Engage students in academic language and vocabulary with game- and project-based learning. Each headline below is a verbatim quote from an independent NSF-sponsored study.
"My kids love it! They see it as a game, but they are still learning!"
It's actually a whole array of games and activities, each of which fills an important niche in the ALL pedagogy. The games and activities use multimodal learning, peer collaboration, creativity projects and other strategies to engage students without distracting gimmicks like points or coins.
"...they get really engaged and don't want to stop!"
That's because students see themselves able to overcome the academic language barrier. It's a tremendously empowering experience. Game-based learning is a key strategy. It converts what would normally be an insurmountable challenge into a challenge that is both achievable and desirable. In the words of one science teacher, “For students who are behind academically or struggle with technology ... once they start playing [Speak Agent games], they get really engaged and don’t want to stop!”
"They are learning and sharing, telling stories and facts."
Storytelling is another tool that Speak Agent uses. It engages students not only in the games, but also gets them to engage deeply in the academic content. Narratives provide important context for understanding the nuances of complex concepts and multi-meaning words. They also help students learn how to appropriately apply vocabulary and syntax in varied situations. This is a critical step on the path to mastery.
"They're asking more questions, like what does a volcanic eruption mean..."
As the saying goes, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” We did not expect students to take this so literally: One third-grader actually made a model volcano out of clay after playing our "Investigating the Natural World" lesson! This reflects a truly deep connection with the content. Speak Agent enables this because it aligns to the classroom curriculum and ties directly into daily classwork and discourse.