On May 29th, 2009, Spark announced its first funding awards. Four projects received support through its first round of Micro Spark grants.

Spark’s projects use technology to enrich the lives of children with a wide array of rich interactive experiences, from outdoor exploration to parental communication. The four following projects are the first to receive Spark support.

  • Message from Me from the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University – A communication system that allows children to share their daily experiences with parents and family using every day technologies including cell phones, the Internet, and digital photography. Awarded $15,000.
  • Geocaching Curriculum from Venture Outdoors – An innovative curriculum that trains child care providers and educators to utilize geocaching GPS units in their classrooms for outdoor activities and real-life treasure hunts. Awarded $7,330.
  • Story Box Project from SLB Radio Productions, Inc. – A classroom initiative to work with pre-kindergarten classrooms at two Pittsburgh Public School to create electronic, interactive story-telling devices featuring students’ narrative audio recordings and original artwork. Awarded $7,600.
  • Light Education at the Mattress Factory –A yearlong education program using the museum’s James Turrell light installations to teach elementary school students and teachers from 20 Allegheny County Schools about the science of light, scientific inquiry and experimentation, and the connections between artistic expression and scientific concepts. Awarded $7,500.

Spark will offer three more funding cycles in 2009, investing a total of $200,000 in projects that will unleash the innovative potential of Southwestern Pennsylvania and transform our region into one of the best places on earth for children to live, learn, and play.