This year has been one of the most exciting and inspiring in the thirteen-year history of The Sprout Fund. In no small part is that due to the exciting work of the Kids+Creativity Network, a collaborative, cross-sector community of more than 200 organizations representing educators, researchers, designers, artists, technologists, and others working together to remake learning in Pittsburgh.
In support of Kids+Creativity, Sprout launched two new initiatives in 2014 that are helping
Pittsburgh City of Learning
In summer 2014, Pittsburgh joined Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles as a City of Learning. This groundbreaking initiative harnessed the city’s resources to ensure learning wouldn’t stop when school let out for the summer.
Through Pittsburgh City of Learning, The Sprout Fund supported 20 summer enrichment programs that provided 3,000 young people the chance to explore their interests, develop new skills, and connect to real world opportunity.
Pittsburgh City of Learning opened up new pathways of learning for young people to discover their interests, explore the city’s rich resources, and gain recognition for their accomplishments by earning digital badges that learners could earn to showcase the knowledge, skills, and habits they developed over the summer.
“Pittsburgh City of Learning is an opportunity to turn the city into a campus for learning, a place where learning can happen anywhere, anytime and then connect that learning to real-world opportunity.”
– Khalif Ali, The Sprout Fund
In Pittsburgh, 1,800 badges were earned to recognize kids who learned tree identification, digital photography, music production, rapid prototyping, research & design, customer service, woodworking, and webmaking.
Remake Learning Digital Corps
Digital literacy has become essential to success in education, the workforce, and life. But for many youth, access to meaningful digital literacy programs is seriously lacking.
Enter the Remake Learning Digital Corps, a program of The Sprout Fund that provides free digital learning experiences to afterschool programs.
In 2014, Sprout recruited and trained 70 trained digital literacy mentors who have helped more than 500 local youth develop critical skills they’ll need to thrive in school, college, and the workforce.
The program emphasizes collaborative, discovery-based learning, so students are creating projects—like simple video games with joysticks made of modelling clay and foil circuits—in every session.
“We’re not just helping kids learn to use digital tools, but also to learn to work together to solve problems. Really, they’re learning how to learn.”
– Ani Martinez, Digital Corps program lead at The Sprout Fund
Teens leave Digital Corps with online portfolios showcasing their new skills including mobile apps they’ve built and webpages they’ve designed, and most important, the confidence to explore, investigate, and contribute to the digital world.