May 19, 2020 -
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
Sometimes the world gives you exactly what you need in the moment you need it. In this time of coronavirus, teachers have had to adjust every aspect of their teaching, learn new technology and figure out how to engage students on the other side of a keyboard. At the same time, parents, especially mothers, have had to adjust every aspect of their day, learn new technology and figure out how to manage their children’s distance learning. It seems appropriate that this year Teacher Appreciation Week was the week directly before Mother’s Day. It’s like the world understood that everyone’s roles have been mixed, muddled and turned a little bit upside down and that both mothers and teachers needed some appreciation during the second month of lockdown.
My team and I are no different. Given the importance of virtual learning and educational access at this time of national crisis, we have been busier than ever and like everyone, are slowly burning out on the impossible balancing act we are all expected to do. But the world gave us exactly what we needed at a time we really needed it!
On Mother’s Monday, we found out we won EdTech Digest’s Cool Tool Award for the Open Educational Resource (OER) category. For those that may not know this term, OERs are freely accessible, open licensed media and digital resources used for teaching and learning. Spark 101’s free educational materials include not only our videos, but also free tools for teachers like teacher created resources and lesson plans.
This win in the OER category, Teacher’s Appreciation Week and Mother’s Day were a fantastic reminder of just why we do the work we do. At Spark 101, we have always believed in providing access to all teachers and students- not just those that had the resources to pay for them. We have- and will continue to be- free to teachers. Also, we have always believed in the power, commitment, and societal necessity of teachers , who have continued to be our target audience and biggest supporters.
And finally, we acknowledge all the work parents are doing now at home and so we have created a free distance learning guide and parent tool kit. We are also in the process of creating several more parent resources – please look out for our upcoming “Beyond the Classroom” section on the website. We are, of course thankful to EdTech Digest and honored to have won! We are also proud of the work Spark 101 has done- and will continue to do- to help teachers, parents, students and jobseekers explore STEM careers from the safety of their homes.