Running a 4‑H Tech Changemakers Program

4‑H and Microsoft are making it easy for communities to create a 4‑H Tech Changemakers program with the 4‑H Tech Changemakers Guidebook. The guidebook offers best practices and guidelines for youth/adult partnerships to plan, implement and evaluate a Tech Changemakers program in local communities.

The guidebook will help those seeking to implement the program learn:

  • What to consider before starting a Tech Changemakers program, including recommendations on research and learning experiences to help prepare your group for project planning.
  • Best practices on topics like project management, program promotion and mentoring.
  • Lesson plans to fit your community’s needs, covering skills like communication, information literacy, netiquette, privacy, social media and more.
  • How to create an action plan framework to help you get the Tech Changemakers program started.
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The Value of Being a 4‑H Tech Changemaker

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  • Why digital skills and access to broadband are critical in the modern economy.
  • How you can encourage people to improve their digital skills.

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  • A research-backed solution that is as unique as your community through localized digital skills training sessions.

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  • School, government, media and local business leaders to your project’s work.
  • With people in your community by facilitating in-person events.

4‑H and Microsoft Digital Impact Survey

Teens Without Access to Broadband Internet Are Less Likely to Believe They Can Achieve the American Dream

To further its mission to empower youth to become innovators and leaders in their communities, National 4‑H Council and Microsoft teamed up to explore digital access among teens through a national survey. The survey, which polled over 1,500 youth between the ages of 13-19 nationwide, investigated how lack of broadband internet access affects their social mobility and economic opportunities.

The results suggest that limited broadband or “high speed” internet access can have long-lasting impacts on a young person’s self-confidence, career opportunities, and likelihood of attaining financial success.

Download the survey results below to learn more.

Key Findings

Limited high speed internet access makes everyday tasks — like looking for jobs, applying to college and connecting with peers — much more difficult.

  • 1 in 4 American teens have Broadband connections that are unreliable
  • Nearly half of teens report struggling to complete homework due to slow internet connections.
  • 79% of teens with broadband access expect to have a higher income than their parents, while only 66% of teens without broadband access felt this way.
  • Teens without high speed internet access are less confident about graduating high school and less optimistic about higher education and careers opportunities.
  • 8 in 10 teens believe high speed internet access could improve their  local economy.

Digital Impact Survey Results

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Full PDF Report


4‑H Tech Changemakers in Action

The 4‑H Tech Changemakers program has inspired teens in 91 communities across 15 states to do good in their communities. Check out the gallery below to see what these Tech Changemakers are doing in their hometowns.

Follow their stories and share your own community projects by using #4HTechChangemakers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Youth Stories

Eli in 4-H Microsoft Tech Changemaker program

Educating Farmers with Technology

Eli, Charlotte County, Virginia

Eli was raised on a farm and was inspired to participate in the Microsoft Tech Changemakers program because of the struggles he witnessed his community go through when the market shifted away from manufacturing and tobacco growing. Through his digital skills...

Emily in 4-H Microsoft Tech Changemaker program

Growing Online Learning in Rural Areas

Emily, Catoosa County, Georgia

Emily joined the Microsoft Tech Changemakers program when she learned how many people in Georgia still lack broadband access. Emily has always had access to the internet and she grew up learning digital skills from her parents. It was a way...

Cameron in the 4-H Microsoft Tech Changemakers program

Helping Adults Learn Digital Skills

Cameron, Dodge County, Wisconsin

Cameron was inspired to join the Microsoft Tech Changemakers program because of his own trouble accessing the internet at home. With 30% of residents in his community being over age 55 he realized the impact they can have on creating more...

2017 Tech Changemaker Contest Winners

Grand Prize Winner

Helping Hands - Joseph Huff, Utah

While volunteering for 4‑H, I met a little boy without a hand. That boy changed my life. My mentor offered to print the boy a hand. I got to help and see the process. It dawned on me that many children who need prosthetic hands...

4-H Tech Changemakers Jackson Area Robotics

Second Place

Jackson Area Robotics - Benjamin McCarver, Tennessee

I love STEM, but in our town there are not a lot of opportunities for students like me. I tried for years to get involved in things, but it always cost too much for my family or it was very basic introductions that did not...

4-H Tech Changemakers Kids In STEM

Third Place

Kids in STEM - Emily Rolfes, South Dakota

When you say rural South Dakota, people think Midwest, agriculture, sports; people don’t think innovation in STEM. Growing up in rural South Dakota farm town, people talk about the weather, how the local sports team is doing, how crops/livestock are doing, but they don’t talk...