#SpotlightOnCLT: Digi-Bridge | SHARE Charlotte

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#SpotlightOnCLT: Digi-Bridge

Written by Holly Blackman    on February 25, 2021    in
Presented by AvidXchange Foundation

If anything else, COVID has taught us that we can pivot digitally to try and connect, learn, plan, meet, etc. Children sit by the millions in front of screens for school, Zoom lessons, video games, and the recent digital surge thrust upon us has organizations like Digi-Bridge finding ways to connect their mission to current needs.

“We meet students where they are. Whatever your environment is, we ask how do we integrate our learning into your environment?,” Digi-Bridge CEO Alyssa Sharpe explains.

Digi-Bridge, founded in 2014, exists to equip shareholders to foster optimal use of technology in the learning environment, ensuring that all 21st century learners have opportunities to succeed in the digital age. They provide digital classroom design consultancy, develop and deliver coursework to K-8 scholars and engage as advocates in support of digital access and opportunity. What a time to connect with teachers and students - teaching how to best utilize technology in a hybrid model school year and helping students develop digital literacy, deciphering false and true information as they navigate the Internet and devices alone more than ever before.

The lack of hands-on learning opportunities for students in 2020 led Digi-Bridge to work with corporations to help them create hands-on themed STEAM kits with coordinating curriculum. Their fall STEAMKit, sponsored by Honeywell, taught children about science topics like aeronautics through wind-powered devices they can race with their friends and included a required reading book “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.” Their winter STEAM kit sponsored by Lowe’s was chemistry-focused using products found at Lowe’s to demonstrate how Borax can grow winter crystals.

As Sharpe said, “After this year, the amount of time students participating in science experiments through virtual school is in the single digits. We can’t afford to get behind on a global scale of economy.”

Therefore, Digi-Bridge’s STEAMLab program in CMS Title I Schools, community-based classes and summer camps and community STEAMSaturdays classes have evolved, like much of educational programming.

Digi-Bridge’s new partnerships with companies like Lowe’s and Honeywell allowed them to create and distribute over 3000+ STEAM kits.

Hundreds of these kits found their way to Wilson STEM Academy students including Aditya who made his own YouTube channel to demonstrate how to germinate seed growth. He had the materials thanks to his STEAM kit and his popularity on YouTube.

Digi-Bridge offers summer camps, STEAMLabs and partners with Title I schools: Druid Hills K-8 Academy; Ashley Park K-8 Academy ; Monclaire; Bruns Avenue; Briarwood; Governors’ Village; Devonshire; Highland Renaissance; Walter G. Byers and Idlewild Elementary.

“I loved being a part of my school’s robotics team. I had no idea the things I could build and code and know now that I can do and be anything,” Eastway Middle School, Briana reflected about her time with Digi-Bridge.

In February 2020, Digi-Bridge hosted their first-ever robotics showcase at the CMS Career and Technical Education Fair. Students from partnering schools demonstrated their skills using First LEGO League Framework.

School-based STEAMLabs, currently virtual, include a teacher facilitating the experiments with students in order to engage them on a more hands-on level. Material fees are much higher due to social distancing and individual kit making; therefore, corporate, foundations and individual whole-school partnerships are more vital than ever.

“It was a joy for my students to receive these STEAM kits. They were eager for hands-on learning opportunities and these kits delivered and allowed them the opportunity to explore,” said Torie Leslie, Governor’s STEM Academy Teacher said.

STEAM kits are also used during STEAM Saturdays.

SHARE Charlotte is proud to partner with Digi-Bridge to ensure students get the science and technology interactions they are crazing. If you’re interested in volunteering and sharing your time, Digi-Bridge needs in-person volunteers (and their maximum is only 10 volunteers at a time in order to safely socially distance) in their warehouse to make robotics, STEAM and LEGO kits to be distributed throughout the Charlotte region.

This month's #SpotlightOnCLT: Bridging the Digital Divide is presented by our friends at AvidXchange Foundation