Designed as an animated choose-your-own-adventure game, Digital Compass puts students in the role of one of eight characters (four male, four female), each of whom is faced with a series of digital dilemmas. Students determine their character’s actions – and the story’s outcomes – by making a series of decisions between one of two options as the story progresses.

There are eight topical modules with eight corresponding mini games, and each mini-game has three levels of gameplay. Each module has nine endings (three each in the categories of neutral, good, and not-so-good), 32 paths, and 50 unique combinations based on decision points. The multiple storylines prompt users to replay in order to explore alternative paths. Printable extension materials are tied to Common Core writing standards.

“We know that good learning games engage students more than lectures, improve retention over text, support higher order thinking skills, and encourage kids to persist and try, try again,” said Dr. Michael Carter, creator of digital games for health and learning. “Digital Compass™ does all this in a developmentally appropriate way that challenges middle schoolers to explore, experiment, make decisions, rationalize, take risks, judge conventions, assert individuality, express themselves, and interact with peers, within a safe, walled-garden experience.”

“Common Sense Education has a reputation for providing the right tools for the right audience,” said Lauren Matthews, a seventh grade teacher in Oakland Unified School District. “Digital Compass is an enlightening program for middle school students who struggle with managing healthy relationships among peers on social media. The real-world scenarios offer students insights on how to handle common challenges with media and technology while learning to be responsible digital citizens.”

Digital Compass is made available for complimentary use by AT&T. It was designed in collaboration with Producto Studios, a California-based animation studio that has proven success in designing educational games, apps, and animations and was created through the generous support of the Best Buy Children’s Foundation, the Grable Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the Bezos Family Foundation, and Symantec Corporation.

Teachers and parents may access Digital Compass at www.digitalcompass.org. Versions of the app for tablets (iOS and Android) as well as a version designed to work on the Edmodo platform will be available in app stores at the end of this month.

For more information about Digital Compass and Common Sense Education’s extensive research-based classroom tools to help students harness technology for learning and life, visit www.commonsense.org/educators.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione
About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Editorial Director, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura