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Learning Games Studios

About Us

Learning Games Studios (LGS) comes out of a top shelf research network led by MIT’s Education Arcade and University of Wisconsin’s Games+Learning+Society Center.  LGS offers researched and award winning games that excite and engage learners, and deliver measureable learning outcomes, by bringing together compelling game-based experiences with strong instructional design and research-backed implementations of the learning sciences.

LGS’ portfolio of games addresses the critical needs of adult learners, immigrants and employees, including English language learning and 21st Century skills, such as critical thinking, communications, and decision-making. These skills improve the integration of these adult learners into society and engender civic engagement, enhance their prospects for gainful employment, and help them advance in the workplace.

Across all of its games, LGS embeds a learning management and analytics platform, based on the Assessment Data Aggregator for Game Environments (ADAGE), that tracks progress through individualized learning paths and reports progress to users, educators and other stakeholders in real-time. This data also facilitates targeted interventions for learners and instructional directions for educators.

The company’s flagship product is Xenos, a social language-learning program that combines a virtual world, games and activities to help learners at all proficiency levels gain English language skills and improve their communication effectiveness. Xenos has been shown, through third party independent research, to be efficacious in language acquisition and improving learners’ confidence in their English skills, having raised 50% of that trial’s participants’ NRS scores one full level in just 12 weeks, as compared to a year of traditional instruction. Xenos is available on phones, web and tablets, which makes it easier for learners to use – at work, at home, and even during their commute.

At present, Xenos is being used across the country to help undocumented immigrants meet their eligibility requirements under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program administered by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service. Xenos will soon be put into use with New York State’s Office of New Americans to help increase the civic and workforce participation of recent immigrants in that state and with the SEIU in Washington State to provide language training for health care workers who are not native English speakers. Through these programs, LGS’ software will have an impact on a variety of difficult to reach and often underserved populations.

Our second product is both a language arts and a 21st Century skills game, called Quandary, which directly addresses the essential competencies of critical thinking, perspective-taking and decision-making. Quandary’s engaging narratives are set in a fantastical world but the situations are relatable to learners' and workers’ everyday activities and lives. Rather than teaching players what to think, Quandary instead provides a framework for how to think, how to collaborate, and how to communicate one’s thinking and decisions to others.

Tech Information

Xenos Isle is an evidence-based mobile learning game that combines a virtual world, scaffolded missions, and single and multi-player gameplay to rapidly increase adult learners’ English language and literacy skills for increased civic engagement and enhancing career pathways.

About Team Leader

Ira Sockowitz is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Games Studios (“LGS”). In that capacity, Ira manages all day-to-day operations of the company and directs efforts on developing markets, partnerships and licensing opportunities for LGS. Prior to LGS, Ira was the Executive Director of the Learning Games Network, founded by thought leaders in the field from MIT, that conducted research on how to join compelling game-based experiences with strong instructional design and the learning sciences with funding from top government and philanthropic sources.

For a decade prior, Ira was the Project Director of three different edtech awards from the U.S. Department of Education, with a combined total of $135 million of funding. Among the products developed was WordWorld, a three-time Emmy award winning children’s literacy TV show. He was also a consultant to New York City Department of Education’s Office of Innovation, the Southern Region Education Board, and several education nonprofits.

Before entering the private sector, Ira served in a number of senior-level government posts as an attorney and policy advisor.  He authored and negotiated the passage of the $1 billion legislation to bring Major League Baseball back to D.C. and revitalize their Southeast waterfront. During the Clinton administration, he served as Special Counsel to the Secretary of the Department of Commerce, as Senior Advisor for the Small Business Administration, and as an advisor in the Employment and Training Administration (Labor) and the joint Labor-Education “School To Work” program. Prior to joining the federal government, Mr. Sockowitz presided over both trial and appellate proceedings as an Administrative Law Judge. He began his career in state and local government, serving as a legislative staffer and lobbyist at the State legislature before serving as Legislative Counsel for New York City’s Office of Management and Budget.

A native New Yorker, Mr. Sockowitz received his JurisDoctorate from Union University's Albany Law School and his Bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He was studying for a Masters of Public Administration when he left to accept a Presidential appointment in 1993.

Team Members

Ira Sockowitz, co-founder and CEO
Scot Osterweil, co-founder and Instructional Designer
Peter Stidwill, Executive Producer
Shannon Menses, Producer
Matt Walsh, Lead Content Developer
Devon Klompmaker, Software Engineer

LGS Xenos XPrize

Team Leader:
Ira Sockowitz
Location:
Alexandria, VA, United States

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