Blacks in Technology – The Influence of One Spark and Ed Spark
by William Jackson
Computers Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts Mathematics
“The development of content, creation of Apps, software development,
and the integration of technology for reading, science, engineering, math
and other areas of academia for African Americans is only part of the battle
to create an employable high tech workforce.”
William Jackson, Edward Waters College, Educational Technology Instructor
It has been months since the successful One Spark and Ed Spark Crowd
Funding event. The eyes of the nation were on Jacksonville as those with
dreams, ideas, goals, personal and business agendas were involved in
earning votes for the opportunity to have their respective projects funded
to move to the next level of implementation.
The presentations of the African American participants (each year it grows)
in One Spark and Ed Spark ranged from educational software by:
A Day In The Real World (Ronnie King), to reading initiatives by Readers
Theater (Tangela Floyd and Emanuel Washington and), the implementation
of robotics by GEERS, a focus on the growing academic initiative of
STEM/STEAM that has matured into STREAM and other areas of science,
art, business and academia.
The encouraging trend is more participants are African American’s, showing
that even in Crowd Funding African Americans have viable and competitive
One of the highlights of One Spark and Ed Spark that is still being
celebrated on a national scale, the winner of the Educational Division
“The Adventures of Moxie Girl,” whose comic book concept is an inspiration
to African American girls in the very sensitive subject of hair and self-esteem.
Hair, which is so un-simplistic, men will never understand, but it’s texture, the
ability to conform to styles or even a natural “look” that Is comfortable to
the female wearer.
Natalie the young developer and her mom Angela designed “The
Adventures of Moxie Girl” comic book to address issues that many African
American girls and even women can relate too.
Literacy, comprehension, imagination and reading are vital for Blacks to
be competitive in a world that has embraced technological advances.
Too many African American children are struggling in a nation that is
still leading globally in technological evolution. One Spark and Ed Spark
have shown that African Americans have to be able to build Apps, write
with power and imagination, involved in project management, STEAM
initiatives on a grass roots basis like Arlene Cameron-Lloyd she provides
an opportunity to enhance the future life of children through STEAM workshops.
Inspiring them to dream and imagine their future careers.
In a BET survey (2010) African Americans spent about 39 billion
dollars that went towards purchasing technology. The purchase of
computers, cell phones, tablets, watches and other digital equipment
shows that African Americans are connected and plugged in when
purchasing, but what about the economic development from concept
Technology is here to stay, African American children must be taught how
to be developers, programmers and even teachers of tech not just consumers.
African American children, youth, teens and young adults need to transition
to producers, developers, researchers and they need role models and mentors.
In order for this to happen Education is the best investment to re-invest in the
Human Capital of African American children. To encourage the building
a foundation for re-investment to build children of color into future developers.
STEAM, STREAM, STEM, CSTEAM are based on the integration of Computers
Science Technology Reading Engineering Arts Mathematics (R = Reading &
C = Computers) there will be other modifications, the premise is that “applied
knowledge is power” (Anthony Butler, E3 Business Group). AA youth need
the power of education, literacy, comprehension and reading to compete.
African American children need the foundation in education to apply their
intellectual power to be involved in the growing technological changes
happening today. These changes will influence business, finance, commerce,
higher education, medicine, science, government and areas not even conceived yet.
One Spark and Ed Spark have shown that African Americans in
Jacksonville, Florida and across the nation cannot afford to be left out
and left behind in opportunities like SPARK and other Crowd Funding and
even technology conferences. The potential financial prospects are
unimaginable and have an economic potential to influence other youth,
teens, and young adults that have dreams and aspirations in fields like STEAM.
Parents need to consider the realities do they want their children involved in
STEM / STREAM or the potential of being left underemployed or unemployable.
This is a decision that African American families are making as they see
unemployment rise for Blacks, not because they cannot do the tech work it is
because they are not qualified, skilled have degrees or certifications.
Being under-employed, unemployable, too many children are close to being
un-educated because parents are not active and involved in schools to ask
questions, work with guidance counselors and industry leaders.
African Americans must increase their involvement in the creative
aspects of technology learning to code, and dynamically create content that
truthfully tells a story or shares an idea on an intellectual level.
Those involved in One Spark and Ed Spark will serve as role models, mentors,
and inspirations to others in 2016 that African Americans can compete and are
have ideas, dreams and goals that can compete not just locally, but on a
national and international scale.
Day In The Real World
Day in the Real World” is a software-based workshop designed to give
students a glimpse into life as an adult.
GEERS is about making a difference by providing robotics education to
The mission of “Before Email” is to connect both children and adults to the intimate life held
within the written and spoken word.
Introduction of Readers Theater by Lisa Buggs
The Black Superheroes
“The Adventures of Moxie Girl”
Facebook Page of The Adventures of Moxie Girl