WASHINGTON, August 23–Building Homes of Our Own, the innovative simulation home building program developed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), was selected as one of five finalists for Computers for Youth’s (CFY) Family Learning Software Program of the Year Award, and was the only non-retail program nominated. The finalists were selected by a panel of education technology executives from eight of the nation’s top school districts. The one-of-a-kind selection process involved students demonstrating the software to the executives and discuss its educational value.
Since its release in September of 2002, 42,000 copies of the interactive classroom teaching tool have been distributed on demand, reaching an estimated audience of more than 3 million students, teachers and parents. Building Homes of Our Own allows middle and high school students to experience each step of the home building process, from selecting a location and obtaining permits through construction and material selection to reviewing credit histories of potential buyers. The program’s interactive gaming technology applies real-world context to core lessons in math, science, civics, language arts, technology and personal financial responsibility coursework.
“As a father of two, I understand the significant role a good education plays in the futures of our nation’s young people,” said David Pressly, NAHB president and a home builder from Statesville, N.C. “Building Homes of Our Own is a program that makes a meaningful contribution to learning, and I’m proud that our industry is investing so much in helping to educate students by developing such an innovative teaching program.”
Building Homes of Our Own was first nominated for the Family Learning Software Program of the Year Award by a panel of nationally recognized software experts. During judging, pairs of New York City public school students demonstrated the software titles and discussed them with a pair of educators. Conversations focused on how the students thought the software title helped them in school and in life, and their families’ reaction to the software. Educator assessment included evaluating the software’s ability to improve academic competencies; promote family involvement in education; develop life-long learning skills (such as planning, self-monitoring and reflection); motivate students to learn and increase social interaction around learning.
The nomination is the latest in a series of awards that the program has garnered since its release, including a 2005 Parents’ Choice Silver Award, a 2003 Association of Multimedia Communicators’ First Place Education & Training Award and Best in Show Award, a 2003 Bronze Anvil from the Public Relations Society of America and an EMMA–Electronic Multimedia Award–for excellence in digital content in 2002.
The CD-ROM, which includes a comprehensive printable lesson plan guide, is compatible with the Microsoft Windows operating system. Building Homes of Our Own is part of an ongoing educational outreach initiative, in partnership with the National Housing Endowment, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Freddie Mac. It is free to classroom educators and members of home builder associations affiliated with NAHB through the Web site www.HomesofOurOwn.org. For more information on Computers for Youth, visit http://www.cfy.org.