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Classroom, Inc. Shines at SXSWedu!

Classroom, Inc.’s Anne-Marie Hoxie, along with Charlotte Duncan of Learning Games Network and Kevin Miklasz of BrainPOP, drew a data-savvy crowd at SXSWed for an interactive, brainstorming exercise on critical features that teachers most need in a dashboard. The answer is easy-to-read information linked to clear and actionable next steps for teachers!

And our own president, Lisa Holton, was selected as an experienced edtech leader to mentor heads of start-ups on challenges they face. “I was impressed by the quality of ideas I heard during the mentoring sessions. Two of my mentees were building their businesses to address a specific problem they had identified—one for overworked educators and one for parents in low-income communities who lack access to resources for their children. I was pleased to help and to learn that their ideas originated from an understanding of the audiences they wanted to serve.”


Classroom, Inc. will once again partner with TYWLS as part of their “TYWLS Works” program exposing their students to the world of work. On March 22, we will host a group of girls in our office. They’ll get a tour of our space, listen to speakers, give us feedback on our games, and participate in our ever-popular “Meet the Staff” interviews. The group will rotate among our departments to talk with staff about job responsibilities, educational requirements, and work-life balance. More to come in our next newsletter!

NYC’s KAPPA International High School—Necessity Is the Mother of Invention

This spring (or winter, but it sure feel likes spring!), thanks to support from the NY Life Foundation, we launched our newest game, Community in Crisis, with the incredible team at Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy International (KAPPA) High School in the Bronx. Their team overcame Internet access challenges with the help of our coach, Phil Firsenbaum, and came up with a plan that not only worked deftly around their tech problems but allowed students to benefit by using a station rotation model of 100-minute blocks twice a week to personalize instruction. Their cycle includes gameplay, off-game reflection and extension, small-group intervention and additional literacy curriculum integration.

Our coach Phil said, "As I entered the KAPPA building, I sensed that something was different. Sure enough, PSAT testing was under way. Not only were rooms changed, but Community in Crisis teachers Sam and Joe had been moved as well. This could have been reason to temporarily abandon the new blended learning plans, but not for these folks! As I entered their room, Sam was already explaining the new plan to the class.”

What we're reading

Take a look!

Teaching Higher: Educators’ Perspectives on Common Core Implementation: This report from Harvard surveyed educators in five states—DE, MD, MA, NM, and NE—and found that teachers there have made major changes in lesson plans and instructional materials to meet the new standards. Teachers and principals in those states have largely embraced the new standards. In English Language Arts, the report found that the new assessments are more sensitive to instructional differences between teachers, especially in middle school grades. The greater sensitivity seems to be due to the greater weight on student writing in the new assessments.

Closing the 30 Million Word Gap: This brief article refers to the “groundbreaking research by Hart and Risley in the mid-90s, who found that "… children from poor homes have had more than 30 million fewer opportunities [than those with parents who are professionals] to learn vocabulary and become accustomed to grammar, sentence structure, and the other aspects of language that are so important.”

Teachers Know Best: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation present this report on how teachers currently use digital instructional tools in the classroom, teachers’ attitudes toward digital technology, and how teachers perceive the effectiveness of digital tools. The #1 gap area they identified was in ELA:
  • Across all grades, fewer than 60% of ELA teachers say that the digital products they use frequently are effective.
  • Middle school ELA teachers are least likely to have access to sufficient digital and non-digital resources to meet their district’s standards.
For highlights, go to For the complete report, click here.
We are busy traveling and presenting over the next few months. Let us know if you want to meet up with us!

Tweet at us: @ClassroomInc

National Afterschool Association:
Orlando, FL, March 20-23
Yale Education Leaders Conference:
New Haven, CT, April 7-8
Games for Change:
New York, NY, June 23-24
What we're reading
Open eBooks

Last year, President Obama announced Open eBooks, a revolutionary app now delivering free content from ten of the largest U.S. trade publishers. Thousands of popular and award-winning commercial and public domain titles are now available to students in low-income schools and library and after-school programs primarily serving youth in need. These e-books are also available to every student in a special education class or in a military family living on-base, and to students in schools and programs primarily serving those in military families that are off-base.

Open eBooks is a partnership between Digital Public Library of America, The New York Public Library, and First Book, with content support from digital books distributor Baker & Taylor. This effort is made possible by generous commitments of publishers with funding support provided in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is part of the White House ConnectED Initiative.

Check out the First Lady’s video and register at this link:

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