Mark your calendar, math teachers and parents of middle school math students. "Ko's Journey" is stopping in Pittsburgh today -- or rather, a documentary about the making of a math education video that aims at a notorious age group: sixth- and seventh-graders who often lose interest in math in their last years of middle school.
Imagine Education, a New Mexico-based education software company, will be showing the documentary, titled "The Biggest Story Problem: Why America's Students are Failing at Math," at Alloy Studio in Friendship tonight, and the public is invited.
Scott Laidlaw, a New Mexico middle school teacher, developed the video game "Ko's Journey" two years ago after observing in his classes what international math test scores already show -- in fourth grade, U.S. score at the top in math. By eighth grade, though, their scores are slightly below average.
Funded with a half-million dollar grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges -- a foundation whose supporters include Bill and Melinda Gates -- "Ko's Journey" incorporates the ancient approach of teaching through storytelling in a rite-of-passage journey, using live-action videos explaining how the math mastered in the game relates to real-life situations and standardized tests.
"Ko's Journey is the only math video game out there where problems are fully integrated into the context of a story," says Martha Reicks, a spokeswoman for Imagine Education.
The math in the video is aligned with Common Core State Standards, she added, and student progress and assessment are automated and accessed through a secure administrator dashboard.
So far, 80 schools and hundreds of homeschoolers have begun using the program, which was launched for the 2010-11 school year.
The screening, which is open to the public, starts at 6 p.m. at Alloy Studio, 5530 Penn Avenue in Friendship. For more information, call Ms. Reicks at 412-760-3876.
Mackenzie Carpenter: email@example.com or 412-263-1949.