Pearson asks N.J. students for help designing new digital products

By Laura Devaney
November 17th, 2015

Kids CoLab helps students target areas of need, build 21st-century skills with hands-on and digital learning

digital-learningNine New Jersey elementary middle school students are joining forces with Pearson designers and developers to help the company design features for digital learning solutions.

Participants in Kids CoLab Hoboken will meet virtually and face-to-face throughout the 2015-2016 school year with teams from Pearson.

Building on the success of the first Kids CoLab in Chandler, Ariz., which launched last school year, the new Hoboken group first met last summer in a one-week summer camp session and then came back together this fall at Pearson’s office here to begin its work in earnest. In a cross-country collaboration, both Kids CoLab teams have supported the development of backstories, names, features and personalities for new characters in SuccessMaker, Pearson’s adaptive K-8 reading and math curriculum, featuring a game-like environment.

Kids CoLab participants are also building skills that prepare them for success in school, college and career. According to the STEM Coalition, by 2020, there will be 9.2 million STEM jobs in the U.S. With the creativity, communications, collaboration and problem-solving skills that Kids CoLab team members are developing, they are getting a jump start on preparation for higher education and careers in the growing STEM fields.

Lisa Segali and John Rotundo are parents of Kids CoLab Hoboken team member, Kate Rotundo, a fifth grader at Hoboken Dual Language School.

“We jumped at the opportunity for our 10-year-old daughter to participate in Kids CoLab because we recognized the many benefits offered by the program for a shy, but bright child,” said Segali. “The collaborative nature among the kids and facilitators has provided a safe and fun environment for Kate to speak up and contribute her unique perspective when the kids are working on an idea.”

Rotundo said, “The regularity of presenting ideas and thought processes in front of a mixed group of kids and adults has helped build her confidence and has increased the volume of her voice; once almost a whisper when speaking in front of people. When we ask Kate ‘How was it?’, she always says, ‘Awesome!’”

“When we engage the Kids CoLab team members as design partners, the magic really starts to happen. We are constantly amazed with their creative and innovative ideas as well as their growing sense of curiosity and collaboration skills,” said Lisa Maurer, manager, product and participatory design research, Pearson’s Research & Innovation Network Center for Product Design Research & Efficacy. “We know that this great new group of young creators from New Jersey is going to bring a wealth of ideas to the design of the next generation of digital learning tools.”

For more information on Pearson’s Kids CoLab initiative, visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura