eSpark Enhancements Lead to More Engagement, Better Outcomes

Three sample AI-generated images on the left and a screenshot of the eSpark Class Library on the right.

Every update to the student experience in eSpark is held to the highest standards of excellence. We follow a rigorous internal testing process. We maintain strong feedback loops with teachers, administrators, and students. We are constantly reviewing, measuring, and validating data to ensure eSpark continues to help students grow. But how do we know the changes we are making are good for student learning? Let’s take a look at two recent examples of new student engagement features that are already delivering strong results this school year.

AI-Generated Images in Choice Texts

The whole idea behind Choice Texts is to transform a traditionally dull reading comprehension activity into something that captivates and motivates students by appealing to their interests. Real-time text generation was a good first step, but adding imagery was an obvious fast-follow for us. Reading about things that appeal to you is great. For young readers, seeing those stories brought to life through illustrations is a whole new level of awesome.

Before and after:

Side-by-side screenshots of a Choice Text story without an image and a story about the same themes with an image.
On the left is a screenshot of a Choice Text story without an image. On the right, a story about the same themes with an image.

That said, “awesome” is a pretty subjective term and doesn’t really tell us anything about whether images have an impact on student motivation or outcomes. Thankfully, we have a more objective way to measure that sentiment. As with most new features, we randomly assigned a holdout group while validating that images were feasible, scalable, and not causing any larger issues within the eSpark experience. When we compared the eSpark usage data of the “no images” holdout group to those who did have access to images, the results were compelling.

A bar graph showing a side-by-side analysis of usage and engagement metrics for students with and without live gen images in Choice Texts.

Students who got the AI-generated images were significantly more enthusiastic about creating and sharing Choice Texts stories. Perhaps more importantly, that enthusiasm carried over to their motivation in eSpark as a whole, as they attempted and completed more standard-aligned Quests over the same period of time.

The early results look promising—AI-generated illustrations for choice-driven stories make eSpark an even more valuable addition to the classroom.

Class Library Likes

Eagle-eyed eSparkers may have noticed a subtle change to the Class Library experience in November. Many students received access to a new feature that empowered them to “like” their favorite stories in the Class Library.

The Class Library is a unique social component within the eSpark experience. Students can read stories their classmates are proud of. They can also broaden their horizons by exploring topics and themes they may not have thought of on their own. The “like” feature builds on that socialization by encouraging students to rate the stories that were most interesting to them.

Notice the hearts at the top-right of every story card. Filled-in hearts represent stories this student has “liked.”

As it turns out, that minor update also had a meaningful impact on how students interacted with Choice Texts, the Class Library, and eSpark in general. Students who had access to the feature created and shared more stories than those who did not. Once again, that increased enthusiasm translated to students attempting and completing more Quests in eSpark.

Data like this offers deep insight into how even the smallest changes can lead to better outcomes. It’s gratifying to see how students are responding.

Making a Difference With Full-Spectrum Personalization

eSpark helps students grow in math, reading, and writing. We do this through our unique approach to differentiating content based on student levels, interests, and responses. We’ll continue to keep you in the loop on how the program evolves. Big thanks to the entire eSpark community for providing us with valuable feedback every day to guide our efforts!

Ready to see student-centered learning in action?