A pioneer in providing blended learning tools and game-based learning programs to support educators and build students’ literacy skills and confidence as learners.
The inspiration for Classroom, Inc. came in the early 1990’s. Having recently moved some of its operations to Brooklyn, the Morgan Stanley Group adopted a school in conjunction with the borough’s Academy of Finance program. It soon became clear that the middle and high school students needed more far-reaching support than workplace internships could offer.
Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley was using computer simulations to successfully train some of its staff members. Why couldn’t students benefit from the same kind of active learning? Excited by this possibility, our Founder and Board Chairman Lewis Bernard decided to develop an instructional tool that would engage students while educating them in academic and workplace skills. He and Morgan Stanley colleagues Charlie Snow and Bill Higgins partnered with Columbia’s Teachers College to develop The Parkside Hotel, a software simulation in which students acted as a hotel manager. Soon after it was piloted in two Brooklyn schools, the program had a long waiting list. The success of this early pilot and a desire to expand the opportunities for students and teachers led to the 1991 founding of the nonprofit Classroom, Inc.
Since then, we have grown dramatically. We’ve been in 20 states, and served more than 750,000 students and 12,000 teachers. Today we offer a range of game-based literacy learning programs and high-quality coaching and training for educators to effectively leverage technology in support of student outcomes. Though more technologically-advanced and complex than The Parkside Hotel in components and instructional features, our learning environments are based on the same underpinnings that set in motion Classroom, Inc.’s early success: commitment to an immersion-based pedagogical model, the belief that hands-on project-based learning enhances students’ skills and prepares them for the workplace, and the trust that when students are given meaningful tasks with realistic consequences, they are proud to own their learning and more likely to succeed in school, college, and career.