Common Sense Media to Host "ON for Learning Awards" Tonight in San Francisco

Event recognizes app, game, and website developers who are creating high-quality learning content; marks the release of learning ratings out of beta
For immediate release
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

San Francisco, CA – This evening, Common Sense Media will host the inaugural ON for Learning Awards from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. This event will celebrate the very best in kids' digital media products designed to educate and engage. The awardees are mobile apps, games, and websites that have received Common Sense Media's highest learning rating and have the potential to help equip kids and teens with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. The full list of winners is available at www.commonsensemedia.org/lists/2013-on-for-learning-award-winners.

"Our learning ratings are the most comprehensive tool parents have to distinguish the digital media products that really have the potential to provide learning benefits from those that simply claim to," said Seeta Pai, head of the Common Sense Media learning ratings initiative. "Our ON for Learning Award winners – just 5 percent of the titles we review – represent everything from an innovative music composition app, to a historical sim, to a site that gets kids coding. They represent a wide variety of apps, games, and websites with learning designs that sustain kids' interest and foster thinking, work, and life skills. We look forward to celebrating with these developers and publishers, who are setting the standard for creating high-quality learning products among their peers, and who recognize the power of digital media for learning."

The awards also mark the release of Common Sense Media's learning ratings out of beta. The goal of the learning ratings initiative is to be the trusted, unbiased source that helps parents, caregivers, and educators discover the most engaging digital learning products that enhance learning and foster the knowledge and skills that kids need to thrive in tomorrow's world. Beginning in 2011, a team of highly trained reviewers have analyzed digital media products for core academic content like reading, math, and science, as well as deeper learning and social skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration, using a framework based on comprehensive research and evaluation. The team also assesses each product's overall learning potential, looking at both how engaging it is and how it's designed to support learning. Since the beta launch of learning ratings on commonsense.org in April 2012, Common Sense has evaluated and rated more than 1,200 digital media products for learning potential. Reviews are available at www.commonsense.org/learning-ratings. The learning ratings initiative is made possible through a partnership with SCE (http://www.scefdn.org/).

The ON for Learning Awards event also kicks off Common Sense Media's ON Ratings Program, a partnership program for developers and publishers designed to offer guidance for creating high-quality learning content. The ON Ratings Program gives developers and publishers Common Sense's guidelines and best practices for designing learning products. More information about this program is available at www.commonsense.org/ONratings.

Tonight's event will bring together developers, investors, and other stakeholders who are committed to maximizing the potential for digital media to help kids learn and grow. The evening will feature a panel discussion among representatives from the game and app industries about the opportunities and challenges involved in creating high quality learning products. Panelists include Alex Games, Microsoft; Andy Russell, Launchpad Toys; Jesse Schell, Schell Games; and Kurt Squire, University of Wisconsin and Games+Learning+Society. Linda Burch from Common Sense Media will moderate the discussion.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the ON for Learning Awards at the Cartoon Art Museum, located at 655 Mission Street in San Francisco. The panel discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. To attend the ON for Learning Awards as press, use the contact information below. Follow news about the ON for Learning Awards event and winners on Twitter at @CommonSenseNews and with #ONforLearning.

About Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. We exist because our kids are growing up in a culture that profoundly impacts their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We provide families with the advice and media reviews they need in order to make the best choices for their children. Through our education programs and policy efforts, Common Sense Media empowers parents, educators, and young people to become knowledgeable and responsible digital citizens. For more information, go to: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/.

Press Contacts:
Marisa Connolly
Office: 415-553-6703
Cell: 617-699-4235
mconnolly@commonsense.org

Julia Plonowski
Office: 415-553-6728
Cell: 770-403-7690
jplonowski@commonsense.org

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