, the Spencer Foundation aims to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved worldwide. The foundation is dedicated to research in order to improve education both in school and out of school. The foundation has supported a number of high-quality research programs, including one targeted at research practice partnerships.

      SRI International out-of-school learning research:

      SRI education researchers evaluate learning programs within science museums and community centers. This research explores the foundations of out-of-school learning activity, with special focus on out-of-school activities that engage girls in STEM projects.

      STEM Ecosystems:

      STEM Ecosystems is a nationwide network of 27 communities, each encouraging cross-sector collaborations ranging from homes, summer programs, after-school programs, science centers, libraries, and online learning spaces to engage young people in STEM disciplines connected to future opportunity.

      21st Century Community Learning Centers, U.S. Department of Education:

      Through this program, the U.S. Department of Education provides grants to support learning opportunities during non-school hours, particularly in under-resourced communities. It focuses on academic and enrichment programs.

      Wallace Foundation:

      The Wallace Foundation seeks to improve educational opportunities for underprivileged youth, particularly in the arts, and spreads insights from its investments widely so it can have a broader impact. The foundation has specific initiatives for both after-school and summer learning.

      William T. Grant Foundation:

      The William T. Grant Foundation funds research and offers a number of publications and reports that facilitate a better understanding of how children and youth ages 5 to 25 develop and thrive in the out-of-school hours. Research areas include five focal areas: reducing inequality; improving the use of research evidence; connecting research, policy, and practice; improving youth services in New York City; and other initiatives.

      Academic Resources

      Books and Journal Articles

      Anderson, M. L. (2003). Embodied cognition: A field guide. Artificial Intelligence, 149, 91130.
      Azevedo, F. S. (2011). Lines of practice: A practice-centered theory of interest relationships. Cognition and Instruction, 29(2), 147184.
      Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
      Bekerman, Z., Burbules, N. C., & Silberman-Keller, D. (2006). Learning in places: The informal education reader (Vol. 249). Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang.
      Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
      Brown, J. S., Collins, A., & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher, 18(1), 3242.
      Bruner, J. S. (1961). The act of discovery. Harvard Educational Review, 31, 2132.
      Cross, J. (2006). Informal learning: Rediscovering the natural pathways that inspire innovation and performance. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons.
      Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum.
      Halpern, R. (2002). A different kind of child development institution: The history of after-school programs for low-income children. Teachers College Record, 104(2), 178211.
      Hull, G., & Schultz, K. (Eds.). (2002). School’s out! Bridging out-of-school literacies with classroom practice. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
      Ito, M., Baumer, S., Bittanti, M., boyd, d., Cody, R., Herr-Stephenson, B., … Tripp, L. (2009). Hanging out, messing around, geeking out: Living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      Kafai, Y. B., Peppler, K., & Chapman, R. (Eds.). (2009). The computer clubhouse: Creativity and constructionism in youth communities. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.
      Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991). Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
      New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 6092.
      Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. New York, NY: Basic Books.
      Peppler, K., Halverson, E., & Kafai, Y. (Eds.). (2016). Makeology: Makerspaces as learning environments (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Routledge.
      Peppler, K., Halverson, E., & Kafai, Y. (Eds.). (2016). Makeology: Makers as learners (Vol. 2). New York, NY: Routledge.
      Peterson, T. K. (2013). Expanding minds and opportunities: Leveraging the power of afterschool and summer learning for student success. Washington, DC: Collaborative Communications Group.
      Piaget, J. (1970). Science of education and the psychology of the child. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
      Sefton-Green, J. (2013). Learning at not-school: A review of study, theory, and advocacy for education in non-formal settings. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman, Eds.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
      Ainsworth, H. L., & Eaton, S. E. (2010). Formal, non-formal and informal learning in the sciences. Onate Press.
      Banks, J. A., Au, K. H., Ball, A. F., Bell, P., Gordon, E. W., Gutierrez, K., … Zhou, M. (2007). Learning in and out of school in diverse environments: Life-long, life-wide, life-deep. Seattle, WA: UW Center for Multicultural Education & The LIFE Center.
      Bodilly, S. J., McCombs, J. S., Orr, N., Scherer, E., Constant, L., & Gershwin, D. (2010). Hours of opportunity, Vol. 1: Lessons from five cities on building systems to improve after-school, summer school, and other out-of-school-time programs. RAND Education.">
      Eaton, S. (2010). Formal, non-formal and informal learning: The case of literacy, essential skills, and language learning in Canada. Eaton International Consulting Inc.
      Ito, M., Gutierrez, K., Livingstone, S., Penuel, B., Rhodes, J., Salen, K., Schor, J., Sefton-Green, J., & Watkins, S. C. (2012). Connected learning: An agenda for research and design. Irvine, CA: Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
      Lemke, J., Lecusay, R., Cole, M., & Michalchik, V. (2015). Documenting and assessing learning in informal and media-rich environments. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
      McCombs, J. S., Orr, N., Bodilly, S. J., Naftel, S., Constant, L., Scherer, E., & Gershwin, D. (2010). Hours of opportunity, Vol. 2: The power of data to improve after-school programs citywide. RAND Education.">
      McCombs, J. S., Bodilly, S. J., Orr, N., Scherer, E., Constant, L., & Gershwin, D. (2010). Hours of opportunity, Vol. 3: Profiles of five cities improving after-school programs through a systems approach. Rand Education.
      National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). (2009). Writing outside of school. Urbana, IL: Author.
      National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
      National Research Council. (2009). Learning science in informal environments: People, places, and pursuits (P. Bell, B. Lewenstein, A. W. Shouse, & M. A. Feder, Eds.). Board on Science Education, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi:
      National Research Council. (2015). Identifying and supporting productive STEM programs in out-of-school settings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
      Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2010). Recognising nonformal and informal learning: outcomes, policies and practices. Paris, France: Author.
      Peppler, K. (2013). New opportunities for interest-driven arts learning in a digital age. New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.
      Sefton-Green, J. (2004). Literature review in informal learning with technology outside school, report 7. Bristol, England: Futurelab.
      Weiss, H. B., Little, P. M. D., Bouffard, S. M., Deschenes, S. N., & Malone, H. J. (2009). The federal role in out-of-school learning: After-school, summer learning, and family involvement as critical learning supports. Harvard Family Research Project.
      Educator Tools and Materials

      Adobe Youth Media:

      Adobe Youth Media is an online toolkit for educators aiming to catalyze and support youth media making. Educators and classroom leaders can access teaching resources related to digital storytelling, animation, and project exhibition through the site, and students can watch a curated collection of youth media projects created by peers worldwide.

      Afterschool Programs resources on

      The federal government website provides a range of resources related to after-school programs, including information on the benefits of such programs, starting and operating after-school programs, types of after-school activities, funding sources, workforce development, and health and nutrition. It also links to several related resources available through the federal government.

      The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring:

      The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring is an online resource for youth mentoring, edited by Jean Rhodes. It includes a blog, forum, and articles on research findings and evidence-based practice in youth mentoring, with the goal of improving the practice of youth mentoring.

      Code Academy:

      Code Academy is an online computer programming education initiative. Interactive tutorials encourage learners to engage with coding syntax while developing a foundational knowledge of code structure and logic. A badge system allows learners track their progress through language modules. emphasizes broadening access and participation in learning computer science, with a goal to reach populations traditionally underrepresented in computer science and to advocate for treating computer programming as a core academic subject. Its annual Hour of Code program is a popular method for introducing coding to K–12 students.

      Common Sense Education Reviews and Ratings:

      Common Sense Education provides descriptions, feedback, and reviews of educational apps that can be used inside or outside the classroom. Educators can use the filter settings on this site to browse educational technology resources that may be beneficial to incorporate into a specific lesson plan or conceptual unit.


      Coursera is a collection of almost 2,000 online courses, including massive open online courses, from higher education institutions around the world. The course catalog consists of a variety of lessons across a broad range of domains, from data science, social science, languages, and more.


      edX is a massive open online course provider and collection of online learning resources. The site is a collaborative endeavor between Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and functions as a learning community for students worldwide.


      Specializes in providing resources and information pertaining to the theory and practice of informal education, social pedagogy, lifelong learning, social action, and community learning and development. infed is a not-for-profit site provided by the YMCA George Williams College of London. is a database of research resources to support and advance informal STEM learning environments and connect initiatives across the field. The site is maintained by the Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE) and provides an updated list of NSF-funded research projects within the realm of informal STEM education.

      LIFE Center’s Lifelong and Lifewide Diagram:

      The LIFE Center’s Lifelong and Lifewide Diagram is a detailed infographic that explains the scope of learning environments being studied at the center. The diagram provides a graphical representation of research findings from empirical investigation of formal and informal learning environments.

      Maker Ed Open Portfolio Project (OPP):

      Maker Ed OPP presents recent research findings and offers details about successful practices of documented youth work. In particular, the Practical Guide to Open Portfolios helps educators initiate the creation of new portfolios.

      Maker Ed Resource Library for Making:

      Maker Ed’s Resource Library offers a collection of resources for educators and community organization leaders who are interested in the incorporation of making into spaces for learning. The Resource Library presents details of successful program models in place throughout the country and outlines introductory guidelines for those new to making.

      Maker Ed Youth Makerspace Playbook:

      The Youth Makerspace Playbook is a resource for individuals or teams involved in the design of youth spaces dedicated to making. The playbook presents a framework through which organization leaders can conceptualize the cultivation or improvement of new youth spaces for making and creative learning.

      A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs:

      A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs is a descriptive resource guide organized by six key categories: management, communication, programming, integrating K–12 and after-school programs, community building/collaboration, and evaluation. The resource guide relates directly to the 21st Century Community Learning Center after-school programs and can also be applied to before-school and summer learning programs.


      Scratch is an interactive computer programming education resource created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at MIT Media Lab. Through Scratch, learners can familiarize themselves with the syntax and semantics of coding by creating narratives, which then enable them to connect with other students in the online learning community.

      Appendix B: Chronology


      Historical Event



      First public library opens in the United States

      Ben Franklin starts the first free lending library in 1790 to offer public access to books.


      L’hôpital des Enfants Malades, the first children’s hospital, founded in Paris, France

      This first formally recognized pediatrics hospital paves the way for cities around the world to specialize in the care of children younger than 18, dedicating greater attention to the psychosocial support of children and their families.


      First art museum opens in the United States

      Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts opens the first art museum and art school in the United States.


      University of London establishes its “external programme”

      University of London gives rise to distance learning degrees, making the foundation for “correspondence courses” throughout the 1890s–1920s and, later, radio- and television-based prototypes of e-learning.


      YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) forms

      The first YMCA opens in London, England, in response to unhealthy social conditions arising in the big cities at the end of the Industrial Revolution. This worldwide organization now offers a variety of programs to men, women, and children, but with special focus on young people. Different centers may have different goals depending on the local needs of a community, with some prioritizing physical activity and others focusing on service and civic engagement.


      Children’s literature takes a creative shift

      A modern genre of children’s literature emerges mid-century, as the didacticism of a previous age begins to make way for books more attuned to the child’s imagination.


      First “boys club” forms in the United States

      Beginning in Hartford, Connecticut, after-school programs emerge as a means to keep boys off the streets, launching similar after-school programs across American cities and settlements in what many would consider the official start of non-school or out-of-school learning.


      After-school programs crop up in new settlements

      Churches, as well as organizations serving specific ethnic groups, begin offering after-school programs to protect youth from perceived physical and moral hazards.


      Founding of the first children’s museum

      Following a proposal from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum opens to the public; it is the first museum created with children in mind. Its original focus is the presentation of natural science to urban children; it has grown and evolved over the years as more is learned about child development and educational needs.


      4-H Clubs founded

      Researchers at public universities begin educating citizens through informal education programs, including teaching youth the latest in technological advances in agriculture and home economics.


      Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is created

      New York City court clerk, Ernest Coulter, counterbalances the increasing number of young boys coming through his courtroom by enlisting volunteers to mentor underprivileged youth.


      Nickelodeons bring films to the general public

      Thousands of commercially successful storefront nickelodeon movie theaters open across the United States, encouraging a worldwide boom in the production and exhibition of films.


      Boy Scouts of America launches

      The organization forms with the goal of training boys to become responsible and self-reliant citizens through community service and outdoors activities.


      Girl Scouts of America launches

      Extending the success of Boy Scouts, a girls-only version of Scouts forms to instill young girls with courage, confidence, character, and prosocial behavior through activities such as community service, camping, and entrepreneurialism.


      Radio programming becomes dominant home entertainment medium

      Families regularly tune in to their favorite evening radio programs ranging from radio plays and mystery serials to variety hours and children’s shows.


      Passage of the Nineteenth Amendment

      Women gain the right to vote in the United States after several hard-fought advances of the first-wave feminist movement, which also includes reforms in higher education, the workplace and professions, and health care.


      The studio system revolutionizes filmmaking

      The highly regimented style of filmmaking put forth by the Big Five movie studios—MGM, RKO, Warner Bros., Paramount, and 20th Century Fox—results in the tremendous expansion of the film industry, as well as being credited for producing some of the most famous films of all time.


      First interactive science museum in the United States opens

      Designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, a new museum modeled after Munich’s Deutsches Museum, features moving exhibits where visitors are encouraged to push buttons and work levers.


      Alan Turing invents the modern computer

      Turing’s “Turing Machine,” a device that printed symbols on paper tape in a manner that emulates a person following a series of logical instructions, becomes the foundation for theories about computing and computers.


      The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis, by B. F. Skinner, is published

      B. F. Skinner sets forth his theory of behaviorism, claiming that only external behavior—not internal, mental thought—can be experimentally studied and that all behavior and learning can be conditioned with stimuli. This theory would have a profound effect on psychology and education for decades to come.


      Abraham Maslow establishes motivation theory

      Psychologist Abraham Maslow, in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation,” suggests that individuals’ most basic needs must be met before they become motivated to achieve higher level needs.


      National Arts Education Association launches

      The world’s largest professional art education association forms in the United States, amplifying the voices of those who advocate for the arts’ central role in the lives of youth.


      The Origins of Intelligence in Children, by Jean Piaget, is published in English

      This is one of the first of Jean Piaget’s works to be translated into English, introducing his theories of constructivism, child development, and genetic epistemology to English-speaking audiences.


      Television programming comes into its own

      Between 1953 and 1955, television programming diverts from modified radio formats to include spectaculars, talk shows, late-night comedy shows, and youth-oriented shows such as Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club.


      National Educational Television launches

      American educational broadcast television network owned by the Ford Foundation debuts. Conceived as the “University of the Air,” the NET is eventually replaced in 1970 by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), which envisions a more entertainment-infused approach to educational programming.


      Barbie debuts

      Mattel’s premier fashion doll becomes a lightning rod for conflicting social values about femininity, materialism, and female independence.


      “A Review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior,” by Noam Chomsky, is published

      In this famous critique of Skinner’s behaviorism, linguist Noam Chomsky points out how behaviorism and reinforced learning cannot explain phenomena such as children being able to combine words into novel sentences that they’ve never heard before. This contributed to the decline of behaviorism and the rise of cognitivism in psychology and education.


      Rise of Black feminism

      In response to sexism in the Civil Rights Movement and racism in the feminist movement, Black feminists form various groups to address the role of Black women in society. Black feminist theories reach a wider audience in the 2010s as a result of social media and celebrity advocacy.


      “The Act of Discovery,” by Jerome S. Bruner, is published

      Jerome Bruner argues for discovery learning in this article, claiming that this active participation can help enhance learning by making information more intellectually potent and viable in problem solving, by making the learning intrinsically rewarding through discovery itself, by conveying heuristics for discovery, and by making material easier to remember.


      The Joan Ganz Cooney Center opens

      This independent research center is dedicated to addressing the challenges of education given a rapidly changing media landscape that redefines the ways children interact with the world.


      Dawn of home camcorders

      Sony introduces the DV-2400 Video Rover, the first portable video system, opening up video making to the masses and making it a medium that anyone can use. Home video use, guerrilla video, and video art ensues.


      DIY era begins

      American philosopher Alan Watts gives rise to the 1970s DIY movement, which eschewed consumer culture in favor of advocating that people take technologies into their own hands. Such a philosophy undergirds many subcultures moving forward, such as the alternative/punk music scene, the modern craft movement, and the advent of open source technologies.


      Star Trek fandom popularizes fan fiction

      Star Trek fans pen the first fanzines, defining the modern phenomenon of fan fiction as an expression of fandom and fan interaction.


      First music remixes appear

      The roots of musical sampling culture are planted by pioneering Jamaican dancehall producers King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry, who take studio multitrack recordings and, with some heavy editing, create their own interpretations of songs.


      Sesame Street debuts

      PBS debuts Sesame Street, the landmark educational TV program designed to give children the confidence to learn the alphabet, numbers, and social skills starting at a very young age.


      Carol Hanisch writes essay “The Personal Is Political”

      Carol Hanisch’s essay popularizes the phrase used for its title, and second-wave feminists lead initiatives to demonstrate how women’s cultural and political inequalities are inextricably linked.


      Citizen science conceived

      Citizen science (also known as “crowd-sourced science” or “networked science”) is a practice that opens scientific inquiry to the general public. This practice engages nonscientists in the process and affords opportunities that may not be available in traditional science.


      Zines expand their viewership

      The DIY ethos of the punk subculture—including access to cheap photocopiers—gives rise to the creation of zines, small-circulation publications focused on self-expression rather than profit.


      Derrick Bell founds field of critical race theory

      Bell challenges dominant liberal and conservative positions on civil rights, race, and the law, speaking out against civil rights scholars’ commitment to color blindness and their focus on intentional discrimination rather than having a broader focus on the conditions of racial inequality.


      Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire, is published

      Brazilian educator Paulo Freire publishes this key text on critical pedagogy, arguing against the traditional “banking” notion of education and for dialogic, emancipatory pedagogy instead.


      Atari releases Pong

      Pong becomes the first commercially successful arcade video game, helping to establish the video game industry along with the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey.


      Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) founded

      ASTC forms to provide professional support and increase awareness of the contributions that science centers, museums, and related institutions make to the field of informal STEM learning.


      TV anime ignites a passionate youth fan base

      TV production companies outsource to Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese studios to create original animated series for network syndication, including Transformers, Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and DuckTales. Such programs give rise to an anime fan base in the United States, paving the way for the future success of imports such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z, and Pokémon.

      Late 1970s

      Value of play recognized

      The value of play, particularly for low-income youth, in removing youth from the realities of circumstance becomes increasingly recognized by academics and educators.

      Late 1970s

      Rise of home computing

      Given the success of early models, including the Commodore PET and the Apple II, consumer electronics manufacturers rush to develop home computers, which are microcomputers marketed as affordable and, for the first time, intended for nontechnical users.


      Social Learning Theory, by Albert Bandura, is published

      This highly influential book introduces Bandura’s social learning theory (later called social cognitive theory), including his ideas on learning by modeling, self-efficacy, and self-regulation. It is considered a further cognitive critique against behaviorism.


      Wac Arts founded as the Weekend Arts College

      London nonprofit begins providing local young people from primarily underserved communities with advanced training in the performing arts and media, launching the careers of several award-winning musicians and actors.


      Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, by Lev Vygotsky, is published in English for the first time

      Lev Vygotsky’s cultural-historical view on learning is shared with English-speaking audiences for the first time, providing them with his ideas about tool use, perception, attention, language, memory, play, and implications for education.


      Rise of graffiti art

      Brooklyn graffiti artists, Fab 5 Freddy and Lee Quiñones, are given a prestigious exhibition in Rome, signaling a shift of the art world toward new, non-canonical voices and forms.


      New curfews and street laws passed by governing agencies

      Increased concern over fire-setting, begging, roaming around, and playing street games gives rise to new curfews and street laws, which in turn lead to police enforcement and punishments through the new juvenile court system.


      Urie Bronfenbrenner publishes The Ecology of Human Development

      Developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner establishes the ecological systems theory, changing the way psychologists and others approach the study of human beings and their environment.

      Early 1980s

      Rise of the home video market

      The development of a home video aftermarket clears a distribution path for younger, independent filmmakers.

      Early 1980s

      Literacy takes a social and cultural turn

      Key ethnographers, including Shirley Brice Heath, Sylvia Scribner, Michael Colo, Ron Scollon, Luis Moll, and others, note that literacy varies according to social practices of cultural context. Literacy is seen in everyday practices in homes, markets, churches, and other settings and the relative value of these practices varies according to different cultures.


      Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas, by Seymour Papert, is published

      Though it predates the coining of the term constructionism, this book introduces major tenets of Seymour Papert’s constructionist theory, including how computers can help children encounter powerful ideas that can organize their thinking, as well as the importance of active construction of knowledge through the construction of artifacts, of emotion and relationships in appropriating ideas, and of sharing in a social context.


      Reagan administration pushes for educational reform

      The National Commission on Excellence in Education publishes A Nation at Risk, articulating that educational experiences should include a greater consideration for cultural and environmental implications and diverse learning across a broad range of applications.


      Scientific literacy and informal learning conceptualized

      University of London professor Arthur M. Lucas publishes the article called “Scientific Literacy and Informal Learning” that includes what is known about learning in museums, zoos, and botanic gardens, and from the media.


      Poetry slams and spoken word emerge

      American poet Marc Smith hosts the first poetry slam at the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago, providing a forum for poets to express themes ranging from current events to racial injustices through performance.


      Term cosplay (costume play) is coined

      Community-driven performance art in which participants wear costumes to portray characters from popular media (e.g., anime, video games, comic books, movies) acquires its name. Fan conventions ensue, leading eventually to a thriving Web community of cosplay enthusiasts and professionals.


      Launch of Apple Macintosh

      The launch of the Apple Macintosh in 1984 signals a major shift in consumer stances to home computing.


      Pilot of Knowledge Forum in elementary schools

      The first networked system designed for collaborative learning is created, marking a new era of educational software for supporting communal knowledge building.


      Fifth Dimension after-school clubs launch

      Landmark network of after-school clubs and local colleges gets its start, promoting diversity and computer education using the lens of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT).


      Epic Comics releases Akira in the United States

      Epic Comics, a division of Marvel, makes a splash with Katsuhiro Otomo’s manga, Akira, paving the way for more successful titles on the U.S. market, such as Naruto and Shōnen Jump.


      Field of learning sciences launches

      An interdisciplinary field forms to advance scientific understanding of learning, engage in the design and implementation of learning innovations, and improve instructional methodologies.


      Cognitive apprenticeship model conceptualized

      Theory of cognitive apprenticeships emerges, replacing the emphasis on hands-on skills with the co-fostering of critical thinking skills (e.g., formulating questions, summarizing arguments, predicting outcomes).


      Ray Oldenburg defines “third place”

      In his influential book, The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg describes how “third places” (social alternatives to “home” and “work”) shape civil society and democracy, a view later reinforced in Robert Putnam’s book, Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital (1995).


      Advocacy for electronic portfolios

      The Arts PROPEL project advocates for portfolio use as an assessment measure alternative to the rise in standardized tests.


      Computer Clubhouse Network launches

      The first flagship clubhouse opens in Boston, launching the beginning of the Computer Clubhouse Network, a model for interest-driven, creative learning through design experiences.


      La Clase Mágica forms in southern California

      After-school program employs technology and culturally and linguistically relevant curriculum to help children overcome learning barriers.


      “Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning,” by John Seely Brown, Allan Collins, and Paul Duguid, is published

      This article presents a situated perspective on cognition, arguing that knowledge cannot be separated from the culture, context, and activity in which it is learned and used. It suggests cognitive apprenticeship as an alternative to the decontextualized form in which knowledge is often presented in schools.

      Early 1990s

      Research–practice partnerships (RPPs) begin

      These unique relationships between researchers and practitioners are long-term collaborations, organized to investigate problems of practice and to generate practical solutions, filling the need for practitioners to have a voice in education reform while allowing researchers to focus their efforts on work that is relevant and useable by practitioners.


      Emergence of third-wave feminism

      As a response to perceived failures of feminist efforts in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, this new wave, still in force today, expands discussions of feminism to include deeper understandings of race-related subjectivities.


      Early theorization on the role of interest in learning

      Theorists such as Jacquelynne Eccles, K. Ann Renninger, and Suzanne Hidi advance notions on the importance of youth interest in their learning and development.


      Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger, published

      Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger articulate their situated, sociocultural theory of learning in this book, arguing for learning existing socially, beyond the head. Learners participate in the practices of a sociocultural community, at first peripherally, but gradually moving toward fuller participation.


      Literacy takes an ideological turn

      Key scholars, including Paulo Freire, James Paul Gee, Brian Street, David Buckingham, and the New London Group, note that literacies are discursive and ideological.


      NCSA releases the first Web browser

      The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) releases Mosaic, a now-discontinued early browser credited with popularizing the World Wide Web. Many of the original Mosaic authors later went on to develop Netscape Navigator.


      The first smartphone hits the market

      The Simon, costing $899, is the first mobile phone to feature software applications, stylus, and touch screen, though the first device to be marketed as a “smartphone” won’t appear until the year 2000 with the more lightweight Ericsson R380.


      Wikis launch with the creation of the WikiWikiWeb

      Wikis are collaborative websites that allow various users to modify and edit content; by constructing a public Web page users are able to engage in negotiation and dialogue about what information they publish.


      E-learning platforms proliferate

      Extending an online education model like to the open education market, a variety of nonprofit and commercial providers begin offering e-learning platforms, such as Khan Academy, Peer-to-Peer University (P2PU), NPTEL, and FutureLearn, working outside traditional schooling systems while emphasizing individual, self-paced lessons.


      Formation of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

      A federal support arm for libraries and museums within the United States forms with the mission to “create strong libraries and museums that connect people with information and ideas.”


      Girls on the Run launches

      Nonprofit program for girls from 3rd to 8th grade helps girls recognize their own inner strength through physical activity.


      First machinima

      Diary of a Camper, a short movie created from gameplay footage of the video game Quake, is considered the first widely viewed instance of machinima, spawning a new genre for youths to combine their passions in video games, films, and pop culture.


      “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies,” by the New London Group, is published

      In this key article, the authors argue that our notion of literacy must be broadened beyond traditional notions of text to include new media, technologies, and cultural diversity.

      Late 1990s

      Mobile phone use on the rise

      Although Motorola released its first commercial mobile phone in 1983, it wasn’t until the late 1990s that smaller, more affordable mobile devices and a more expansive cellular network make mobile phone use pervasive.


      Chatrooms popularized

      These temporary forums allow users to synchronously communicate via text; chatrooms allow users from different parts of the world to communicate and exchange information or documents.


      Open Source movement begins

      Bruce Perens and Eric S. Raymond found the Open Source Initiative, a stewardship organization advocating the use of open-source licenses for some or all software.


      LEGO Mindstorms introduced

      This build-and-program robotics tool set becomes the best-selling product in the LEGO Group’s history. Its Robotics Invention System leads to the development of a global community of users and youth of all ages.


      Launch of Blogger

      Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan at Pyra Labs develop the platform later known as Blogger, the technology responsible for bringing blogging to the mainstream.


      Apple introduces Wi-Fi (AirPort) as an option for the iBook

      Wireless networking reshapes personal computing, aided by the growing popularity of high-speed broadband Internet and, later, leading to the ubiquity of Wi-Fi access in coffee shops, hotels, airports, and municipal areas.


      American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screens for children under age 2

      The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children ages 2 and under have no exposure to screens. For older kids, the AAP recommends limiting “screen time” to no more than 2 hours a day.


      Everquest, one of the first massively multiplayer online games, debuts

      Online games connecting hundreds or even thousands of video game players synchronously from various parts of the world begin dominating players’ free time.


      Harry Potter fandom spreads

      A community of fans share an interest in J. K. Rowling’s fantasy series, Harry Potter; this community engages in various activities such as writing fan fiction, cosplay, and attending midnight screenings of movies.

      Early 2000s

      Krumping is created

      This high-intensity and energetic street dance is created in Los Angeles, California.


      Literacy takes a digital and spatial turn

      Key scholars, including Henry Jenkins, James Paul Gee, Mimi Ito, and Jay Lemke, note that literacies are both digital and globally mobile. Literacies produce cultural spaces as well as texts; texts travel on global networks, connect distant participants, and cannot be contained in a local site.


      Literacy takes a multimodal and artifactual turn

      Key scholars, including Gunther Kress, Ron Scollon, and Jennifer Rowsell, observe that literacies are multimodal and materialize culture.


      Wikipedia launches

      Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia that allows anyone to write or edit articles, is founded. By the end of 2016, there are more than 5 million articles in the English Wikipedia.


      Policy makers, practitioners, and researchers propose positive youth development

      Nationwide interventions and programs focus on reducing “risks” and strengthening “protective factors” of underserved youth communities.


      Robert Halpern offers review of out-of-school learning for low-income youth

      Halpern creates a comprehensive view of how out-of-school offerings developed in the United States and how their objectives, logistics, and role in children’s lives changed across eras.


      Open education initiative starts

      Several universities, seeking to broaden access to learning, begin examining how to eliminate barriers that can preclude both opportunities and recognition for participation in institution-based learning.


      Development of 21st-century skills

      Partnership for 21st Century Learning identifies six key skills central to learner success in the digital age, in the topics of learning and innovation, digital literacy, and career and life.


      Fab Lab launches

      Fab Lab is a truncation of “fabrication laboratory,” defining a workshop that allows designers to create small-scale digital fabrications, such as laser cuts or 3D prints. This initiative from the Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology now brings digital fabrication to the masses.


      Publication of National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report Community Programs to Promote Youth Development

      This report published by the National Academies Press explores the role that after-school programs, Scout groups, community service activities, religious youth groups, and other community-based activities play in the development of today’s adolescents.


      DIY media democratizes media production

      As Web publication becomes easier, youth take to the Internet to create and share their work, including fan fiction, video-sharing, art-sharing, zines, and blogs.


      Common Sense media launches

      To provide a resource for parents who are concerned about their children’s media habits, Common Sense Media reviews books, movies, TV shows, video games, apps, music, and websites and rates them in terms of age-appropriate educational content, positive messages/role models, violence, sex, and profanity.


      Second Life virtual world debuts

      Created by Linden Lab of San Francisco, California, this online 3D program allows thousands of people from all over the world to interact synchronously through avatars. Second Life is not a game, as the interactions have no assigned goal or forced conflict; it allows users to socialize, participate in individual and group activities, build, create, shop, and trade virtual property. Youth ages 13 to 15 have only restricted access to regions of a sponsoring institution (e.g., school or out-of-school space), where special learning opportunities take place.


      Musical Futures founded

      Developed in the United Kingdom with the initial aim of devising new and imaginative ways of engaging young people ages 11 to 19 in music activities, this international network of more than 3,000 teachers and practitioners supports educators in embracing an ethos of innovative, inspirational, and informal music learning in the classroom and the community.


      New perspectives are brought to the “digital divide”

      Literacy studies scholar Mark Warschauer reshapes discussions on new technologies and social equality by drawing on political science, economics, sociology, psychology, communications, education, and linguistics to analyze the different forms of access to information and communication technologies.


      Tim O’Reilly and Dale Dougherty popularize “Web 2.0”

      The bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2001 gives rise to new approaches to the Internet that enable website visitors to create user-generated content in a virtual community, including social networking sites, social media, blogs, wikis, media sharing sites (e.g., YouTube), hosted services, Web applications (“apps”), and more.


      World of Warcraft launches

      One of the most successful massively multiplayer online role-playing games, this game gathers millions of players from across the globe to participate in various activities. This virtual world can be used as a “petri dish” to examine human interactions.


      Facebook launches

      The largest general social networking site in use today, Facebook was originally intended for college students but eventually expanded and grew into an immersive platform that connects users of all ages and stations to friends, interest groups, news sources, business promotions, games, and other online services.


      LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) opens

      Funded by the National Science Foundation, the LIFE Center is a multi-institution group of scientists whose purpose is to develop and test principles regarding the social foundations of learning.


      Launch of Etsy and Ravelry signals resurgence of craft

      After the crafting movement was thought to be dying in the mid-1990s, new crafting marketplaces appear online, representing opportunities for passionate crafters and hobbyists to validate their art and their craft.


      YouTube launches

      The popular video-sharing platform, bought by Google in 2006, creates a central forum and ubiquitous tool for private individuals and large production companies to share original content and grow audiences.


      Apple adds podcasting to iTunes

      Simplified access through the iTunes store, as well as streamlined podcast creation elsewhere in the Apple product suite, helps millions of users subscribe to, download, and create their own podcasts, vastly expanding the podcast market.


      Arduino, microcontroller-based kits for building digital devices, made widely available

      Based on the Wiring software developed by Hernando Barragán in Italy, this inexpensive microcomputer technology makes it easy for artists, designers, and makers to work with electronics by providing shortcuts around the often complicated details of electronics so they can focus on their own objectives.


      Design-based research (DBR) defined

      Researchers Feng Wang and Michael J. Hannafin identify and define this systematic but flexible methodology, which aims to improve educational practices through collaboration among researchers and practitioners in real-world settings using iterative analysis, design, development, and implementation.


      MacArthur Foundation starts a digital media and learning initiative

      This new branch of research seeks to understand how digital media changes the way young people learn, play, and participate in civic life.


      First Maker Faire

      Maker Media, Inc., holds its first Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay area. This family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness serves as a celebration of the maker movement.


      American Educational Research Association Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group (SIG) formed

      The purpose of this AERA special interest group is to provide a forum for researchers interested in out-of-school learning with the resources, possible venues, and opportunities to share information and conduct relevant research.


      Coordinated cyberbullying awareness campaigns begin

      The Advertising Council in the United States, in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, U.S. Department of Justice, and Crime Prevention Coalition of America, announces the launch of a new public service advertising campaign to counteract the rise of cyberbullying.


      First U.S. hackerspaces open

      Inspired by the first hackerspace (“c-base” in Berlin), independent programmers in the United States begin offering shared spaces for computer programmers to work and collaborate, as well as offer classes and access to tools via membership payments to pay the bills.


      Scratch visual programming language created

      Initially funded by the National Science Foundation, Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively—essential skills for life in the 21st century. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.


      The Lilypad Arduino for e-textiles launches

      This special Arduino designed for crafting e-textiles and wearables can be sewn to fabric with conductive thread, regulating the behaviors of sewable LEDs, buzzers, and other components to create articles that are either aesthetic or performance enhancing (e.g., athletic, extreme sports, and military applications).


      Hive Learning Networks launch in New York City

      Situated in urban centers, the Hive Learning Networks of libraries, museums, schools, and nonprofit startups re-imagine how learning is organized and supported across youth-serving organizations. The hives are funded through grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and in 2013 become a part of the Mozilla Foundation.


      One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program launches

      Nicholas Negroponte from the MIT Media Lab begins delivering affordable laptops to children in underdeveloped countries, introducing them to constructionist learning and bringing the world’s knowledge to children around the world.


      RISD begins STEM to STEAM initiative

      The Rhode Island School of Design begins an initiative to add art and design to the national agenda of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education and research in America.


      Dave Cormier and Bryan Alexander coin term MOOC, short for massive online open course

      The term is used in reference to Athabasca University and National Research Council’s online course, Connectivism and Connective Knowledge (also known as CCK08). In addition to 25 tuition-paying students in Extended Education at the University of Manitoba, 2,200 students are able to participate in the course tuition-free online through RSS feeds, blog posts, threaded discussions in Moodle, and Second Life meetings.


      First YOUmedia space opens

      Funded by the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, the first YOUmedia space opens in Chicago. YOUmedia spaces are located in public libraries and offer both a lab and community dedicated to using digital media to empower the voices of youth. Their research agenda is grounded in Connected Learning.


      National Research Council publishes comprehensive review of informal science learning

      Experts across a range of disciplines and settings contribute to Learning Science in Informal Environments, a report with invaluable information for exhibit designers, evaluators, community-based organizations, researchers, and K–12 science educators interested in nurturing science learning across settings and demographics.


      Opening of the Tinkering Studio

      Located inside the Exploratorium, the museum in San Francisco, California, that explores science, art, and human perception, this studio is home to artists, scientists, developers, educators, and facilitators who dabble in—and experiment with—tools, materials, and technologies, creating exhibits and hands-on activities that allow visitors of all ages to do the same.


      Apple releases the iPad

      Apple simplifies personal computing with its first wide-scale tablet release, bringing many youth their first computing experiences.


      Literacy takes an embodiment and performative turn

      Pioneering work by Allan Luke in 1992 is later taken up more widely in the field by scholars including Carmen Medina, Gail Boldt, and Karen Wohlwend to articulate that literacies are embodied and enacted through activities such as play and drama.


      IDEO brings design thinking to education-oriented audiences

      This design firm publishes the Design Thinking for Educators toolkit, which describes methods to help youth develop creative and innovative abilities by engaging them in the design process, which involves empathizing with individuals in need of a solution, promoting action, and fostering active problem solving.


      Mozilla releases Open Badge System Framework

      Open badging initiatives begin, seeking to track and reward learning that happens across various contexts and experiences.


      Minecraft launches

      The video game in which players procure resources and create items for the purpose of defending their homes against monsters has a large modding community (i.e., community where players write new programs to modify [mod] their gaming experience), so it is possible to use it as a base for creating other game modes.


      Connectivist massive open online courses (cMOOCs) launch

      cMOOCs are massive open online courses that are designed on the premise that learning happens when participants connect with a broader community and feed information into the system.


      National AfterSchool Association (NAA) standards adopted

      The NAA’s Core Knowledge and Competencies describe the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed by professionals who work with children and youth in a variety of out-of-school-time settings.


      Connected Learning report released

      Led by Mimi Ito, the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation releases Connected Learning: An Agenda for Research and Design, which advocates for broadened access to learning that is socially embedded, interest-driven, and oriented toward educational, economic, or political opportunities.


      Philip Bell proposes “life-long, life-wide, and life-deep learning”

      Learning scientist Philip Bell proposes that educators further develop, promote, and synthesize theoretical and empirical accounts of learning that highlight developmental, ecological, and cultural dimensions of the process and outcomes.


      Maker Ed founded

      The Maker Education Initiative is created to offer opportunities for young people to develop confidence, creativity, and interest in STEM, art, and learning as a whole through making.


      National Science Foundation changes its Informal Science Education program (ISE) to Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL)

      NSF updates it longstanding ISE grant program to better support advancements in the design and development of STEM learning in informal environments, provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences, and advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments.


      Hour of Code launches

      This yearly challenge was created by to invite children and youth to code using different programming languages.


      Open Portfolio Project publishes first report

      Maker Ed and the Creativity Labs distill best practices for documentation and open portfolio creation.


      Design-based implementation research (DBIR) popularized

      This approach seeks to organize research and development to address known challenges of design-based research, including funding, resources, scalability issues, and maintaining integrity across settings. DBIR seeks to relate research and practice that is collaborative, iterative, and grounded in systematic inquiry.


      American Academy of Pediatrics revises recommendations for children’s media use

      The AAP updates its policy recommendations to help families maintain a healthy media diet, lifting its 1999 “no screen time under 2” recommendation but placing an emphasis on parental modeling and parents taking a stronger role on curating media experiences.

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