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ThinkZone’s HATS & LADDERS Wins Round 2 of Career App Challenge

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It’s official. We have been awarded the grand prize of the Michelle Obama Reach Higher Career App Challenge for our career exploration app Hats & Ladders. 

Hats & Ladders engages students from middle to high school with swipe-to-choose self-assessments, connected activities, and mini-challenges. By providing repeat exposure to a broad spectrum of careers, it enables students to draw connections between their personal attributes and multiple pathways to career success.

Read the press release and full details here

Reach Higher Career Challenge Demo Day, July 7, 2016

Reach Higher Career Challenge Demo Day, July 7, 2016

Now Available: The ThinkZone White Paper on Next Generation Digital Game-Based Learning in Schools

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ThinkZone, LLC is proud to announce the official release of our 2015 White Paper, Next Generation Digital Game-Based Learning in Schools. This paper was written in the spring of 2016 following surveys we conducted of hundreds of in-service K-12 teachers and school administrators to understand their attitudes, practices, and barriers to use of technology and digital game-based learning (DGBL) in the classroom.

What did we find? First, we found that the majority of educators think that DGBL provides students with new ways of learning rather than focusing on content knowledge via textbooks. Also, we discovered that the majority of educators are using DGBL in some capacity and want to use games for more diverse purposes if technology supports. We further identified the sources educators use to find DGBL, the factors that influence which ones they use, and the features most in demand.

In all, we identified 12 Key Findings from the surveys and reported on them in detail in the White Paper. We believe that our findings can be used by game industry to tailor DGBL to educators’ needs and preferences, by educators to garner ideas for the use of technology in education, and by researchers to guide future investigations of DGBL. Read the complete report here: Next Generation Digital Game-Based Learning in Schools.

 

ThinkZone Digital Game Based Learning White Paper

ThinkZone Digital Game Based Learning White Paper

ThinkZone White House Reach Higher Demo Day

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Last week, we visited the White House to present on our new career education app, Hats & Ladders. We were lucky enough to attend because our app was one of the finalists in the Reach Higher Career App Challenge, a challenge calling upon mobile app developers to submit mobile solutions to improve student access to information about careers. During the day-long meeting, we were able to demo our app, talk to government and industry folks about how our app can help students with career exploration, and see demos of some of the other apps being developed as part of the challenge. We are hopeful to win the challenge, with an announcement for a grand prize winner expected in a few weeks. We’ll be sure to post again when the announcement is made.

David Langendoen speaks about Hats & Ladders

David Langendoen speaks about Hats & Ladders

The ThinkZone Hats & Ladders Demo Booth

The ThinkZone Hats & Ladders Demo Booth

The ThinkZone Hats & Ladders Team

The ThinkZone Hats & Ladders Team

A Preview of Our Hats & Ladders Career App Demo

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Next week is a big week for ThinkZone games as we head to the White House to demo the first version of Hats & Ladders, an app we’ve recently developed for middle and high schoolers to help them explore careers. The sample slide below is one we developed to showcase how our app differs from some of the existing career education tools for students. Most of the tools start with psychological or aptitude tests being administered, a couple of “matches” being made, then a daunting set of hurdles and benchmarks being assigned to “guide” students to reach those few matches.

Hats & Ladders differs from these programs. By using the app, students quickly move from virtual exploration to real world experimentation.As they try on different hats and develop their interests, the app content evolves with them, keeping track of their portfolio of experiments and areas of interest. As students progress from grade to grade, the app supports students as they deepen their exploration of certain core areas of interest and start to add resume-building activities, providing them with a range of options for next steps to climb. The app will also continue to be updated with fresh content, which allows all students to expose themselves to more careers and areas of interest. In Hats & Ladders, the path is not straight, but instead is a recursive cycle of exploration and learning.

Want to learn more about getting Hats & Ladders for your school? Reach out to us here.

Hats & Ladders Demo Screenshot

Hats & Ladders Demo Screenshot

Hats & Ladders Development Update / Pilot Schools Needed

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Development of Hats & Ladders (H&L) career app is well under way, and we have plans to complete our first working demo in early July 2016. As we get closer to finishing the first iteration, we’ll be sure to post details here. In the mean time, we are looking for pilot schools to try out H&L during the upcoming 2016-2017 school year. Contact us if you are interested and let us know more about you and your school and how you see H&L benefiting your students.

Hats & Ladders Screen Shot

Hats & Ladders Screen Shot

Teacher Survey on Careers

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Teachers, we need your help completing a survey on how you talk to your students about careers. Anyone can complete the survey, but we especially want to hear from middle school, high school teachers, and counselors. Note that the survey is very short (about 5 questions). Fill out the survey if you can and spread the word to your peers! Access The Hats & Ladders Career Survey

Thinkzone Reach Higher Career App Teacher Survey

Thinkzone Reach Higher Career App Teacher Survey

ThinkZone a Finalist in Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Challenge

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Thinkzone Games is excited to announce that we are finalists in the Reach Higher Career App Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by Luminosity Labs and the U.S. Department of Education, is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative. The Challenge launched last October, calling for new mobile technologies to help students navigate education and career pathways.

Our app (currently still in production), Hats & Ladders, is a game-based app that supports middle and high school career exploration with swipe-to-choose self-assessments, connected activities, and mini-challenges. Hats & Ladders provides repeat exposure to a broad spectrum of careers and enables students to draw connections between their personal attributes and multiple pathways to career success. Once the product is complete, we will post additional details on our blog, so be sure to subscribe to our news via RSS.