Scaler Story: Fundación Sanders
Fundación Sanders is contributing to the educational growth of children at risk of exclusion by utilizing technology to create dynamic and interactive learning experiences in an after school environment. Their goal is to motivate kids to want to attend and actively participate in after school programs. We managed to grab Founder Robert Sanders for a quick interview and an insight into the world of Fundacion Sanders.
What is the purpose of Fundación Sanders?
Our mission is to work with children who are at risk of social exclusion. Through education, we try to improve their potential to develop as citizen contributing within their communities.
Why are your passionate about this?
I believe that every person has the ability to positively contribute within his communities but not everyone has an opportunity to do so due to difficult circumstances or disadvantages that they had growing up
How can social exclusion look like?
Imagine a child who grows up with a drug addiction in the family. This can create a situation where he has no stable environment at home. Therefore, he can have difficulties in classes to concentrate on studying.
What is your personal story about Education?
I am a US citizen. I grew up in a very small town in the South of the United States of America. There were not a lot of educational or job opportunities but my family was really passionate about me working hard, staying in school and doing as well as I could to have a better future and potential. This is something that I carry with me, and if I have the opportunity to help other kids who may have had similar situation or more difficult family situation, I feel like I am giving back.
How can the Scaling Program help you give back?
My parents. They did the most for me in terms of influencing my attitude towards Education. They were always there in the evening when it was time for me to do homework. My mother was actually always there when I had to work on a Science project. She was a lot better than me and I won a lot of competitions thanks to her involvement. Having that closeness and interaction in Education was something that I was expecting. I know that not every kid has that same kind of family education. This is why it is important for me to look for opportunities to close that gap, too give the kids an environment where they are going to have access to the same kind of support that I had when I was growing up.
What is unique in your approach?
We digitalize non formal education for after school centres. For that, we focus on 2 concepts.
Building collaborative networks. There are a lot of different after school centres across Madrid and Spain. We train these centres to collaborate together, to share best practices and resources.
By digitizing these centres. We help them to begin using technology better in order to motivate the kids. Remember that they are going in these centres after school. It is like stepping back in time for them.
In the after school centres, there is no Internet connectivity and very little computing resources. Technology is not integrated into the educational programming. What is unique about our project is that we are helping centres to improve. We give them access to Technology like Smartphones and tablets and create digitized content that they can use within new programmes.
“We gamify Education”
How do technologies help young people in terms of Education?
Kids were born in a digital age. If you want to reach them through Education, you have to speak there language. And that language is Technology. We do not use games in the content that we are developing but we gamify Education. Our goal is to make the content more interactive, so we can create one-to-one experiences for the kids. Individualized learning is something very important in the after school centres. Imagine a classroom full of kids: it is difficult for a child to get one-to-one access to a teacher. By implementing Technology, kids can go as far, as deep, or as wide as they want to while still participating in group learning. Technology has the effect of allowing kids to have a little bit of independence and motivating at the same time because it is a tool that they want to use. They don’t even see it as learning but as a fun experience.