The SPARK Innovation Team has taken a step forward in advancing educational technology and supporting educators' professional development.
SPARK, a leading provider of most researched and tested physical education programs, has launched the SPARK Innovation Team (i-Team), a new initiative to introduce cutting edge technologies to the classroom, to create innovative PE resources, and provide educators with online tools for professional development. In February, the organisation hired education technology advocate Naomi Hartl as the new PE Development and Technology Specialist and Innovation Team leader to create innovative products and services as well as assessment tools to measure student progress and the effectiveness of various programs.
Hartl will also lead monthly webinars and provide PE teachers with professional development tools through SPARKecademy, a free website created to offer K-12 PE teachers with opportunities for professional growth. In addition to developing new, technology-based solutions and teacher resources, Hartl will work on expanding the base of content for SPARKfamily, a password-protected website that offers PE educators a library of tested, effective digital tools, including instructional videos, alignment and assessment tools, and the complete Digital Curriculum, to support their SPARK program.
Hartl's goal as the new Innovation Team leader will be to seamlessly integrate new technologies into SPARK programs to enhance learning and maximise teacher efficiency. The i-Team will work to develop new products, services and resources to support PE teachers in teaching physically literate adults. The technologies that may soon be introduced to SPARK programs include new apps, interactive resources, videos and augmented reality. Hartl will lead the i-Team with SPARK Development Director Jeff Mushkin.
SPARK is a public health organisation dedicated to developing and evaluating programs that support lifelong wellness and disseminating fitness and nutrition programs to teachers of Pre-K through 12th grade students. The organisation has provided teacher training, consultation and curriculum materials to more than 100,000 educators since 1989. SPARK's mission is to promote and develop healthy lifestyles, social and personal skills, movement knowledge, and motor skills, motivating students to enjoy and seek out physical activity and maintain acceptable fitness levels.