A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that YouthSpark Hub is Microsoft's online portal for kids and teens interested in careers that include technology, from game designer to journalist. It contains links to free online classes, developer tools, competitions with significant prizes, and other opportunities that focus on technology with a subtle emphasis on social change. High school-age kids to young adults -- especially those looking to jump-start careers, businesses, and tech skills -- will find not-to-be-missed resources here.
What's it about?
Microsoft YOUTHSPARK HUB hooks kids up with various technology-centered youth programs and opportunities. On the main page, they'll scroll through bright panels with hip photos, infographics, videos, and a blog. You can search by the skill you'd like to gain (for example, "build an app" or "understand a database"), or you can "Find Your Passion" by checking out various occupations (doctor, nonprofit founder). There's also a list of meaty Microsoft-sponsored programs, such as the Imagine Cup, a tech competition, or DigiGirlz, aimed at high school girls who want to know more about careers in tech. Non-Microsoft offerings include MakeYourJob.org, a game-based entrepreneurship program with prizes and professional advisors.
Is it any good?
YouthSpark Hub gathers up Microsoft's extensive educational and social programs and puts them all in one place, where motivated kids, parents, and teachers can access them easily. Although the interface could be more streamlined (all the overlapping layers can be a bit bothersome), there's a straightforward and nearly complete list of the widely diverse offerings, including school-based digital literacy, Microsoft store mini-camps, research blogs, online classes, mentorships, competitions, free software downloads, certification resources, and video instruction. Whew! There are lots of points of entry depending on what your kids are looking for; they can search by age, personal goals (learn to code, run a business), activities (win prizes, get inspired), skills, or job titles. Although non-tech jobs such as doctor, fashion designer, teacher, and environmentalist are included, kids interested in becoming software engineers, game developers, entrepreneurs, or even nonprofit founders are more likely to find what they need here.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Subjects: Science: engineering
Social Studies: citizenship, cultural understanding, global awareness
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, thinking critically
Creativity: combining knowledge, innovation, making new creations
Self-Direction: achieving goals, initiative, set objectives, work to achieve goals
Collaboration: group projects, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Free, Free to try, Paid