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August e-ClassNotes

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Meet Anne-Marie!
We recently added a rock star to our research team with the hire of Anne-Marie Hoxie. Anne-Marie will evaluate the success of our programs by contributing to user experience and usability testing of new products, and will advise the organization on the latest research in online learning games. We sat down with Anne-Marie to learn more about her:
  1. How did your work at the NYC Department of Education (DOE) help you understand what teachers need most right now?

    I had two different roles while I was with the DOE. When I was focusing on the research activities for the iZone, it was clear that some of our NYC school teachers are eager to be part of the discussion on innovation and want to have an active voice in decision making, however they often find it very challenging to seek out such opportunities with the competing demands that they are juggling each day. It was often best to ensure these opportunities would count towards the PD requirements that teachers have, to hold sessions during times when they didn’t have to be in the classroom, and to provide on-demand access to support when trying out new technology and innovative strategies.

    I also worked on the development and rollout of the new teacher evaluation system during its first year. This work made very clear to me how teachers can become disconnected and de-motivated about student assessment. There have been several news articles stating that many teachers are not supportive of the Common Core. But I believe this is actually a reflection of how the Common Core assessments were introduced into schools with high stakes for students and for teachers before taking the time to really allow teachers to master the standards for themselves. More tools and support around the standards is key for teachers.

  2. What is most exciting about the research possibilities in game-based learning?

    I love how games can make learning fun and interesting for students and for teachers. There is huge potential in this field and I think the research is just one part of that! What’s intriguing to me, for one, is the ability to provide real-time data and feedback to teachers and to students about their progress. Regular feedback has been shown to help foster motivation and improve outcomes. Also, the amount of data that exists in game-based learning environments is really exciting. It holds a lot of promise for measuring constructs like persistence with authentic data linked directly to students’ choices within the game.

  3. When you’re not deep in the weeds of edu-data, what might we find you doing?

    Tending my tiny balcony garden in Brooklyn or practicing my violin (I just started lessons last year!).

Welcome to Classroom, Inc. Anne-Marie! Keep an eye out on our news page for new research and studies on our programs.

Send us to SXSWedu!
Last year, the team at SXSWedu hosted us in the Playground where we presented on the power of embedded assessments in games. The conference stands to grow even larger this year, with a diverse array of sessions and learning experiences for attendees. We need your vote to help our session stand out!

About Our Session: For the second year in a row, we issued digital badges through the Chicago City of Learning to students who used our learning games in Chicago Public Schools’ Summer Acceleration Program. Badges can empower our most underserved children by providing recognition of their accomplishments and pathways to lifelong learning. And, acknowledging anytime/anyplace learning is a key piece to closing opportunity gaps that persist across the country. We want to share these lessons with the education community at SXSWedu 2015. Vote today for our session, Badging Across a City: Evidence, Access & Scale, by giving us a thumbs up!

As more cities work on replicating the efforts in Chicago, it’s critical to help all stakeholders learn how to maximize the impact of a city-wide system of learning. Thanks for your vote!

Games in Education: 4 Things Game Designers Can Learn from Teachers

Earlier this month, Anne Richards, VP of Product Development, attended the Games in Education Conference in Troy, NY alongside 200 classroom teachers and educational game developers. Below is an excerpt from her must-read reflections:

Why don’t game designers and developers spend more time with classroom teachers?

After all, it stands to reason that we have a lot in common. Teachers face many of the same challenges and opportunities that game designers do: they spend their days grappling with how to make curricula digestible for kids; they struggle to engage an often skeptical audience; they are frequently faced with staggering budgetary and technological constraints; and, mostly, they long to see kids engaged and excited about what they’re doing and their ability to do it.

Read the rest of Anne’s post.

#FirstDay

We all have them: maybe it’s recalling those anxious dreams about what our teacher will be like or what classes will be the toughest; maybe it’s a special shopping trip with Grandma that we made every August. No matter what the memory is, back-to-school time always drums up some type of nostalgia.

Throughout the first few weeks of September, we’ll be sharing Classroom, Inc. staff’s memories of the first day of school. Join the conversation on Twitter and tell us about your fondest #firstday memories.

Partner Focus

Before we head back to school, we would like to thank all of our incredible partners from our summer of learning. These schools and organizations below helped us provide engaging, rigorous content to more than 2,000 students in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York City, and West Palm Beach.

New York City

Bergen Beach Youth Organization at P.S. 317Q
Cobble Hill School of American Studies
High School of Sports Management
I.S. 206 Anne Mersereau/Good Shepherd Services
Immaculate Conception School
Incarnation School
John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School
Medgar Evers College Preparatory School
Queens Vocational and Technical High School
Richmond Hill High School
The Urban Assembly Unison School
NYC Department of Youth & Community Development
Aspira of New York at P.S. 100
Directions for Our Youth at Cypress Hills Community Center
Joseph Miccio Community Center
P.S. 134 Hollis
Queens Community House, Inc. at Young Women’s Leadership Network
The Boys’ Club of New York at Camp Cromwell
YMCA of Greater New York Flushing at JHS 194
YMCA of Greater New York Dodge at P.S. 261
Summer Quest
C.S. 211 The Bilingual Magnet School/The Children’s Aid Society
P.S./I.S. 218 Rafael Hernandez Dual Language Magnet School/BELL
Milwaukee
Saint Anthony SchoolSchool District of Palm Beach County
Forest Hill Community High School
Glades Central Community High School

Chicago Public Schools
Charles P. Steinmetz Academic Centre High School
Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School
Christian Fenger Academy High School
David G. Farragut Career Academy High School
Edwin G. Foreman High School
George H. Corliss High School
John M. Harlan Community Academy High School
Manley Career Academy High School
Nicholas Senn High School
Orr Academy High School
Paul Robeson High School
South Shore School of Leadership High School
Thomas Kelly High School
Wells Community Academy High School
Wendell Phillips Academy High School
William J. Bogan High School

What we're reading

Check out the full list of news, blogs, and reports that caught our eye this month in our August RoundUP.

Why the Education Economy is the Next Big Thing for the American Workforce, Fast Company:
This article argues “it’s the edu-conomy, stupid”—and that unless we get the education system and the economy working together more effectively, America will relinquish its role as leader of the free world.State Tests Show NYC Made Bigger Gains in Reading than Average, WNYC:
Students across NY state made gains on math in grades 3—8 and remained stagnant in ELA; but students from NYC made slightly better gains showing an average gain of two percentage points across all grade levels on ELA and four points on math.

The States with the Best and Worst School Systems, Huffington Post:
A new education ranking released this month found that students in NJ are receiving a much better education than students in MS.

We’re making our plans for various events over the next couple months. Want to meet up with us?
Email: CInewsletter@classroominc.org
Tweet at us: @ClassroomInc
EdNet:
Baltimore, MD: Sept. 28—30
Council of Great City Schools:
Milwaukee, WI: Oct. 22-26, 2014