Interview with Ryan Blitstein

Interview with Ryan Blitstein, Executive Director, Susan Crown Exchange

Thanks to leadership support from SCE, Common Sense Media is pleased to announce that we've launched our new Learning Ratings initiative, an education ratings and review program designed to help parents and educators assess the learning value of digital media products.

Common Sense Media chatted with Ryan Blitstein, Executive Director, Susan Crown Exchange, to learn more about what inspires their pioneering grantmaking.

Common Sense Media: What sparked SCE's interest in digital learning?

Ryan Blitstein: We saw that children are constantly exposed to digital media -- engaging, enjoying, learning, and not learning from it. We noticed a massive gap between the tremendous potential for these technologies and what was actually happening. We decided to open the digital learning program to ensure that the best media is getting into the hands of the most kids.

Common Sense Media: What surprised you in undertaking the learning ratings project with us?

RB: The products themselves were a surprise: So many of the products that are highlighted were not designed with learning in mind, and yet they have massive learning potential. This idea started as a hypothesis at the beginning of the project, and it's been borne out as learning ratings reviewers have assessed hundreds of projects according to an education rubric. We hoped this would be true, but we weren't sure until the reviews were done, and it's a very exciting finding.

Common Sense Media: Do you think the needle is being moved on the industry side?

RB: It's clear that there are much more intelligent conversations going on in the industry about quality, and we want learning ratings to drive a conversation about the learning potential of products. There are products that are great for learning and social impact and highly engaging at the same time. Many people on all sides of the equation -- from public interest to the U.S. Department of Education to NGOs -- are engaged now, and the private sector is recognizing that they have to get better.

Three of my favorite apps for learning are:


Ryan Blitstein, Executive Director

Susan Crown, Founder & Chairman


Common Sense Media thanks SCE for its fresh vision of learning in the 21st century and for partnering with us to celebrate the learning potential of top-quality digital media!

Go back to the Get Involved page