Loudoun County High School Teachers Bring Service-Learning Game Into Curriculum to Drive Student Success

Mar 18, 2011, 10:00 ET from Microsoft

MCLEAN, Va., March 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, at the Council of Great City Schools and USA TODAY Unite to Make a Difference Forum, Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson highlighted the work of four Loudoun County High School students who won top honors in a nationally-recognized, socially-networked, problem-solving game called InterroBang. The event, in which Secretary Robinson will be participating, will bring together the country's largest urban school districts, influential business leaders and other top leaders in education. InterroBang will be featured and demonstrated by the winning students for more than 50 superintendents from across the United States.

"Virginia is proud of these students and teachers. InterroBang shows us all clear evidence of how these students achieved 21st century skills, which is what they need to compete in the global economy and, brings the world to their computer screen," stated Virginia Secretary of Education Gerard Robinson. "These are goals supported by Governor Bob McDonnell's Opportunity to Learn Agenda and Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation and Investment. We would like to commend Loudoun County Public Schools and Microsoft U.S. Partners in Learning for their pioneering InterroBang efforts, an innovative public-private partnership available to all schools."

To play InterroBang, students select a mission online, complete it in the real world, and post evidence of their deeds online. Loudoun County AP English teachers required students to complete missions in order to pass their class. They saw InterroBang as a way to keep their students engaged in learning and enjoy the process of critical thinking. One student explained the physics involved with his skateboarding. Another student painted a mural encompassing many students' responses to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech, capturing their dreams. Using Bing Translator, another student communicated directly with a Chilean student and learned about cultural differences and similarities. And, another student won for creating a music video which comments on his schools need for continued financial support as well as his interests in playing the drums and competitive swimming.

InterroBang is a Microsoft U.S. Partners in Learning initiative in partnership with Nuvana, Learn and Serve America, and ePals. Since November 2010, 8,000 students in more than 72 countries have submitted thousands of completed missions (known as deeds) to InterroBang game moderators. InterroBang moderators, who are paid educational professionals, provided players with feedback and often ask players to revise their work. When moderators approve a deed, the player receives points. Many teachers embrace InterroBang not only because the missions encourage learning by doing but because they feel like the game moderators are virtual teachers in their classroom. 

"We are excited to see InterroBang catch on in Virginia and across the country as students get excited about learning and take their skills from the classroom to the real world to make a difference," said Andrew Ko, Senior Director of U.S. Partners in Learning, Microsoft Corp. "Not only does InterroBang allow students and teachers to engage with their communities, but it is a fun and effective way for students to gain 21st century skills."

InterroBang is a socially-networked game for middle and secondary students that teachers the art of problem solving, creative thinking, collaboration, communications and more. It combines many other essential elements of powerful 21st century learning such as personalized learning, experiential education, online mentoring, peer-to-peer support, and formative assessment and wraps it up in something really fun – a game.  It also allows for players to have a voice the learning process because players can submit new missions for consideration. Players' voices are heard. Their voices were also heard during the awards conference call with one student stating: "InterroBang is the best part of high school." 

For more information on InterroBang, please visit: www.playinterrobang.com.

SOURCE Microsoft