In two weeks, middle school students across California will be back in the classroom from spring break and taking the California Science Test for the first time. While this is only a pilot year, a committed teacher like Elizabeth Lewellen is worried about how her 8th grade students will perform on the assessment.
So Lewellen, who teaches at Mary Fay Pendleton School on Camp Pendleton, is spending part of her time during this week’s vacation helping students prepare. This has involved letting them use a new game-based learning platform called Legends of Learning that they can access remotely from their homes.
“Legends of Learning is tied to the new Next Generation Science Standards for California so it helps me teach the standards, especially ones I haven’t had time to cover in-depth,” she says. “The key is that the kids enjoy the games and really get engaged…I’m not fooling myself into thinking they would want to learn during time off if it wasn’t for this platform.”
Lewellen says she’s already seeing students achieve learning growth because Legends of Learning lets her observe their activity on an electronic dashboard, even when they aren’t in the classroom.
She is the 2012 Teacher of the Year in the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. Her students come from military families or families who work on the base.
Legends of Learning launched at the end of March with more than 500 curriculum-based education games for middle school earth and space science, life sciences, and physical science curricula. The games, created by over 300 games developers, are based on rigorous academic research conducted in partnership with Vanderbilt University.
The platform was featured in a recent USA Today article that explained how it could overcome a barrier to “getting high-quality learning games into K–12 classrooms.”