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In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
5th Grade Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: This product is ideal for my school as a whole. The educators who handle discipline and do counseling could oversee this curriculum.

Strengths: It encourages positive decision making, life skills and other important tools that these students need for life.

Suggestions for Improvement: Add as many nationalities and scenarios as possible. We have multiple nationalities at our school. The more of the community we serve the better.

Verdict: I know for a fact that this software would help make gains in behaving and classroom management. The kids are learning aluable life skills with this software. It encourages better choice making. Ideal for 5th graders.

Teacher, School Type: High School, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I work with special education students online. I can reference this activity to teach social skills

Strengths: Engaging illustrations and aligned to research out of Yale.

Suggestions for Improvement: Graph student achievement Show how it is aligned to CCS Student reflection for how the student used the new skill

Verdict: Students need to learn how to make right choices in social settings.

Integration Support Teacher (Special Ed), School Type: Elementary School, Project Based School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this with my at-risk, inner city grade seven students to teach them life skills and build their knowledge base to reduce the likelihood of them engaging in risky behaviours as they enter into grade 8(high school)

Strengths: Engaging, visually appealing, information presented in a way that targets older students in a respectful, interesting way.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would move away from the grade level labels, as kids are engaging in risk behaviours at different ages. It depends on the student. The program has a lot of reading. Some of my most at-risk kids have very low reading levels, even in high school. Adding an audio component to all the text boxes would make this accessible to all those kids, too. As a special education specialist in an inner city schoolI think this program has a real future in addressing the needs of all students, I appreciate the usefulness of Elm City Stories in addressing the needs of my students in a safe, engaging way.

Verdict: I love the product, the kids would be hooked by the graphic novel-like visuals, the information is sound, our kids need this type of information to reduce risky behaviours, but typical life-skills classes are embarrassing and the presentation (by us old teachers) is usually not engaging. To have kids tune out is not an option and this program could help to change that.

Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this as a low risk way to talk to students about real situations. In advisory, when students finish early they could work on the stories.

Strengths: The game provides a safe way for students to explore their lives and choices. It is designed with high risk students in mind.

Suggestions for Improvement: It would love to see the stories with more real looking characters. The comic strips would appeal to some students, but as they get older, more life like people might tie in to their lives. It would be great if students could also see a list of resources and help lines to call if they feel like the situations hit close to home and they'd like help.

Verdict: This gives the students a way to work through the difficulties of facing problems in a low key way. They can see a bad path turn into a good one and gain skills in the process.

Administrator, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, Project Based School, Blended Learning
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: It would be great as part of our advisory program (check at AMLE and advisory programs for a great niche market.

Strengths: It solves the problem of teaching tough middle school issues in a game format. I can see letting S play a game section, learn the skill and then have a great class or small group advisory discussion about choices and consequences.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. More skills and scenarios so there is more choice to tweak it to particular lessons: classroom choices, family, etc. 2. More character based choices tied to research about the top character traits for success- ex. Growth mindset/grit etc. 3. A 6th grade level since our middle school starts there.

Verdict: I'd recommend it for the gaming elements as well as the content. I especially like e fast forward to look at how choices impact life long term.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Not appropriate for K-5 :)

Strengths: This program is cutting-edge in facing real-world problems head-on. I like the straight-forward responses, and ability to address these hot topics in a responsible, clear manner. This is so important in empowering students to make smart choices in the world today!

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. I am VERY curious about the background data for this program- and want to learn more about the trials of promoting safe choices. Post these updates to media so I can see the effectiveness of this work on student choices! 2. Some of the optics/characters look a little primary for middle/high school students 3. More publicity! I'm excited to see what the future holds for this program!

Verdict: This product looks interesting for the middle and high school levels. I like how it is interactive for students, and forces them to see the cause and effect of their actions. It is great that all students HAVE TO click the incorrect response to risky behavior choices- this way no one can "outsmart" the game and skip through information.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I could see this in use for counseling groups or after-school groups. If free, it could work for enrichment as time allows.

Strengths: The characters are racially diverse, a plus. The sample I saw had a female main character. The issues are certainly real (drugs, alcohol, early sexual activity).

Suggestions for Improvement: If there aren't male main characters, that's worth developing. Many of the choices seem a bit obvious in the context of a game. "Forcing" making the wrong choice first before allowing a safer choice seems artificial. Having to search for active elements is odd, and small games before the main decision, while encouraging processing, distract. A non-audio-reliant alternative should exist, with text instead, not just for hard of hearing users, but for contexts, common in school, where audio from many computers is a distraction.

Verdict: It's in a pre-piloting phase, so not all that available, yet. When it is, it's likely to have a cost, as opposed to free.

Educator, School Type: High School, Project Based School, College Prep School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: This curriculum would work well with our health curriculum.

Strengths: I like the subject matter and the fact that the content is teaching in an innovative way. People could be learning about the issue through a graphic interface. I know it will captivate learners for a while.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see how these lessons can differentiate for the leavens depending on. The desired outcome. A bank of options might be really cool but I am sure this is expensive. I would also like to see a plan in place for how you can adjust the learning and keep,students engaged.

Verdict: I would hope the curriculum will have follow up stories and have lessons on social cues for students on the spectrum of autism.

Classroom Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, Low Income Population
Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I may not use it personally in my classroom however I am involved in a Youth Red Barn in my community where we give 6-12 graders a safe and supportive environment after school. Many of these students are high risks.

Strengths: Love the high engagement with the Avatars and how their life grows into a more positive one directly corresponds to their choices in their choices in the game.

Suggestions for Improvement: Would love to see this come down to the elementary level. Maybe this would front load them with positive choices before hitting high school and middle school.

Verdict: I would recommend it to the youth program but not to my school because it is an elementary school.

Oct 25, 2014

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use it in a location with at risk students. My class is too young to cover these topics.

Strengths: I found it funny and enjoyable to play. The graphics were good and I like the idea of a choose your fates game.

Suggestions for Improvement: Would older students find this game a little juvenile? I think it is geared more for middle school in rough areas. The navigation seemed like there may be too much going on at times. It was a little hard to know what to do next. Can you make it for younger students with bullying and making choices?

Verdict: I think it is user friendly and entertaining. I wonder if there is any validity to using this: does it help?

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