AFTER 5 YEARS OF ACTIVITIES, REACHING 350 CHILDREN ACROSS 11 PARTNER ORGANIZATIONS,
THE JOURNEY OF SPARK PROJECTS HAS COME TO AN END
A BIG, BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE
the children who joined us to explore the digital world,
their parents and caretakers, our partner institutions and all their staff,
AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO HELPED ALONG THE WAY
we will miss you all
THE THREE PILLARS OF SPARK
We assessed the children's individual abilities and interests, and also the help or obstacles each is facing. We used various ways to monitor our activities and analyze their effectiveness.
our teaching principles
Use engaging, interactive teaching
We tried to use activities that children care about. That is, activities they were likely to repeat on their own, after class, like editing music or writing and illustrating a story.
Since not all children are alike, we tried to customize our activities and program
to each group's needs and interests, being careful not to lose sight
of our goals and targets.
Nurture analytical thought
At the core of technology is logic. We showed them how to break down a problem into pieces, prioritize tasks and design a solution.
But analytical thinking is not specific to technology: we demonstrated how it is just as important in the analogue world.
Most of children's interaction with technology revolves around videos, social media and games. But this is only scratching the surface. We showed children how technology has changed daily life, how it's changed what is possible, and how they could some day be part of that change, too.
To do this, we introduced inspiring technology through approachable people, aiming to bring in technology experts to give live demos and invite children to participate.
What is needed? How much are we helping? What else can we do?
We believed that, first of all, we need to understand each child's abilities and needs, the help they are getting and the obstacles they are facing. We therefore collected information from the Host Organizations, the parents, and the children themselves, before we set out to planning the activities.
But that's just the beginning. We then wanted to ensure that our activities are having an impact - that children's skills, understanding, self-confidence and self-reliance are all improving, and that they find the activities fun and engaging. We ran a number of assessments throughout the year, evaluating these different aspects for the betterment of the activities.
Finally , based on this feedback, we revisited and adjust our activities, our teaching methods and indeed everything around Spark, to make them as impactful as possible.
Leveraging our resources...
Our efforts started in the classroom but did not end there.
For children to make real progress, the limited time we had with them is not enough. Like with any activity, it takes practice, so it is crucial that they spend additional time on their own, with their friends and families, or with staff from their Host Organization. We took a number of steps to facilitate that, including
- offering to make Spark equipment available at all times, provided there is adequate supervision;
- trying to bring the families into the picture, through family Spark activities, and also by parental support; and
- offering training to Host staff, so that they can engage, help and monitor the students' activities.
... and aiming at lasting change
Lasting change, by helping children from challenging backgrounds embrace technology.
For simple tasks, but also for tasks they never thought possible. To create, collaborate and communicate, to find and share information. To see technology as an indispensable tool. And to see how technology breaks down old barriers, opens new possibilities and can be a window to a different life.