- After noticing fewer students coming into the school library, librarian Erick Hanson, who works in Pennsylvania’s East Pennsboro School District, started EP Media, an after-school YouTube club to teach middle and high school students how to create content, according to EdSurge.
- Forty students essentially run the entire club, and Hanson sees himself more as a member than the administrator in charge.
- Beyond video-making abilities, students also gain leadership skills, such as assigning roles and deciding where and what to video.
Digital media has pushed a transformation across school libraries, with students walking through their doors less often for books than for media training and computer time. Educators are eager to bring students into the space, hence the proliferation of makerspaces, as well as after-school activities that help children build strong digital skills.
After-school activities are traditionally focused on interests that class time doesn’t typically encompass, such as gardening or even video game playing. Indirectly, however, these clubs also support the development of both academic and soft skills, including creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration abilities. While not necessarily measured by achievement tests, these so-called “Four Cs,” as defined by the National Education Association, are considered 21st century skills necessary for today’s students.
“Twenty-first century learners can expect to be part of a culture that values participation, with ample opportunities to initiate, produce and share one’s creations,” said the authors of “The Futures of Learning 2,” a report from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. “They will be expected to communicate and collaborate in a variety of contexts, engage in peer-to-peer learning and develop as global citizens.”
After-school is often a time where children can relax, as clubs are not graded and typically don’t take attendance. While students may look at the time as a way to break free from academics, administrators can still infuse relevant tools into these activities — giving students a chance to practice skills even during their downtime.