LearningWorks Live Instructor Training
This course will teach instructors, interns and new members of the LearningWorks Live team about the LearningWorks Method and running LearningWorks Live Sessions
What is Learning Works for Kids?
LearningWorks for Kids is an educational technology company that transforms videogame play into real-world learning. We provide training, tutoring, and coaching of executive functioning and social-emotional learning skills using popular games and apps as teaching tools. Through our small group, live online tutoring, in-school and clinic-based programs, and our website-based parent training, we leverage children’s attention and persistence to popular video games and technology to improve the critical thinking and social-emotional skills that will be necessary for success in the 21st century. The LearningWorks for Kids model is based on two major pillars: much of children’s learning is from their play and two: transforming game-based learning into real-world skills requires far more than gameplay, it requires another ingredient-the use of mediated, strategic teaching principles that promote the generalization of the game-based learning into real-world skills. That is where LW4K takes over.
The rationale for using popular video games and screen-based technologies to teach critical thinking and social-emotional skills is actually quite simple. First, kids are there, playing with these games and apps and they are attentive, persistent, and fully engaged with technologies and second, many games require the use of these 21st century problem-solving and executive function skills in order to be successful in the game. These skills are also needed for success in real life, but gameplay alone is inadequate for transforming game-based learning into real-world skills.
Efforts at improving executive functioning and social-emotional learning skills are beneficial for all kids-as these are the skills needed for 21st-century success. But at LW4K our focus is on alternative and complex learners who may not readily learn these skills without direct training. This includes kids who struggle with issues such as organization, time management, flexibility, self-control, and study skills but also with kids diagnosed with ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities, and other social-emotional difficulties.
Video games, social media, and other screen-based technologies are here to stay and our mission at LearningWorks for Kids is to leverage children’s engagement with these technologies to make screen time learning into real-world skills. At the same time, we share the concern of many parents and experts that excessive video gaming and screen time is unhealthy for children. To this end we provide clear guidance on monitoring screen time, handouts describing appropriate limits, and instructions on how to use popular parental control tools. We work with families and educators to make screen time into opportunities for learning. Our signature technique for managing screen time is through the development of a healthy “Play Diet” that includes ample doses of physical, social, creative, and unstructured play. We teach parents how to create a balanced Play Diet and to simultaneously make screen time digitally nutritious, where kids are enriched through their time playing video games and engaged in other screen-based activities.
Every technology is an educational technology.
The latest research into the ways that video games and technology affect learning and brain functions continues to demonstrate that these digital activities improve a whole host of critical Thinking Skills, including memory capacity, semiotic learning, inductive discovery, and executive functioning.
Yet sitting a child in front of a video game, cell phone, or computer screen all day—without guidance or purpose—simply will not translate into noticeable improvements in cognitive functioning or academic success.
So where is the disconnect? Why is it that a child who spends hours analyzing the geometry of a slingshot in Angry Birds doesn’t see any improvements on his geometry tests at school? Why does the girl who writes 2000 words-per-day in text messages dread having to sit down to write a 300 word essay? How can it be that someone who practices a particular kind of thinking in a digital environment, with great success, is unable to achieve the same level of competency with that very same skill when it’s called upon somewhere else?
At LearningWorks for Kids, our years of research and experience with these questions has taught us that without guidance, the brain will not build connections between the cognitive skills used in the digital world and the cognitive skills necessary for success in the real world.
In the rest of this module, you’ll find information on the scientific underpinnings explaining why this gap exists. You’ll also find explanations of the theories behind the strategies, tools, and methods we’ve developed to help bridge this gap.