On Wednesday, May 28, the launch of Dallas City of Learning was held at City Hall with the help of Mayor Mike Rawlings, Big Thought and 50 partnering organizations. The program has nothing to do with the Dallas Home-Rule fracas. Instead it is a summer program for youngsters to earn “badges” for the “mastery of a new skill.”
As “part of a nationwide movement to leverage community, corporate and city resources to create new links between in-school and out-of-school learning. It is designed to help Dallas youth deeply pursue their interests throughout the city and online, expand skills and knowledge, and ultimately help kids and teens succeed in school, college and their future careers.”
But these badges aren’t the type that you wear on your clothes or tuck away in a drawer. Nope. They are the digital type that once earned can “contain layers of in-depth information about the badge holder’s skills and competencies.”
Once earned, they can be available to share with family, friends and even potential college recruiters or employers by displaying on a variety of social media.
And just how can these 21st century badges be earned?
First, the kiddos have to sign up. Then they can access the Dallas City of Learning’s “online and in-person activities, many of them free, at locations in every area of the city,” where students have “the opportunity to learn from experts and mentors across the city. Partners include Dallas city agencies, museums, libraries, neighborhood organizations, citywide cultural centers, online programs and free Turn Up! events to make sure all young people have ample opportunity to learn from experts and mentors across the city.”
According to Mayor Mike, “Powerful learning occurs when kids explore their interests on their own time in hands-on, collaborative ways. Dallas is ensuring that all our children have the opportunity to pursue their passions outside the classroom, helping them develop essential skills like critical thinking and problem solving. No matter their interests, talents, background or resources, Dallas’ youth will have access to exciting opportunities to discover and develop creative and intellectual skills.”
The program is taking place until Monday, August 25, and is limited to youngsters ages 5 to 18, so grownups can’t sign up to score Brownie points for their resume. Sorry, big kids. But you can volunteer and/or donate to the program.
* Photo credit: Can Turkilmaz