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NewSchools Venture Fund Invests $200K in Learning Games Network to Expand Immersive Learning Games Market

Investment aims to spark the development of tools that educators can use to personalize learning for students 

Media Contact: Joe Ventura, NewSchools Venture Fund, jventura@newschools.org, 415-615-6862

September 12, 2012—Oakland, CA—NewSchools Venture Fund today announced a $200,000 investment in Learning Games Network (LGN), the leading game-based learning research and development studio. The investment will support LGN in building the market for high-quality learning games through the design and development of games and related tools; and help LGN to launch production of the Playful Learning, a knowledge network and community of practice where teachers will be able to share resources and best practices for using games in instruction.

“Long-form learning games have the potential to accelerate student achievement,” said NewSchools CEO Ted Mitchell. “Learning Games Network is staking out new ground and bringing a mixture of academic acumen and insightful game design to the learning games market.”

Established in 2007 as a non-profit business, the Learning Games Network is a spin-off of the MIT Education Arcade and University of Madison-Wisconsin’s Games+Learning+Society program that builds bridges between research and practice in game-based learning. LGN’s goal is to improve the quality and capacity of game-based learning products and services in three ways:

  • by helping developers and publishers improve the design and production of games created for the formal and informal education markets
  • by developing resources that enable teachers to use games more effectively in their instruction, including strategies and tools for student assessment
  • by exploring new models for the production, marketing, and distribution of learning games in a rapid-shifting marketplace.

Practical support for teachers interested in using learning games in their classroom curriculum is inconsistent or completely lacking, making it difficult for educators to use games effectively in their classrooms. In order to address this information gap, LGN will launch the Playful Learning initiative, an online resource that will provide teachers with access to information from both learning game experts and teacher-users about specific learning games. In addition, teachers will be able to easily document and share their lesson plans and assessment strategies for learning games.

“We are excited to be working with NewSchools Venture Fund to expand our growing network of innovative partners, schools, and educators that aim to integrate game-based learning opportunities into their teaching, products, and services,” said Alex Chisholm, Executive Director of Learning Games Network. “We established Learning Games Network to fill the gap between research and practice and are excited to be playing a role in helping to expand the marketplace, as well as the quality of games and resources available to educators and students.“

In its efforts to spark the development of tools that educators can use to personalize learning for students and expand the number of adaptive solutions that tailor instruction, content, and assessments to students’ readiness and interests, NewSchools has taken a deep interest in learning games. Long-form immersive learning games have the ability to help students make learning gains in both content acquisition and skills acquisition, but without focused attention on some of the barriers in the market, these games will not reach underserved students. 

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a not-for-profit organization working to close the achievement gap by funding and supporting entrepreneurs who are creating innovative solutions to the problems in public education so that all children have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Since our founding in 1998, NewSchools has invested $180 million in more than 90 nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations working to promote student achievement. Recognizing that neither private charity nor capital markets alone are enough to solve the problem of education inequality, we blend the best of both approaches to ensure an excellent education is available to every child. We actively share what we’ve learned through our investments, bring together educational leaders from across the country, and advocate for smart policies at the federal level. Learn more at www.newschools.org.