LearningWorks for Kids was founded on the principle that popular video games and other digital media, when used mindfully and responsibly, can be powerful tools for sharpening and improving children’s academic performance and cognitive Thinking Skills. This is especially true for the children we call Alternative Learners: kids who struggle with everything from mild learning difficulties to diagnosed disorders such as Asperger’s, Dyslexia, and ADHD.
Just as every physical sport inherently exercises an athlete’s muscles, every video game or other digital technology inherently exercises a user’s brain. Yet, it goes without saying that simply setting a child in front of a computer screen–with no direction or guidance–will never translate into better grades at school or improved behavior at home. To achieve those improvements, and to make the most out of the amazing potential that video games and technology now offer, parents must learn how to put their kids’ digital play time to work.
This is where LearningWorks for Kids comes in.
Drawing on original research and decades of experience in education and psychology, the LWK team has created an online platform for informing and instructing parents on how to enrich and enhance their kids’ digital play time. Our expansive collection of Apps+ technology guides, video game PlayBooks and unique parenting recommendations provide even the most digitally inexperienced moms and dads with the expertise and know-how to:
- Identify which Thinking Skills their children need help with.
- Choose the best games and technologies for their children.
- Set a balanced Play Diet.
- Connect their children’s screen time to real-world situations and opportunities for learning.
- Create quality family time by playing together and reflecting on their experiences.
Children today are spending more and more time in a place where their parents only rarely dare to follow, and almost never dare to lead: online, in-game, and digitally connected. Here at LearningWorks for Kids, we are dedicated to showing parents how to mentor their children through the digital world, not only to help them become stronger at school, but just as importantly, to help them develop into safer digital citizens, and more confident, capable kids.
LearningWorks for Kids Leadership
Founder and President: Dr. Randy Kulman, Ph.D
Dr. Kulman is the founder and president of LearningWorks for Kids. He coordinates our team of psychologists, educators, and digital designers in our quest to make video games good for kids. As a licensed clinical child psychologist, Dr. Kulman has been working directly with kids and families for the past 30 years, and has become a leading expert on the use of digital technologies for improving thinking skills in children.
One of Dr. Kulman’s most important roles is to lead our team of psychologists and educators in our ongoing research into game-based learning, the use of digital technologies in helping children with attentional and learning problems, and using video games for teaching problem solving skills in schools.
Dr. Kulman became interested in the use of video games for teaching thinking skills through his clinical work with children and families. After listening to hundreds of children and parents reporting how engaged kids were in their video game experiences, he began researching methods by which video games could be helpful to children, and from there developed the framework for LearningWorks for Kids.
James Daley, Editorial & Creative Director
James wears many hats at LearningWorks for Kids. While his primary duties include quibbling over pixels and picking at pronouns, he can also be found waxing philosophical about gaming and education, strategizing about social media, and carrying out many other similar tasks related to ensuring the quality of content and consistency of vision across our ever-evolving media landscape.
James brings to LWK his longtime experience as an educator, editor, gamer, writer, and all-around game-based learning evangelist. In addition to his duties at LWK, James instructs digital writing for the University of Rhode Island and video game design at the New England Institute of Technology. He also doggedly carries on his passion for “paper-based media” by publishing anthologies of rhetoric on civil rights and political thought.
Erin Churchill, Director of Education
Erin is a course instructor and content creator at Learning Works for Kids. She is also currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the school psychology program at the University of Rhode Island. With her knowledge of child development, social-emotional learning, and executive functioning, Erin assists our team in creating courses that are both engaging and developmentally appropriate. She enjoys discovering and utilizing apps to make day-to-day tasks easier!
LearningWorks for Kids Live Instructors
Ryan is a course instructor, designer and content creator at Learning Works for Kids. Ryan runs the gaming side to Learningworks Live such as Minecraft, Fortnite and Overwatch. He creates videos and artwork for the Learning Works for Kids YouTube Channels, Twitch Channel, and Website as well.
As an avid gamer he has been holding a controller in his hand before he could walk. With the only other hobbies coming to him as natural as games being Art and Video Production. Ryan recently graduated the University of Rhode Island achieving a Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus on Digital Art & Design and Video Production.
Michael Jean-Felix is a course instructor and content creator at Learning Works for Kids. He has experience in education as a Career and Academic Advisor and is currently working on a graduate certificate for post-crisis management. He also prides himself on being an expert gamer! He enjoys playing video games across several genres including sports, action-adventure, and platforming.
Michael believes that learning can always be fun and he strives to achieve that with each class that he teaches. His goal is to spark creativity, utilize real-world skills in the games, and to teach critical thinking when students find themselves stuck.
Peter Barbagallo is a course instructor at Learning Works for Kids. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island, and is currently attending a social work graduate program in Denver, Colorado. Peter has been playing video games his entire life. His favorite games are Minecraft, CSGO, and Valorant. He utilizes his love for video games and his education in psychology to create fun ways to practice executive functioning skills!
Patricia is a course instructor at Learning Works For Kids. After graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in psychology, she completed a year of service with the AmeriCorps program City Year in Orlando, Florida working to help students be the best they can be. She plans to pursue a degree in school psychology. With her knowledge of child development, executive functioning, social-emotional learning, and her belief in the power of young people, Patricia enjoys finding new games to love and training her brain to be the best it can be!
Kolby is an intern with LearningWorks for Kids. He is studying neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas. His interests lie in developmental psychology and neurobiology, and how we can use science to improve learning
Growing up in Silicon Valley, Kolby has played video games and learned about technology for as long as he can remember. Video games helped him make friends and build core thinking skills, so he is a strong believer in the power of digital play to help students succeed.
Katie is an intern with LearningWorks for Kids. In Fall 2020, she will be entering her junior year at the University of Michigan where she is majoring in psychology with a minor in the sociology of health and medicine. Growing up, she watched her older brother struggle with Dyslexia and ADHD, and chose to pursue a concentration in neuropsychology with a special interest in learning differences as a result. Katie has experience working with kids as a Sunday School teacher, as a nanny for a child with a neurological disorder, and as a volunteer in the Art Therapy Unit at Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. She is looking forward to working with all of our LW4K students this summer!
Michael is an educator that has had a strong interest in gaming for his entire life. He recently graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in English and he is currently finishing a master’s degree in Education. He has experience in multiple educational settings including working with the Plainfield Public School District’s afterschool and summer programs, substitute teaching, teaching an SAT Prep Program through Rutgers, teaching ESL online to students in Korea, and completing his student teaching in a sixth grade classroom!
As someone with ADHD, Michael realized he was able to learn a great deal from playing video games when he was younger. Video games allowed him to work on skills in a fun way that he would normally have no interest in. He is currently playing Valorant, Pokemon, and Spider-man. Michael was excited to join the LW4K LIVE team to be able to combine his love for games into a way for students to learn!
Ryan is a course instructor and content creator at Learning Works for Kids. He has a background studying psychology at the University of Rhode Island and volunteering as a crisis counselor. Ryan loves playing games with friends, rock climbing, and his cats. He believes reaching goals both in games and in real life come with practice and critical thinking.
Ryan enjoys working as a group to accomplish fun and challenging tasks together while learning along the way. He believes that reflecting and understanding how we play games and make decisions can help us make the most out of each day.