Designing for equity. Changing what’s possible. Together.

Digital Youth Network (DYN) is a research lab focused on designing more equitable systems for youth. We are a team of researchers, product designers, technologists and practitioners that have worked at every level of the out-of-school time space since 2005. 

We have led citywide OST networks, redesigned how public libraries can engage youth, delivered STEAM programming for thousands and developed a purpose-built infrastructure specifically for OST.

Designing more equitable learning systems.

Learning Platforms

Our platforms are purpose-built solutions for strengthening out-of-school time (OST) ecosystems. Connect local providers, document young people’s OST journey and empower parents all while generating actionable analytics to build and sustain a healthy local OST ecosystem. 

Opportunity Landscaping

Opportunity Landscaping is an asset-based model for ensuring all young people have access to quality learning opportunities. Our Landscaping toolkit helps make visible the existing infrastructure and facilitates a process that uses data driven insights to design strategies to create a more equitable learning landscape.

Mentor Development

Mentor development is critical to the health of any OST ecosystem. We partner with a variety of youth serving organizations to train mentors to facilitate engaging STEAM programming. 

Designing for equity since 2005

Connecting youth to opportunity in a digital age.

We are the Digital Youth Network (DYN) – a team of passionate educators, designers, researchers, and advocates committed to cultivating equity and agency in the lives of young people. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Nichole Pinkard and Akili Lee, DYN is a research lab in Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy. We design systems and build infrastructure to empower every young person to be connected, creative, and capable of realizing their full potential in the digital age. 

What informs our model

Responsibilities for learning are distributed throughout community institutions.

John I. Goodlad

Learning is deeply social, with people playing different roles in the system, including critical roles as brokers, collaborators, and guides across settings

Ito et al., 2013; Nacu et al., 2014

Our Solutions

Purpose-built solutions for out-of-school time

Innovative Learning Solutions Partner

Empowering Youth Engagement Collaborator

Digital Literacy Champion Alliance

Activating Local OST Ecosystems

Building Local Cohorts of STEAM Mentors

Engaging Youth As Data Scientists

Delivering Engaging STEAM Programs

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