Impact Highlights from Team4Tech’s Kidspire 2019 Project
In Vietnam, children living and growing up in orphanages receive very little support in helping them to prepare for their futures after leaving the orphanage. These orphans have little exposure to the outside world beyond their school and almost no access to technology. Public school class sizes are large and orphans garner little teacher attention, if they attend at all. Additionally, many students, parents, and communities ostracize the orphans. As a result, many orphans do not finish high school and even fewer go on to study at university or enter a professional career.
Kidspire Vietnam provides STEAM-focused educational opportunities inside of the orphanage, where participating students can engage in a learner-focused, inspiring, and engaging environment, designed to help them develop important skills in digital literacy, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving toward a fulfilling future.
In April 2019, Cadence Team4Tech Fellows (employee volunteers) went to Vietnam to support Kidspire in furthering its STEAM curricular goals within the orphanages. One year later, the Kidspire staff has built upon the Cadence team’s work to create significant opportunities for their students. They have:
- Developed digital portfolios for all students in three orphanages.
- This means 160 students have built and continue to add to their digital/career portfolios. 240 additional portfolios will be completed by November 2020 in the other four orphanages (due to COVID shutdowns). The portfolios have allowed the teachers the ability to better track student performance, and students have shown an increased sense of confidence and pride in their work.
- Additionally, nine graduating Kidspire students are excited to share their portfolios with future employers. Employers are often gracious and want to give the orphans an opportunity but don’t really understand the depth of their learning through Kidspire classes. These digital portfolios will now provide the visual bridge for employers to gain a true sense of Kidspire students’ capabilities and accomplishments.
- Incorporated 3D printers into their maker curriculum. Groups of students have demonstrated specialized interest in tinkering with 3D designs. The 3D printers are showcased to students, corporate internship partners, and donors as one example of the advanced projects available to students in the Kidspire Innovation Labs.
- Expanded Technovation – a global, problem solving and app-development competition for girls – across their entire curriculum.
- All 65 students at one orphanage finished the entire curriculum and 11 teams of girls successfully submitted and presented their apps for the global challenge. Technovation submissions represent just one of the ways Kidspire is paving the way for the Vietnamese government to see and realize the potential of these orphans, as well as the need to invest in education technology.
As a result of Cadence’s sponsorship of the Team4Tech project and the work of the Cadence Team4Tech Fellows, Kidspire has seen a tremendous increase in student confidence as students complete the Technovation Challenge and build out their digital portfolios. Kidspire has seen a noticeable difference in students’ poise, determination, and courage as they approach complex projects, brainstorm community needs, and design and code solutions.
One amazing example of this impact is Ý Nhi, a young girl at one of the orphanages. One of the Kidspire staff and feeling a persistent tugging on her elbow. Nhi asked if she could join the Kidspire computer class even though she didn’t have full use of her left hand. Nhi’s beaming smile and quick assurances that she would give her best effort in every class still stick with her Kidspire teacher. In 2020, Nhi is one of the girls in a team that an app that allows the children at the orphanage to borrow books. Previously, the orphanage library was never open for fear of losing one of the books. Nhi and her friends and now, the library is open and the children are allowed to check out books!
Lastly, Kidspire welcomed students at their newest Innovation Lab – enjoy this inspiring video!