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Washington County 4-H Tech Wizards
The mission of 4-H Tech Wizards is to provide culturally responsive afterschool, small-group mentoring programs to youth, grades 4 -12. 4-H Tech Wizards capitalizes on emerging technology as a way of involving under-represented youth and their families in learning basic life and workforce skills. The program helps youth aspire to post-secondary education, productive jobs and careers, and community engagement.
4-H Tech Wizards is an afterschool, small-group mentoring program for vulnerable and marginalized youth who tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. The program uses youth interest in science and emerging technologies to help engage them in learning and to encourage them to apply their learning to their STEM academic instruction and future life paths.
Professionals specializing in emerging technologies connect with youth in a group mentoring setting. Youth are in cohorts of ten to twelve, with three to five mentors per group.
The 4-H Tech Wizards curriculum has three skill levels delivered over three years. During this time, youth develop skills in:
- Website development
- Video and podcast production
- GIS and GPS technologies
- Lego Robotics
- And newer technologies through real-world situations
Youth also volunteer 15 hours annually in technology-related service learning projects benefitting the larger community.
4-H Tech Wizards enhances learning by providing the targeted student group w
Goal setting with technology training which is delivered in partnership with 4-H, schools, volunteers, libraries, non profits, and other community partners. Students learn STEM related skills from adult mentors who become positive role models for the students to emulate. Additionally, students learn life important life skills, such as:
- Problem solving
- Presentation and public speaking skills
- Decision making
4-H Tech Wizards in Washington County
In Oregon, 4-H Tech Wizards is a bilingual, family-supported, afterschool program capitalizing on youths’ interest in technology.
In the program’s 8 years of delivery, about 95% of participating youth have completed the program, 95% have demonstrated mastery of all skill competencies, 85% have annually completed 15 hours of community service learning, 95% have graduated high school, and 70% have pursued post-secondary education.
Major program collaborators include:
- Extension 4-H
- Local schools
- A local community Latino community center
- Intel Corporation
Students in the pilot program are now talking about college after graduation; before they were talking about dropping out of high school.