Our second meeting focused on steps we might take to move forward with increasing youth access to badging systems. Considering the digital focus, access to the necessary technology seems to be a priority. We are moving forward with compiling a list of resources for program providers and youth that can help them access free wifi hotspots, computers, or explore low-cost options that exist in many communities.
The group brainstormed around some ways to leverage technology youth may already have in hand:
- Interactive text messaging
- Printing text messages to share the badge
- Reminders to access badges at a later date, when they’re needed
- Program Loans
A large portion of our meeting evolved to exploring the fourth idea – program loans. We plan on discussing this in greater detail next month, but the idea would be to loan a low-cost tablet or iPod to youth involved in a C-STEMBE program for the duration of the program. These youth would be asked to complete some tasks while they had the tablets, such as sharing out about badges to their peers.
The goals of loaning out mobile devices would be to lower the barriers for access, while increasing the capacity for youth-generated interest and awareness about digital badging. Our next steps are to seek out organizations that may already be doing similar programs to see how a loan program is working for them, with the intention of looking into funding options for a pilot.
Do you know of technology loan programs in your area or have you tried this in the past? If so, we’d love to hear from you!