• Gwen Hedden

Welcome to Spark!

Updated: Jul 6, 2018

A brief introduction of what we're all about

Hello and welcome to the Spark blog! 

In this space, I will be publishing articles related to Education, Educational Technology, Adult Learning, and Instructional Design. I am a former teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum developer in K-12 schools in NJ.  Most recently, I was working for a small Apple-focused IT company in Philadelphia as the Technology Learning Coordinator. I am no longer working with this organization due to a pivot in their services, and so I am going out on my own with Spark, so that I can continue to commit myself to the support and professional growth of teachers and reimagining of education in the greater Philadelphia area.

"I am a former teacher, instructional coach, and curriculum developer in K-12 schools in NJ.  Most recently, I was working for a small Apple-focused IT company in Philadelphia as the Technology Learning Coordinator." 

While working at SpringboardIT, I provided Educational Technology and Professional Development services to support teachers, administrators, and business leaders with end-user support and technology training, professional learning initiatives, strategic planning, and curriculum consultation services.  I am a Google Certified Trainer and an Apple Teacher, so a lot of what I did while working at Springboard was related to Technology readiness and end-user support. In schools specifically, I worked to ensure that both teachers and students were able to benefit from appropriate and efficient technology resources. I also worked to ensure that the technology available was adequate in supplementing the curriculum and supporting student learning and engagement. Last, I worked with teachers throughout the year to ensure that they were able to develop lesson plans that implemented technology resources in a beneficial and purposeful way-- avoiding "technology for technology's sake", and aiding them in working SMARTER rather than harder.

Spark Education has been a pet project that I have been planning for a while now, and I am excited that it is finally coming together! My friend and colleague Ray Okuda is an amazing Math teacher, and he and I have discussed this project for years. We are very excited to offer these services to support schools, teachers, and students in a purposeful and transformative way.

Why "Spark"?

Coaching, teaching, and professional development all offer the same magical moment for me -- the moment when a concept transforms from information to knowledge, and when actions and tasks lead to skills. Those gorgeous moments when something finally clicks for somebody have always fueled me to do what I do. Sometimes, you can even see it-- a flash glimmers in their eyes and a grin creeps across their face. This project, at its core, is all about working to foster environments where passionate educators can help others to experience that spark! All of us who are part of Spark Education solutions are committed to supporting teachers experience the joy of learning again, so they can grow, learn, and thrive in their classrooms.

What Spark can do for you

Spark Learning offers Educational Solutions and PD support for teachers and schools.  We ardently believe that everyone is a lifelong learner, and as such, we feel that everyone has the right to be given every opportunity to learn and grow, regardless of how old they are.  We recognize (from experience) that teachers are one of the most overlooked groups of learners-- they are constantly asked to show their administrators how they are developing over time, but are never really given the chance to authentically learn.  Here at Spark, we

don't believe in day-long lectures.  We offer customized and adaptive professional development opportunities to our clients so that they, like students, are given opportunities to engage with their learning, benefit from guided practice, are invited to ask questions, and are given the chance to develop and grow over time.  All of our trainers have classroom experience, and have served as instructional coaches and leaders in their respective schools.  Everyone here acknowledges the various pressures that teachers face everyday, and is committed to providing compassionate and transformative learning experiences to our clients, so that our teachers can learn how to work smarter and not harder!


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