Winter 2020-2021 Activities Update
Extensive social distancing measures were reinstated in Greece in the fall of 2020.
Where measures allowed it, and deemed appropriate by both Spark Projects and our Host Organizations, we continue in-person instruction. In other cases, we switched to virtual classes.
Fearing further lockdowns this year, we made considerable preparations in the summer of 2020, to better prepare us for virtual classes. We felt it was important to allow children to continue Spark activities, not only to keep practicing digital skills, but also to provide them with some continuity in their lives, and some social interaction, even if virtual.
To that end, we put together special curriculum, appropriate for remote classes. We worked to understand what restrictions children would face in a lockdown. We set up a system to help children be connected at home, in some cases getting equipment to children who need it. Finally, in the first few weeks of the year, we took advantage of in-person classes to practice using the online platforms, in class, so that everyone is set up, familiar with the software, and comfortable participating in virtual activities.
These measures went a long way in running smoother, more productive virtual classes. It has to be said, however, that it was not possible to fully resolve some problems with connectivity, lack of equipment and communication. There are limits to what we can accomplish under these conditions, and we very much look forward to seeing you all back in person!
Helping you deal with remote learning
Same as last spring, there are a number of ways we could help our partner organizations:
Additional computers for online school classes:
You may use any Spark laptops we are keeping on your premises for other virtual classes, just let us know ahead of time. Please contact Anna Kamperou or the class teacher for any help with logins. Also, please make sure children wash their hands, and sanitize the laptops with a wet wipe after use. Also, if you need additional laptops, let us know and we may be able to help.
Technical help setting up computers for online school classes:
If you need help setting up computers (yours or ours) to participate in online classes, contact us. We may be able to help remotely, either by helping one of your staff or in some cases by fixing the problem directly on the computers in question
Online content - finding educational content, simple programming, games
It is surprisingly hard to find good content online, to keep children engaged and productive. Please contact us if you need suggestions - we are putting together a list, together with help guides and short how-to videos.
Tutoring and help for your staff (remote or in-person)
If one of your staff would like to engage the children at some online activities, including ones around the online content mentioned above, she may want some support to get started. We are happy to offer a few hours of remote or in-person tutoring to help her familiarize herself with the activities and answer any questions.
Please let us know if any of this could help your organization, and
contact us with questions, requests, or other ideas
A Final Note
As mentioned before, whenever children use Spark equipment, or any other shared equipment for that matter, it is important that they wash their hands, sanitize the laptops and follow any other suitable precautionary measures.
More generally, although COVID measures are weighing on all of us, we urge everyone to do their utmost to comply.
We should do so not only to protect our own health and that of our family, but also out of respect for our fellow citizens. Crucially, respect for those most vulnerable among us, for the medical staff in the front lines,
as well as for all the people who are suffering financially, socially, professionally or emotionally,
either due to health reasons or due to the very real containment measures the virus has necessitated.