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KU professor developing video game with ed-tech company to prepare students with disabilities for STEM careers
LAWRENCE — At some point in every student’s life, he or she will be asked about career plans. At the same time, there is a growing national need to improve career readiness for young people, while recruiting talented individuals to careers in science, technology, math and engineering, known as the STEM fields.
A University of Kansas researcher is teaming up with an educational software development company to produce a new video game to prepare individuals with disabilities for transition to postsecondary education and STEM careers.
James Basham, associate professor of special education at KU, is teaming up with The Language Express Inc. to develop Teen Career Pathway, an interactive video game designed to interest young people in STEM careers while preparing them for life after school. The work is supported by a Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Research program. The grant is an extension of a Phase I grant The Language Express Inc. received to create digital content designed to help educate young adults about workforce opportunities.
“We are excited to start this project, it provides a great opportunity for supporting students with disabilities in investigating various STEM careers,” Basham said. “These funds provide another opportunity for us to develop a partnership and make an impactful contribution to families, schools and society.”
Teen Career Pathway uses the Universal Design for Learning framework to teach young people critical life, social and academic skills related to a STEM or facilities management career. Players can explore various careers, learn requirements of those careers and spend a virtual day in the life of an employee in a STEM career work environment.
It is personalized to each player and begins with that students’ avatar working through a day starting at home, completing tasks, making decisions, preparing for work and deciding how to get to work. Decisions are based on time taken to complete previous tasks. A virtual career mentor provides the player real time feedback and advice as he or she proceeds through the game. At the job site, the mentor describes that day’s tasks and events, which relate to the opening scenario. Using industry standard vocabulary, the mentor explains the tasks the student is expected to complete.
The game features tools to monitor student progress toward Individual Education Plan goals, which can be exported. An interactive learning environment motivates students to stay on task, and “sandbox” gameplay allows players to experiment with variables, while orientation tools remind students of their place in the game.
Teen Career Pathway is designed to enhance learning, reduce school costs and increase efficacy of students’ transition plans. It aligns with Common Core, National Engineering and National Council on Disability Standards and provides students, teachers and parents with individualized assessment information related to student performance. Each time a student plays, the game ends with detailed analysis of the student’s task completion in the game and suggestions for improvement.
“It is clear that engaging kids in video games is a great way to support learning. Working with Language Express on video games can support great opportunities to advance understanding of STEM careers for kids as well as help support meaningful contribution to understanding the dynamics of video game integration in schools,” Basham said.
Researchers at KU and Virtual Learning Environments Consulting are testing Teen Career Pathway with middle and high school students across the country as part of the Phase II grant. Both Basham and The Language Express Inc. have a history of developing games designed to improve student performance and support positive behavior interventions and social-emotional learning.
The Language Express Inc. is a San Diego-based ed-tech company dedicated to general and special education and the areas of character education.
“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the National Science Foundation, and we are eager to introduce a new way for students to virtually explore potential career choices with more depth and interaction,” said Marc Zimmerman, founder and CEO of The Language Express Inc.
The Social Express named a “Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product” by District Administration readers
The Social Express named a “Readers’ Choice Top 100 Product” by District Administration readers
Nominations from top K12 leaders led to the selection of products that enhance learning across the country
San Diego, California – December 1, 2016 — The Social Express has been recognized for making a positive difference in education by K12 leaders who named it to District Administration magazine’s “Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products for 2016.”
The winners were compiled from 1,500-plus nominations from the magazine’s readers over the past year. The Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products has been announced online and in the December 2016 issue of District Administration.
The District Administration Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products awards program informs superintendents and other senior school district leaders about products their colleagues around the country are using to help their districts excel in a variety of areas, such as technology, sustainability and curriculum instruction.
“Learning about all the products being used to help districts succeed is inspiring,” says JD Solomon, District Administration’s editorial director. “Our winners cover a wide spectrum. All of our 2016 honorees should be very proud of this achievement.”
About The Social Express
Launched in 2011, The Social Express is an interactive program that supports social and emotional learning for students struggling with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ADHD, and other social learning challenges. Available to schools, professionals, and parents, the award-winning online program teaches users how to think about and manage social situations, helping them to develop meaningful social relationships and succeed in life.
About District Administration
District Administration provides K12 leaders with critical news and information for school district management, through its monthly magazine, website, e-newsletters and the District Administration Leadership Institute Superintendent Summits. For more information, visit www.DistrictAdministration.com.
The Language Express, Inc.
The Language Express, Inc. (USA) partners with Prognari to teach Social Emotional Intelligence Skills across Africa
SAN DIEGO, United States of America, August 5, 2016/APO/ —
- The Language Express, Inc. (USA) partners with Prognari to teach Social Emotional Intelligence Skills across Africa
- Collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills will help African students succeed in a quickly changing digital economy
The Language Express, Inc. (TheSocialExpress.com), developers of the Award winning programme, “The Social Express® today announced its partnership with Prognari (Prognari.com), an Africa-focused education value-add organization that seeks to develop social, emotional intelligence capabilities and life skills in children and young adults. This strategic partnership supports both companies’ objective of equipping the 21st century African child with the skills required to be successful in school and life.
The Social Express® is an animated Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) software designed to teach children and young adults how to think about and manage social interaction situations. It helps them develop meaningful social relationships and ultimately succeed in life.
Marc Zimmerman, CEO of The Language Express, Inc. while commenting on the partnership, said:
“We are excited to bring The Social Express to the African market. Through user testimonials, we have seen positive results in over 70 countries. Prognari will bring the knowledge, reach and expertise that we wanted in a strategic partner for Africa.”
Collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills will help African students succeed in a quickly changing digital economy
The World Economic Forum, in its March 2016 report titled, ‘New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology,’ noted that “In order to thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at collaboration, communication and problem-solving, which are some of the skills developed through SEL. Coupled with mastery of traditional skills, social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the swiftly evolving digital economy”.
Emmanuel Udoro, the Corporate Communications Director at Prognari said:
“Our overriding vision at Prognari, has always been to proactively equip African children and young adults for life in the 21st Century and beyond through experiential and targeted learning. Our partnership with The Language Express, Inc. moves us closer to achieving our objective and will see us taking The Social Express to the length and breadth of the African continent. The Social Express® is a digital and innovative learning program that aligns with the trend shifts in our digital world.”
The Social Express® (TheSocialExpressAfrica.com), which is accessed via the internet on mobile devices (currently available only on iPads) and desktop platforms, runs a series of interactive web episodes (webisodes) and mobile apps that can be used by the learner independently, or with a teacher in a group.
To see a preview of The Social Express® programme, click here. (bit.ly/2aUkycc)
In addition to equipping children with SEL abilities, Prognari is working with The Language Express to reduce the incidence of bullying in schools through the Cool School (bit.ly/2aUknxB) programme. Cool School is an interactive and animated anti-bullying programme designed for elementary school learners; Cool School’s six week curriculum has been designed to teach young students about bullying through interactive videos and offline activities. The program also addresses bystander behavior and how it can contribute to and increase bullying within the school environment.
To see a preview of the Cool School programme, click here. (bit.ly/2aUknxB)
Distributed by APO on behalf of Prognari.