Together, they wrote Spark Change, which provides examples and ideas for how “students can use technology as a tool for empathy, equity, and activism.”
This video provides an overview from the authors and gets into more detail about the types of topics that are covered:
One of my favorite elements of the book is the back and forth between the two authors. From Liv’s perspective, you get ideas from what students might expect or experience. From Cynthia’s perspective, you get suggestions and tips for how teachers and other educators can support student experiences and passions. It’s an excellent approach to this topic, and the combination of their two perspectives is not only fun to see, but also a beneficial way to address these ideas.
Throughout the book, other youth experts are also drawn on to share their expertise. For example, Nate Butkus (@natepodcasts) shares tips on podcasting, Sadie Bugnitz shares ideas on feminism and activism, and Louie da Costa (@artfulouie) shares thoughts on exploring art. I absolutely love the incorporation of so many youth voices, and I think sharing their stories, experiences, and tips is a really powerful way to talk about getting our students involved in the digital world.
Favorite hashtags are shared throughout the book as well, giving teachers and students a place to connect through social media. Hashtags like #KidsCanTeachUs, #KeepReading, #TeachTheWorld, and #BookBoss are just a few of the many recommendations provided. Many of these hashtags are specific to centering youth voices, which is great to see.
Overall, I think this book is a wonderful resource for two different audiences:
(1) For teachers who are already convinced about the importance (and necessity) of supporting their students’ journey into a digital world, this book offers numerous wonderful ideas, lesson plans, activities, tech tools, and so on.
(2) For teachers who aren’t convinced, or who maybe think their students are too young to start exploring the digital world, I think this book does an excellent job of showing not only how important it is to start teaching these ideas to students early, but to do so with a focus on youth empowerment.
In short, Spark Change: Making Your Mark in a Digital World is an excellent read that is chock-full of ISTE-aligned lessons and activities that can serve to boost youth empowerment and engagement in the digital world. I absolutely recommend reading it, especially if you are looking for new ways not just to get your students online, but to do so in truly meaningful and significant ways.