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-In-depth data reporting allows you to easily monitor students’ gameplay, track Common Core proficiency, and view which skills your students have mastered and are struggling with.
-Intervention support helps you plan lessons and tailor instruction.
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Children share a set of iPad devices within your classroom
You share a set of iPad devices with other classrooms
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The working group was inspired by the Clinton Global Initiative and Russell Shilling’s blog post, Play to Learn: Solving a Billion STEM Problems Through Educational Gaming. Solving 1,000,000,000 problems is an inspiring goal, but there will be a ton of planning to make it happen. So glad that we had a seat at the table along with a lot of other smart folks. In the Lean In spirit, the table included some inspiring women whose work you should check out, including Michelle Riconscente (GlassLab), Victoria Van Voorhis (Second Avenue Learning), and Lisa Blackwell (Mindset Works).
The night before I presented at the Ed Games Expo at 1776 in DC, co-sponsored the ESA. There were a ton of great educational games represented, but some of my favorites were: Mission US, Filament Games, PlatinuMath, and Numbershire. Make sure to check them out, too!
And please help bring more attention to games in education by voting for our SXSWedu panel ideas on game design and using data from kids’ gameplay. If you don’t have a SXSW voting account yet, create one here. Today is the last day for voting, so click these buttons now!!!
1. EdTechWomen Leadership Dinner – ISTE Board Member Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach started the evening off by encouraging all of us to embrace our inner girl in becoming stronger leaders, which sparked a rich discussion at my table about how our girlish tendencies to ask questions, be unsure, and get very excited might really help our teams. But we wondered if those same qualities make it more difficult to be respected in external situations such as raising investment. Matt Wallaert, co-founder of GetRaised.com, then took the mic to talk about a different kind of raise, and the importance of using data and logic when asking for an increase in pay. Our table pointed out that in teaching, many are locked into a salary schedule, but these women still need help in advocating for stipends or increased prep time when taking on more responsibility.
3. Butterfly in the Sky – Common Sense Media invited LeVar Burton to share his story and talk about the Kickstarter campaign to relaunch Reading Rainbow in the digital age. It was incredible to hear how passionate he is about education and meeting kids where they are. Back when I was a kid, that meant television, now it’s mobile devices. All he has to say is “But don’t take my word for it,” and I’m transported back in time.
4. Letting Loose with Karaoke – Sometimes it seems like there’s a divide between the folks who make educational technology and those who use it day to day in the classroom. It’s hard to find events that successfully bridge that divide, truly bringing together teachers and tech companies. ISTE tries to bridge that divide, but there ends up being a big split between the sessions and the expo hall. At the EdTechWomen dinner, I was sitting next to a teacher who lamented that there weren’t a lot of teachers involved, mostly women from industry. ISTE Karaoke was almost the opposite ratio, mostly educators with a few of us tech company folks sprinkled in. But I didn’t mind, that’s my kind of crowd – no one parties like teachers and librarians! Reminded me of my regular happy hour when I taught in San Francisco that we’d dubbed, “Teachers Gone Wild.”
I wasn’t sure how they were going to pull off a Karaoke event where all 16,000 ISTE attendees were invited, but they did a great job. Two stages helped split up the crowd, and the live band backing up the main stage was fantastic. Pre-selecting the performers based on video entries guaranteed a higher quality show. And let’s face it, Karaoke is about the unexpected, and no one expects a librarian-type to sing the blues or a Minecraft gamer to belt out a pop anthem. Techy-teachers make for some great Karaoke singers!
5. Device Accessibility – My personal goal this year at ISTE was to learn more about how we could make our games more accessible to a wider range of abilities. How can we make Addimals work better for a child who has trouble seeing or how can Mt. Multiplis work for a child who has limited mobility? I went to several sessions and events targeting UDL and inclusive ed, but my favorite was an overview of the accessibility features of iOS devices by Jennifer Courduff of Azusa Pacific University. She gave some great tips for playing around with these features (most important, don’t turn on VoiceOver unless you’ve enabled the “Accessiblity Shortcut” to turn it off/on with 3 clicks of the home button – otherwise you’ll need to plug in your iPad to turn it off). I’ve attached some of the links from Dr. Courduff’s presentation, but here is one of my favorite videos from the session.
What a whirlwind year it has been! So many exciting events. Here are a couple lessons we’ve learned throughout the year:
Teachers need easy access to great tools
After an exciting launch at ISTE including interviews on local TV followed by the NBC Innovation Challenge, emails started pouring in from teachers who were excited about Addimals’ focus on teaching strategies, but their schools didn’t have a budget for apps. This was particularly heart-breaking for us because we know firsthand how tight classroom budgets leave teachers purchasing resources from their own wallets. Yet in order to become a sustainable company and continue to build great tech for schools, we need a source of revenue. Luckily, our apps are only the first step towards our vision of using game-based learning analytics to help teachers track performance, target intervention, and differentiate instruction. Why not charge schools and districts for the data and make the apps free? Going free meant that tens of thousands of K-2 students were able to learn from Addimals this past school year.
Not all schools are 1:1
We began to hear from our teachers that Addimals worked great for an individual student, but they wanted the app to be personalized for each student. Most of our students were sharing the iPad, taking turns with a small class set or sharing a cart with other classes. If one student was doing really well in the app and then another struggling student took a turn, the game would be too hard. So we got to work designing Addimals 2.0, which includes individual student logins, so students can pick up any iPad and continue playing just where they left off.
Pilot first, dashboard second
With all these students using Addimals, we now had a ton of gameplay data. OK, time to carve out a bunch of development time to build a dashboard, right? Wrong. Our developers were swamped, and there wouldn’t be time to build our platform until summer. But teachers were using the app now, and we knew their feedback would be invaluable. Taking a lesson from the Lean Startup movement, we decided to start small. We took the gameplay data and hand cranked reports for teachers, starting with a few classrooms, growing to over 80 teachers in just a few months. Every two weeks, we generated different reports, getting great feedback from teachers about the types of data they found most helpful. Now we have all of that feedback to guide our development, so we are confident that our Learning Analytics Platform will actually help teachers because we designed it with their help.
This week, we’re headed back to ISTE with our latest multiplication app, Mt. Multiplis, available free for iPad and our Learning Analytics Platform launching for schools in September. Keep an eye out for us in Atlanta to learn more about our apps or share your feedback. Don’t forget to grab some chocolate! Check out our ISTE bucket list to find out what events we’ll be attending. We’d love to chat with you!
We loved reading Jennifer LeGarde’s Bucket List for ISTE 2014 so much that we decided to create our own!
1. EdTechWomen Leadership Dinner For an industry dominated by women (74% of public school teachers are women), we are consistently surprised by how few women there are in educational technology. So we are excited that EdTechWomen is advocating for more women leaders in our field, and we’re looking forward to connecting with other amazing women at this dinner.
2. ISTE Pitch Fest – On the topic of women leaders, we were shocked that last year’s Pitch Fest did not include a single woman founder in its line up. I hope there are some great women founders among those presenting this year. We’re especially looking forward to hearing Lindsey Tropf introducing her company Immersed Games, and to find out more about News-O-Matic and Modular Robotics.
3. ISTE Ignite – ISTE has taken inspiration from the Pecha Kucha movement in which designers share their ideas in 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The slides advance automatically, often leaving the speakers scrambling to finish their thoughts or stuck on a slide with nothing else to say. Kinda nerve-wracking for the presenter, kinda fun for the audience. I’ve seen these style presentations in art and architecture, but I’m interested to see ISTE’s version of the 20 slides in 5 minutes. Will speakers advance their own slides? Or be at the mercy of the automatic advance? There are four of these sessions sprinkled throughout the conference, so I hope to catch at least one.
4. Special Education Innovation Reception – As an advocate for kids who struggle, I’m looking forward to meeting other innovators in the special education space.
5. Startup Pavilion – Since we launched Addimals at ISTE last year, we have a fondness for checking out the latest startup products. We’ll definitely be cruising by the startup pavilion in the expo hall.
6. Explore and Create BYOD – I signed up for a couple of these, including one on Mobile Accessibility Tools and another on UDL with Google Tools. I hope they are as hands-on as they promise to be. We all learn best when it’s hands-on!
7. Posting to Pinterest – Jennifer LeGarde included posting to Pinterest in her bucket list, and I thought it was a great idea. I’ve been using Pinterest for a while to keep track of recipes, diy projects, and nursery design, but I am just discovering how great it is for sharing teaching resources. I’ll be posting to my ISTE 2014 Discoveries board throughout the week. Check it out and start your own ISTE board, so I can grab pins, too!
8. Local TV anyone? – Last year at ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Dana and Rachael got picked up by the local news and were also invited to talk on the morning news show San Antonio Living. This one’s a stretch, but I’m hoping we’ll get picked up on some local news in Atlanta. Any takers?
10. Open to Opportunities – Finally, I’m open to other opportunities that may arise. Any suggestions? Want to meet up at ISTE? Shoot us an email, email@example.com.
We’ve put together a few coloring sheets of our apps that we thought you might like. Share them with any kids you know who love Addimals or Mt. Multiplis. Or spend a few minutes channeling your inner child and color them yourself! Happy Summer!
We have seen first hand how technology can help teachers differentiate their instruction and help struggling students. We are thrilled that Apple recognizes the importance of apps for classrooms and chose to honor Addimal Adventure with this award.
Rachael and I traveled to sunny (yet freezing cold) San Francisco to accept the award, getting a chance to meet tons of other app developers. I was super impressed with all the student developers that we met. One teenage girl I met had built this cool app for a local animal shelter. Basically, the shelter volunteers tweet about the animals as they spend time with them and the app collect the tweets into a stream of images and mini-stories about each dog or cat. How cool!
Read about other student developers here: http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/06/09/apples-200-student-wwdc-attendees-super-excited-about-the-future-of-tech
Download Addimal Adventure or our latest app, Mt. Multiplis here: