Acting on the notion that educational video games can have a positive impact on student learning, the makers of the Japanese animation cartoon and video-game series Pokemon have created the Pokemon Learning League, an interactive online learning program targeted at students in grades 3-6. Guided by an advisory board consisting of both higher-ed and K-12 experts, the program provides supplemental lessons to help reinforce topics in science, math, language arts, and life skills. Based on the theory “watch, try, and apply,” each lesson takes a scaffolded approach to learning, using a cast of multicultural Pokemon characters to shepherd students through various subject matter. A study released Nov. 8 stated that fifth-grade students and teachers piloting the program in four states found the Pokemon Learning League to be an effective supplemental program and credited it with boosting learning outcomes in participating schools. The current preview version of the product offers a sampling of its content to demonstrate how the product can be effective in helping students learn. Additional content is added to the site on a weekly basis. Educators, students, and parents can use the site free of charge until Dec. 31. After that, the program reportedly will move to a paid subscription model. http://www.pokemonlearningleague.com

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