Building Blocks for College Readiness


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At a recent "capstone" convening, our Wave II grantees shared updates on their projects through descriptive posters. Click through the slides to see snapshots of their work developing and scaling interactive learning modules aligned to the Common Core. For more about Wave II, visit:

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Building Blocks for College Readiness

  1. 1. Building Blocks for College Readiness An Overview of NGLC Wave II GranteesIn January 2011, Next Generation Learning Challenges putout a call for interactive, digital content and tools alignedto the forthcoming Common Core Standards. Wave II,“Building Blocks for College Readiness,” challengedinnovators and developers to create and refine learningmodules for 7th – 9th grade core content that could bemixed and matched as part of a larger curriculum. Morethan 230 people applied, describing games, simulations,online curriculum, and assessment tools for teachers andstudents. Of them, NGLC selected 19 final winners in June2011.The winning grant projects include online simulations that immerse students in authentic, real-worldexperiences (helping them draft political arguments, run sports networks, or work on a virtual powergrid) and games that weave math and literacy into engaging scenarios such as a health mystery on anisland, an alien invasion, or an epic quest. They include platforms to help teachers create and shareCommon Core-aligned content and assessment tools for providing feedback and support to bothteachers and students.For more than a year, these grantees have worked to refine, test, and further scale their innovations. InDecember 2012, we gathered them together to learn more about their work, their challenges, and theirplans for the future. The following images are from posters they each developed to showcase theirinnovations at the convening. By the Numbers: • 47,439 Students served by Wave II innovations during the grant period • 11 Projects that target math, primarily • 3 Projects that target STEM (physics and engineering), primarily • 3 Projects that target literacy, primarily • 1 Project that targets civics • 10 ―Proof of concept‖ projects • 9 ―Early stage adoption‖ projects To read individual grantee profiles, scan the QR code above.
  2. 2. CAST, Inc.Universal Design for Learning ModulesCAST, in collaboration with science curriculumdeveloper Education Development Center(EDC), has created a series of next generationlearning modules (or curriculum units) thataddress the urgent call for high-quality sciencecontent tied to the Common Core Standards atthe high school level. Termed FoundationScience-UDL Physics, these learning modulesare based on EDC’s Foundation Sciencecurriculum and comprise 8 to 12 weeks ofinstruction. We’re looking for partners to help us: • Create a sustainability plan • Expand analytic system • Go mobile • Advertise and marketKey Accomplishments: ―This is mad work, but its easier…‖ –9 th grade student after using UDL modules• Completion and launch of 12 week UDL Physics curriculum for free and public use;• Research and evaluation indicates significant promise of modules to broaden participation and physics outcomes among diverse students Contact: Gabrielle Schlichtmann,
  3. 3. Classroom, Inc.The Sports NetworkThe Sports Network-2 is a 20-hour online literacy game thatputs students in the role of managing director of a sportsmedia company and presents them with a rich array ofreading and workplace experiences. Within a virtualsimulation, students move through five online game questsand collaborate offline in jam sessions. As they encounterauthentic workplace challenges, they must analyzeinformational text in order to reach their ultimate goal ofdrawing a large teen audience to The Sports Network-2.Based on their results, they are seamlessly directed to asupport or challenge activity, increasing their mastery of thematerial. Partnering with Filament Games and the LearningGames Network, Classroom, Inc. has delivered an onlineliteracy game in which students’ reading skills arecontinuously being assessed based on four 8th gradeCommon Core State Standards for reading informationaltext.Key Accomplishments:• Classroom, Inc. (CI) successfully developed and pilot tested Reading in the Real World: The Sports Network-2 (TSN-2)—one of the only learning games focused on CCSS in Reading Informational Text--with over 400 NYC and Chicago students in just seven months from inception to completion.• Teachers reported that TSN-2 was a valuable and engaging learning experience for their students, and we learned students can read the rigorous kind of text the CCSS calls for within the environment of in an engaging learning game. “My students . . . absolutely love using [TSN-2]. I have students who are very low level readers, but are excelling at this program.”• TSN-2 embedded assessment results are strongly correlated to MAP testing results, validating TSN-2 as a tool that truly addresses and assesses CCSS in Reading Informational Text.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Secure investments and funding to develop and disseminate three new Reading in the Real World next generation literacy programs for middle school students.• Raise awareness and distribute The Sports Network-2 to urban schools nationwide.• Plan and execute broad dissemination of our new Reading in the Real World next generation literacy programs into urban middle schoolsand transition to high school programs. Contact: Jane Canner,
  4. 4. DaVinci MindsWhyPower Integrated Math, Science, Career Education for Middle SchoolWhyPower improves learning outcomes andpromotes 21st century skills through an integratedmiddle school math, science and careerscurriculum. The platform for delivery is Whyville,the learning-based virtual world for teens andtweens. In WhyPower, students interact with avirtual power grid, learn math and science, andearn virtual energy career badges. WhyPowerlesson plans are cross-matched to Texasstandards in math, science, and career educationand to Common Core math standards, and includea tool to connect academic learning to local careerpathways and jobs.Key Accomplishments:• By the Numbers: 880 students, 650 evaluations, 17 schools in three ISDs• Three new lesson plans and teacher training videos• New Power Planner activity focuses on fractions, ratios and proportions• Embedded assessment student and class profiles• Statistically significant improvement in career awareness among middle schoolers and in math interest among previously disinterested students• Two publications in progressWe’re looking for partners to help us:• Promote and sell the WhyPower program around the U.S.• Create bundles of like-minded, complementary products Contact:
  5. 5. Education Development CenterWordplay GamesWordplay Games is a suite of narratively andconceptually linked online games that useshigh-frequency social studies and sciencewords to help students develop vocabularyskills. Code Invaders is a single-player gamein which players familiarize themselves withmultiple-meaning words they will use as theyfulfill their mission. Cipher Force, a teamgame, pushes students to think more explicitlyabout the different meaning of words. Thesocial aspect of Cipher Force also encouragesplayers to articulate and reflect on their ideasabout the words and their various meanings.Key Accomplishments:• Students say that this tool is fun to play and gets you thinking about words and what they mean.• Teachers like this tool because it gives their students an opportunity to rehearse a specific dimension of reading comprehension that isn’t otherwise addressed in middle-school classrooms outside of remedial reading instruction.• We think it’s valuable because teachers think it meets an important need, students enjoy playing it, and evidence from game play tells us students are engaging in the kinds of thinking we want to support.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Spread the word about Wordplay Games. Contact: Jay Bachhuber,
  6. 6. Gooruwww.goorulearning.orgGooru is a free search engine for learningdeveloped by a non-profit organizationwhose mission is to honor the human rightto education. Students and teachers useGooru to search for collections ofmultimedia resources, digital textbooks,videos, games and quizzes created byeducators in the Goorucommunity. Collections are aligned tostandards and currently cover every 5 th-12thgrade math, science and social sciencetopic, with more subjects coming soon.Key Accomplishments:• Gooru has made its way across the United States and the rest of the world with over 120,000 teachers and students using Gooru to create collections, study with enriched quizzes, and teach and learn.• Gooru has millions of educational resources and thousands of collections and quizzes that are aligned to Common Core Standards for Math and California Science Curriculum Standards.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Leverage Gooru Technology in their own applications and products• Develop their curricula, share their expertise and materials through Gooru Contact:
  7. 7. iCivics, Inc.Drafting BoardiCivics is an online civic education platformfounded and led by Justice Sandra DayOConnor. We developed Drafting Board toadvance content-based literacy, criticalthinking, and give students the tools they needto argue effectively about issues that matter tothem. Drafting Board modules explore civicscontent more deeply, teach skills required bythe Common Core Standards, engagestudents in deeper learning, and ultimatelyprepare them for college, career, andcitizenship.Key Accomplishments:• An independent evaluation of more than 4,5000 students was conducted by Tufts University and found Drafting Board increased engagement and improved argument writing.• iCivics resources, including Drafting Board, are free and accessible. Educator accounts provide teachers with customized tracking, student assignment capabilities, and intra-class discussion functionality.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Distribute and raise awareness about iCivics’ free and engaging resources.Contact: Jeff Curley,
  8. 8. Imagine EducationKo’s JourneyThe ancient approach of teaching through story-telling takes on new meaning in Ko’s Journey, aweb-based game that sends students on a rite-of-passage journey filled with purposeful, meaningfulmath that’s aligned with the Common Core StateStandards. Fast becoming ―America’s FavoriteMath Game,‖ Ko’s Journey is currently the onlymath game where problems are fully integratedinto the context of a story. Online play iscomplemented by live-action videos explaininghow the math mastered in the game relates to real-life situations and standardized tests. Studentprogress and assessment are automated andaccessed through a secure administratordashboard.Key Accomplishments:• We rebuilt Ko’ Journey into a truly viable commercial product.• We partnered with Florida Virtual School to integrate Ko’s Journey into one of their on- line math courses.• We launched a pilot program with 10 low-proficiency schools across the nation that included a research study with over 1000 students.• We built a feature-length documentary about our pilot program interweaved with an exploration into the pedagogical depths of why America’s students are failing at math.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Find and secure additional funding.• Make district-level connections.• Generate press and media. Contact: Scott Laidlaw,
  9. 9. Watch, teach, assign. 2,000 Common Core lessons.LearnZillion is an online, collaborative, Common Core curriculum platform withlessons, resources, assessments, and activities created by some of the country’sbest teachers. Our platform includes:• Nearly 2,000 Common Core lessons for both math and English/language arts• Videos that highlight pedagogical content knowledge—the expertise to demonstrate new concepts in ways that make sense to students• Downloadable resources and online assessment items to compliment lessons and measure student learningKey Accomplishments:• 2,000 Common Core lessons with activities, assessments and resources• 35,000+ teacher users across the U.S. and growing strong• Used nationwide for professional development and personalized learning• Endorsed by state DOEs including New York, Georgia, and CaliforniaWe’re looking for partners to help us:• Raise awareness. We want teachers to know that this resource is available to them. It’s easy to use, it saves them time, and it puts great instruction at their fingertips so that they can better meet the needs of their students. Contact: Eric Westendorf,
  10. 10. Louisiana Department of EducationLouisiana Virtual SchoolThe Louisiana Department of EducationsLouisiana Virtual School (LVS) programincorporates a multitude of twenty-first centurydigital tools which engage students in atechnology-rich environment and access to Space forCCSS learning modules. LVS uses several Phototools that are open educational resources oravailable through an educational licensepurchase, such as GeoGebra, LiveScribeSmartPens, Wimba and Atomic LearningTutorials to enhance courses originallydeveloped for LVS.Key Accomplishments:• Developed CCSS aligned learning modules for Descriptive Statistics• Developed interactive learning activities that would engage students and address diverse learning styles• Analyzed EOC Test Scores as a component of program evaluation• Planned new directions with launching of iPad Pilot• Planning repository access of modules• Exploring statewide rollout to stakeholdersWe’re looking for partners to help us:• Incorporate digital game-based activities with assessments to enhance student understanding and motivation. Contact: Margo Murphy,
  11. 11. MITThe Labyrinth ChallengeLabyrinth Challenge is a nationwidecompetition to encourage and evaluate theuse of a puzzle adventure game whichteaches middle school mathematics. Playingon teams, students will not only learn the bigideas of pre-algebra, but they’ll alsodemonstrate twenty-first century skills such ascollaboration, problem solving, and medialiteracy. The contest will be open to studentsregardless of ability level, and all schools thatcompete will receive recognition.Key Accomplishments:• Reached over 25,000 students and 1,800 teachers nationwide• Game design encouraged self directed learning, experimentation, and iterative investigation• Puzzles were aligned to Common Core pre-algebra standards and taught practical analytical, computational and problem-solving skills.• Quality art, narrative, and gameplay fostered engagement and persistenceWe’re looking for partners to help us:• Share innovative methods for game- and project-based• learning• Address the challenges of implementing for evaluating massively multiuser projects for minors• Discuss methods of fostering the process of scientific analysis and discovery, rather than just STEM content Contact: Caitlin Feeley,
  12. 12. NC State UniversityCRYSTAL ISLAND: Lost InvestigationCrystal Island: Lost Investigation is a game-based learning environment for middle gradeliteracy and microbiology. The game featuresa science mystery about an epidemic that hasstruck a team of researchers stationed on aremote tropical island. The student’s objectiveis to identify the spreading illness, recoverscattered pieces of another scientist’s notes,and recommend a treatment plan. To solvethe mystery, students synthesize informationfrom conversations with virtual characters,books and articles comprised of complexinformational text, and test results from virtuallaboratory equipment.Key Accomplishments:• Crystal Island is aligned with curricular standards in reading and science, and it has garnered enthusiastic responses from school partners for reaching students “where they are” by using state-of-the-art game technologies.• Crystal Island was successfully deployed in two rural school districts with over 1200 students in a multi-week curricular unit.• Classroom studies revealed statistically significant improvements in students’ reading and science test scores.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Expand school-based deployments nationally while addressing emerging curricular standards in reading and science. Contact: James Lester,
  13. 13. SMALLab Learning, LLCSMALLab Learning creates embodied learningenvironments that integrate innovative virtualtechnologies and contemporary research from thelearning sciences. Using skeletal tracking sensors– like Kinect for Xbox – we design content that iskinesthetic and gets students out of their seats.We have created a curriculum on Simple Machinesusing gesturally congruent movements to teachabout the conservation of energy and mechanicaladvantage in a highly collaborative manner. Inaddition, new, in-process assessment measureswere created.Key Accomplishments:• Creation of multi-day curriculum on Simple Machines.• Dissemination of 7 original KINECT games on Gears and Levers (available for free at• Creation of ASSET survey and in-game process metrics.• Recruitment of hundreds of 7 th and 8th graders for an ongoing efficacy study.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Distribute content to middle and high schools; especially high tech schools.• Partners interested in developing innovative embodied content for science and language arts. Contact: David Birchfield, Mina Johnson,
  14. 14. Thirteen/WNETGet the Math is a free resource that mixes video and webinteractivity to help middle and high school students developalgebraic thinking skills for solving real-world problems.Drawing on conventions of popular reality shows, videosegments begin with profiles of charismatic youngprofessionals working in fashion, videogame development,music production, the restaurant industry, basketball, andspecial effects. They pose challenges connected to their jobsto two teams of teens. Viewers can tackle the challengesthemselves using interactive tools and hints before watchinga video that shows the teams’ solutions. Students then candeepen their understanding of the algebra concepts exploredthrough additional interactive challenges.Teachers can visitthe website for lessons plans aligned to the Common CoreContent and Practices, student handouts, solutions withmultiple strategies, and a training video showing how to useGet the Math in the classroom.Key Accomplishments :• An independent evaluation found that GTM prompted more sophisticated algebraic reasoning in students, while boosting STEM interest and learning. After using GTM, two-thirds of the students said they could name ways algebra is used in the world beyond the classroom.• WNET expanded adoption in the 2011-2012 school year, reaching thousands of students through training and implementation efforts.• More than 69,000 unique visitors have visited the GTM website, generating more than 390,000 pageviewsto date.• The program has aired on public television stations in nearly 50 percent of all US markets.• A partnership with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has enabled us to reach their national and regional educator networks through e-blasts, publications, and a webinar.• GTM continues to garner awards, including the NETA Award for Instructional Media, New York Emmy, Webby Award, Parents’ Choice Award, and a nomination for the 2012 Japan Prize.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Spread word about Get the Math to more teachers and administrators across the country, and train them in using the materials.• Develop additional modules covering more of the Algebra I curriculum.Contact: Jill Peters,
  15. 15. Texas Tech UniversityAPS4MathThe main objective of this ―proof of concept‖project is to increase students mathematicsproblem solving (modeling) skills by incorporatingmodularized adaptive practice based on learnercharacteristics (e.g., learning performance). An zzxczxc Space foradaptive web based tutorial was tailored andincorporated into high school and middle school Photomathematics classrooms. A key characteristic ofthe tutorial is the integration of assessment andteaching components. While students solve With APS4Math students: • study algebra problems atproblems, their knowledge and skills are their own pace,continuously monitored, and assessment items • receive timely hints, feedbackand scaffolds are adapted to student knowledge and support,and skill levels. • have access step-by-step support and • can self-monitor their progressKey Accomplishments:• Initial evaluations of the tutorial support the effectiveness of the tools showing significant improvement in student problem solving skills.• Learning gains were substantially higher for students with low prior knowledge.• Field observations indicated that when students use the tutorial, they are actively engaged in learning process.• Participating teachers liked the tutorial and requested to use the tutorial in subsequent semesters and for additional courses.We’re looking for partners to help us:• Write more practice questions that are aligned with state Mathematicsstandards.• Assist with the writing of various question components. Contact: Fethi Inan,
  16. 16. Contact: Beverly Woolf,
  17. 17. University of South Florida St. Petersburg SunBay Digital MathematicsSunBay Digital Mathematics uses dynamicrepresentations (graphs, tables, equations, andpictorial simulations in motion) to engage middlegrades learners in complex mathematicsconcepts. Within a curricular activity system,teacher practice is impacted by the intensiveprofessional development needed to engagestudents in learning challenging mathematicsusing research-based replacement learningmodules. SunBay Digital Mathematicsemphasizes foundational ideas critical tostudents’ deep conceptual understanding ofmathematics, helping students at all skill levelsbring these concepts to life. Key Accomplishments: • Student learning gains • Two-tiered professional development • Changes in teachers’ technological pedagogical content knowledge • Institutional changes We’re looking for partners to help us: • Discuss the dilemma of a quick fix rather than the sustainable change that comes as the result of providing an intervention comprising of a comprehensive curricular activity system. Contact: Vivian Fueyo,
  18. 18. University of Wisconsin-MadisonCoMPASS - PhysicsCoMPASS-Physics uses a technology-rich, interactivelearning environment that enhances digital and scienceliteracy and promotes a deep understanding of sciencecontent. Available tools include: a digital textbook;design challenges; and embedded assessments inscientists’ journals - where students record data, writepredictions and questions, and generate explanationsusing evidence-based justifications.Key Accomplishments:• Participating students in grades 6-8 in all three school districts made significant gains on tests of content knowledge and science practices• Students especially with low and medium levels of prior knowledge of content and science practices made significant gains from pre- to posttest with large effect sizes• Waunakee Community School and Monona Grove School Districts cite CoMPASS as an important influence on students’ overall gains in science achievement on standardized assessments• Many participating students expressed confidence and interest in becoming engineers: • “The science program will help me a lot. … This helped me to choose my career for in the future. Engineering is really fun and I think being an engineer is right for me.” • “…knowing this would change my life because I would have a better chance of getting a job or maybe even going to college. Or I might decide to become an engineer and I would get the job…”• Teachers expressed keen interest in continuing the project. Teacher feedback on external evaluations highlight strengths of project: • “Science used to be a memorization of vocabulary and facts. It is now finding the relationships between ideas and using the important vocabulary on a day to day basis. Students also collaborate, discuss ideas, analyze data, and learn real science skills.” • “The students are learning the content in a real, deep, motivating, engaging way.” • “The students liked the idea of thinking like scientist(s) and engineers. They enjoyed the computer simulations and were eager to explore on their own.”We’re looking for partners to help us fund the:• Development and testing of a CoMPASSeTextbook for tablets• Development and pilot testing of life science materials• Continuation and expansion of CoMPASS-Physics in Milwaukee Public Schools Contact: SadhanaPuntambekar,
  19. 19. Contact:David Burghardt, m.d.burghardt@hofstra.eduDeborah Hecht, dhecht@gc.cuny.eduJennie Chiu,
  20. 20. Worcester Polytechnic Institute A Formative Assessment Tool for Teachers. Detailed data Teachers select Students get allows teachers or create feedback as to adjust questions and they workwhile instruction and assign them in a teachers students to problem set. monitor their change the way progress. they are learning.It all starts with the teacher. "The conversations we have as a class analyzing Awareness Training Support the data are quite HI! meaningful. I can now say Ill take care of that I can not imagine him! Ill sit with him and go teaching without through the slides you sent. ASSISTments. Having a Thanks! Adrienne daily pulse on what my students truly understand Users Share is more than a dream come true."Key Accomplishments: • Developed online professional development • Doubled the number of users • Developed a plan to take ASSISTments to 1 million students • Created an API to allow integration with others (so SIS’s can pay us to allow them to pull ASSISTments data into their grade-books). • Created relationships with business partners (e.g., School Information Systems, publishers, and non-profit organizations like NAESP and CFY). • Bid on Race to the Top, Ohio and MA IIS to provide ASSISTments to 3 million students. • Applied for and won a $3.5 million grant to test the effectiveness of ASSISTments. • Won ONR funding with another NGLC grantee to work together.We’re looking for partners to: • Bid with us on state-level and district-level vendor contracts. Contact: • Use our API for assessments on their platforms. Cristina Heffernan • Incorporate ASSISTment data into their School Information Systems.