Common Sense Education launches gaming platform

Digital Compass, a new gaming platform, helps educators teach middle school students about pitfalls and opportunities of the digital world

gaming-platformCommon Sense Education has released Digital Compass, an interactive gaming platform to help 6th through 9th graders learn critical skills of digital literacy and citizenship.

Based on lessons from Common Sense Education’s K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum, Digital Compass addresses the key issues that kids face in the digital world – cyberbullying, privacy and security, creative credit and copyright, information literacy, Internet safety, digital footprint and reputation, self-image and identity, relationships and communication – and gives students the freedom to explore how their digital interactions may impact their real-life relationships and future opportunities.

“We created Digital Compass in response to overwhelming requests from the more than 200,000 educators who use our curriculum to help students learn, grow, and be responsible digital citizens,” said Mike Lorion, general manager of Common Sense Education. “Our teachers asked for an interactive tool that would seamlessly integrate into their blended learning environments and teach these important 21st-century skills to middle schoolers who are already comfortable with technology at home and at school.”

Next page: The eight modules contained in the gaming platform

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 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

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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