The Digital Corps
Developing digital literacy skills to enable youth to thrive in school, college, and the workforce.
Empowering youth through free digital literacy programming
The Digital Corps connected youth in Allegheny County with opportunities to develop digital literacy skills and enable them to thrive in school, college, and the workforce through free digital learning experiences in afterschool programs.
In partnership with APOST (Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time), The Sprout Fund recruited and trained mentors in the effective use of digital learning tools and then matched them with afterschool programs and community centers. Digital Corps members worked side by side with youth ages 10–18 to demystify robotics, code websites, program mobile apps, investigate online privacy, and empower the next generation of digital innovators.
Members of the Digital Corps include informal educators, designers, technologists, scientists, youth workers, college students, and self-taught tinkerers interested in helping more youth develop their digital literacies, skills, and capacities. Many host sites were drawn from APOST’s network of out-of-school learning providers serving thousands of children throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.
The program emphasized collaborative, discovery-based learning where students created projects in every session, like simple video games with joysticks made of play dough and foil. Teens completed Digital Corps with online portfolios showcasing their new skills including mobile apps they built and webpages they designed, and they departed with the confidence to explore, investigate, and contribute to the digital world.
Program In Brief
Adult Mentors Trained
Afterschool Host Sites
Hours of Workshops
Youth Engaged in Programs
Youth Participants in Spot Engagements
Building Digital Skills with Mobile Mentors
Learn more about the Digital Corps through this video featurette about the program’s activities in one neighborhood near Pittsburgh, Prospect Park.
Digital Corps mentors were deployed in out-of-school learning sites throughout the city of Pittsburgh and in surrounding communities in Allegheny County. In libraries, afterschool sites, church basements, and makerspaces, the Digital Corps engaged learners in free workshops in nearly 40 neighborhood locations in 2014 and 2015.
Assemble in Garfield
Bible Center Church in Homewood
Carnegie Library in Carrick
Carnegie Library of Homestead
PPS Schiller on the North Side
From teaching artists to librarians to engineers, the Digital Corps included artists, educators, librarians, and technologists who dedicated their time to enhance their own digital literacy skills and help convey them to eager learners.
The Digital Corps and its trained mentors also appeared at pop-up events and summertime maker parties.
Pittsburgh Maker Party 2014
Digital Corps Spring Showcase 2015
Back to School Bash 2015
Digital Corps mentors and host sites were drawn from the Remake Learning Network, a community of educators and innovators developing new approaches for teaching and learning.
After Digital Corps concluded, many of the program’s lessons learned were incorporated into the Rec2Tech demonstration week.
City of Learning
The Digital Corps was a key program partner for Pittsburgh City of Learning and issued digital badges for skills like webmaking and dispositions like collaboration.
Thank you to all those who made this program possible!
- The Grable Foundation
- Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST)
- Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania
- Ani Martinez
- Dustin Stiver