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March 2014 e-ClassNotes

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Five Games Linked to CCSS
There’s been a lot of talk about educational content being truly aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The team at Graphite is helping teachers find the best digital tools to use in the classroom. A recent post in MindShift lists five games that sync to the standards, including our very own, The Sports Network-2.
SXSWedu: Tech, Teachers,
and Texas!

We experienced SXSWedu in all its glory (and lots of BBQ!). We presented a talk to some seriously inquisitive and innovative teachers in the Playground—the hands-on learning space—about the promise of embedded assessment within game-based learning.It was hard to do, but here are our top four edtech takeaways as it relates to our learning games, research, and support for educators:

Keep it personal: Personalized learning and differentiated instruction are increasingly important and easier to do with technological advances.

Know your audience: We must make tools and content that serve students and educators. Think about how to engage your users.

Show them outcomes, and they will come: Teachers, parents, administrators, and district leaders want tools and content that will have an impact on student achievement.

Work on the gap: The digital divide and issues around equity must drive the edtech sector.Learn more about the four takeaways.

EdTech Demo Days:

We received a coveted spot to demo After the Storm at the Education Industry Summit in Washington, DC. This demo fair connected us to superintendents and other district leads interested in bringing technology to the classroom. And it resonated with attendees, as one article cited Classroom, Inc. among 15 promising digital tools.

Each month, we will feature something new and exciting about the development of After the Storm—the first in a series of new game-based learning programs designed to middle-level Common Core State Standards in reading and writing.
This month we’re introducing you to the storyline and first embedded assessment. After the Storm takes place in the fictional community of Port Douglas, a mid-sized city that has just experienced a devastating hurricane. Students assume the role of editor-in-chief of The Daily Byte, an online news magazine serving the community. Upon arriving at work on the day after the storm, students must get their office back up and running and get critical information out to the community. One of the initial tasks they must complete is an embedded assessment activity, designed to CCSS 6.4 (vocabulary) that asks students to find the missing
words for an important article about safety conditions that has been damaged in the rain. Students select the right words to complete the article, while data on their performance is fed into the teacher dashboard. Teachers then can use this data to identify individual problem areas, or standards that need to be reinforced.We’re excited to be leveraging the latest gaming technology to help educators personalize learning and expose students to techniques featured in next generation assessments. Check back in next month when we give you more of the inside scoop on After the Storm.

Partner Focus
Mentoring in Medicine: Blending Learning with the Real World

Classroom, Inc. has established a new partnership with Mentoring in Medicine, Inc. (MIM). MIM is a nonprofit whose mission is to help students become competitive applicants to and graduates from health profession schools and to increase health literacy. As a way to fulfill this mission, MIM offers both in-school and afterschool programs that include opportunities for students to meet doctors and other health professionals, as well as a virtual summer school.

Working together with five high schools in the Bronx, Classroom, Inc. is providing The Community Clinic—one of our game-based simulations where students play the role of a physician’s assistant. The simulation helps students collect and analyze data related to patients’ ailments, exercise their decision-making skills critical to any workplace, and learn deeply about the role of the clinic in the broader community. This partnership showcases some of the best in blending online learning games with offline, real-world experiences.

What we're reading

How to Select the Best Digital
Content, EdSurge:
One DC-based educator defines four guiding principles all educators should use when searching for and selecting digital content.School Leader Explains Where
EdTech Partnerships Go Wrong,
Education Week:
What do schools really want from edtech companies? Humility, synergy, sustainability, and accountability.How does your state rank on digital learning policy? Check out the latest report card from Digital Learning Now! that measures 10 different areas of quality digital learning.

The SAT Gets an Overhaul: The big announcement from The College Board has been dominating headlines. Access this handy side-by-side chart of the old and new test from the Washington Post, as well as learn about the story behind the changes from the NY Times.

We’re making our plans for various events over the next couple months. Want to meet up with us?
Email: CInewsletter@classroominc.orgTweet at us: @ClassroomInc
Sandbox Summit:
Cambridge, MA March 24-25
Yale School of Management Education Leadership Conference: New Haven, CT April 3-4
Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color Annual Conference:
Jackson, MS April 23-25