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What is eSpark and how does it work?
Behind the Scenes: Content Curation at eSpark
Behind the Scenes: Content Curation at eSpark
Learn about how we choose learning activities and utilize third-party websites to ensure the best experience for your students.
Jessica Wallach avatar
Written by Jessica Wallach
Updated over a week ago

At eSpark, we aim to differentiate reading and math with activities kids love. This requires creating and curating a variety of activities that are engaging, academically valuable, and represent diverse learning methods. Students will experience many activity types while using eSpark, including some that will temporarily bring your students to other websites. Below, we answer some common questions about these third-party web activities.

When and how does eSpark take students to other websites?

Throughout Quests and Small Group Skills lessons, eSpark will occasionally guide students to a different website by opening a new tab on their device. These sites are curated and vetted by our Learning Design team, made up of former teachers and school administrators, based on their academic rigor and student engagement. Our Learning Design team is actively working on creating more eSpark-generated activities, meaning you’ll see students taken to a third-party site less frequently in the future. However, our team will always utilize some of these outside sites because we believe students benefit from learning from a diverse set of resources. Our priority is always to make sure that the activities students work on are the best for learning each skill in our curriculum.

What are some of the common third party websites used by eSpark, and how do you know they are trustworthy?

Our go-to third party resources include sites like PBS Kids, Starfall, and Khan Academy. We always use sites that were specifically created for students, and we prioritize those that do not require log-ins and are ad-free. We also track student performance and engagement with each activity regularly, and we update any content that does not meet our standards. Our Learning Design team uses the rubric below to ensure that each activity is up to par.

How will my students know to come back to eSpark from another website?

For activities that open in a new tab, students return to eSpark by simply closing that new tab. If your students are using Chromebooks to access eSpark, you can turn on return to eSpark notifications for your students. Each activity has a set amount of time students are expected to spend completing it, and these notifications will let students know when it is time to come back to eSpark. When they confirm that they have finished the activity they are working on, eSpark will automatically close the other tab to bring them back.

To enable return to eSpark notifications on Chrome, go to on the student's device. Then, click the LOCK ICON to the left of the address bar. You will see a small window pop up - make sure that Notifications are all set to ALLOW, as pictured below:

Additionally, here is a video you can show your students about how to play games in new tabs!

How can I help keep my students accountable?

We have several resources to support you in keeping your students on track with eSpark. Click on each link to see the resource!

Do you have other questions or feedback? Please reach out to our Support team by clicking the blue chat icon on the bottom right side of your screen - we're here to help and welcome content requests!

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