Enlearn is turning the math classroom into a place where students aren't left behind. Credit: Flickr user woodleywonderworks.
By Jason Preston
"You don’t feel like 'I'm finished' but 'I want to learn more,'" says Zoran Popovic, the Director of the University of Washington Center for Game Science. He is talking, of course, about math.
Right now, hundreds of Android tablets are stashed in rollaway closets spread over fourteen sixth grade math classrooms in five Seattle and Federal Way schools. These tablets are running a new kind of educational software dubbed Enlearn, built by a non-profit of the same name that the 46-year-old University of Washington professor founded in December 2012.
This relatively large ten-week trial is a follow-up to a five-day trial they conducted last spring, where teachers presented a short math curriculum twice: once with classic paper materials, and once with Enlearn.
The overall result may seem modest. A 2.5 percent increase in collective scores on exercise problems doesn't sound big. More important, though, is what that figure doesn't illustrate: During the trial, some students in the paper-based classroom were clearly falling behind.
Enlearn is playing in a busy playground. Enthusiasts and technologists have been heralding the digital revolution of the classroom for years. Bellevue-based DreamBox Learning has been building and testing individualized learning software since 2006, and they're hardly the only ones looking to digitize education. Yet the future is slow to catch on in the classroom.
Jason Preston is a freelance writer and the co-founder of Dent, an annual retreat in Sun Valley, ID that explores the magic and science of visionary leadership and groundbreaking success. Named the top conference worth your time and money in 2015 by Entrepreneur magazine, and named one of the top conferences for women entrepreneurs in 2014 by The Next Web, Dent has featured presentations from Emmett Shear, Founder of Twitch.tv, Danae Ringelmann, Co-Founder of IndieGoGo, and Alvy Ray Smith, Co-Founder of Pixar.