Big Data is a Big Deal

- Jane Zanzig & Matt Gee

Learning data science can provide youth with some of the most powerful tools of change available. Data scientists have the power to find injustice and mistreatment in police records. They have the power to predict and prevent a child from getting lead poisoning. They even have the power to influence Presidential elections.The job of a data scientist — a person who can make sense of big data by combining the tools of computer science, machine learning, and statistics — was ranked as the #1 job in 2016 by Glassdoor; computer science is now the most popular major at many universities; and more and more jobs in every field are requiring computational literacy to get ahead. Meanwhile, the need to diversify and democratize this high-valued skillset is becoming increasingly apparent.The Center for Data Science and Public Policy (DSaPP) at the University of Chicago has led the way in applying data science Read More

Getting workplace ready is in fashion this summer thanks to Gap Inc.’s LRNG Playlist

- Leila Toplic, LRNG CMO, @ltoplic

Today’s job market is tough for young people. Too many teens and young adults are un- or underemployed, even if they have a college degree. Meanwhile, 38% of employers last year reported on the annual ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage Survey that they had jobs they couldn’t fill because applicants lacked the right skill sets. Now more than ever, employers have a key role to play in closing the skill gap for our nation’s youth. I’m excited to share how LRNG has teamed up with one of our employer partners — Gap Inc. — to help reverse the trend.The partnership has created The Business, an online LRNG Playlist that draws from Gap Inc.’s Plan Ahead college and career-readiness curriculum. Plan Ahead has been a required course for 9th graders in the San Francisco Unified School district since 2010 and has a proven track record of success. By starting with young people’s interests, Read More

How Your Business Can Help End Our Nation’s Opportunity Gap

- Connie Yowell, CEO of LRNG (@connie) and Janiece Evans-Page, Vice President for Global Giving at Fossil (@jyevanspage)

There is a litany of statistics that show our country is facing a sharp and growing divide between young people who have access to 21st century learning opportunities and those who do not. Dismal rates of high school learning engagement. Persistently high dropout rates among underserved youth. Inordinately skewed college completion rates that leave young people from poor families ill equipped to compete in today’s marketplace. And more than 5.6 million “opportunity youth” across the country who are disconnected from school, work and hope for the future.Perhaps what is most surprising about this bleak data is how few people find it to be surprising. They might not know the exact statistics or the full extent of the challenge. But whether they are among the 40% of employers who are unable to find skilled workers to fill jobs or ordinary people whose own young adult children are struggling to finish school Read More

New Partnership to level up high school learning

- Connie Yowell, CEO of LRNG, @connie

Today at the 13th Annual Games for Change Festival, LRNG’s GlassLab Inc. announced a partnership with Take-Two Interactive Software, 2K and Firaxis Games to bring Sid Meier’s popular Civilization V digital game to the classroom. CivilizationEDU will be distributed to high schools in North America in early 2017 through GlassLab’s nonprofit game-based learning and assessment platform.With annual Gallup polls showing more than 60 percent of high school students are not engaged in classroom learning, LRNG is excited to bring new educational tools to the classroom in formats students are already deeply engaged with.GlassLab Inc. will add a learning analytics engine to CivilizationEDU, harnessing the popularity of gaming and turning it into a powerful tool for assessing students’ progress on 21st century learning skills that are not easily captured on standardized tests.A historically based strategy game, CivilizationEdu will provide students with the opportunity to create historical events and experiment with the Read More

How Employers Can Help Tackle the Opportunity Gap for Youth

- Leila Toplic

When I was 18-years-old I landed my first job teaching English and art in a Bosnian refugee camp in Hungary. What I lacked in teaching skills, I made up for with passion and grit. I worked tirelessly to find creative ways to engage my students in learning these subjects both in and out of the classroom. I even went so far as to organize a basketball camp with the American International School in Budapest so refugee youth could learn English through their teamwork and passion for sports. The school headmaster saw these qualities in me, which is why she gave me a chance. I learned so much — both personally and professionally — in my role as a teacher and I never would have had that opportunity if I hadn’t had an employer who believed and invested in me. This is why I’m so honored to now have a job Read More

Corporate Partners At Play

LRNG is excited to announce that we’re working with EA to develop one of our Playlists, a breakthrough approach to learning that provides fun and engaging ways for young people to acquire technical skills and workforce competencies.Playlists consist of linked sets of learning Experiences, Resources and Events — both in-person and online activities. When completed, often in whatever order a young person chooses, Playlists lead to mastery of a skill or competency, and ladder up to become interest-driven Learning Paths. Young people who complete a Playlist earn a capstone Digital Badge. This badge in turn can unlock additional learning challenges, such as the chance to showcase their work at an event, meet with an expert mentor, or access an internship opportunity. LRNG Playlists and Digital Badges help young people identify and follow interest-driven paths, and make critical connections to real-world opportunities. Together Playlists and Badges fuel young people’s creativity and Read More