Buffalo, New York – November 17, 2020 – EdTech startup Immersed Games today launched STEM Gaming Microgrants to support teachers in engaging their students during continued teaching limitations due to COVID19. The Microgrants, which are funded by Overdeck Family Foundation, will make 5,000 student licenses of the STEM educational game Tyto Online available for free, and include training and support for teachers. The program is expected to reach up to 200 classrooms across the United States.
“As we talked with teachers around the country who are teaching in unprecedented circumstances during COVID19, we heard many of the same challenges: getting students hands-on experiences if they are at-home or socially distant, and keeping science fun and active,” said Lindsey Tropf, Founder & CEO of Immersed Games. “That’s why we’re thrilled to make these STEM Gaming Microgrants available, as a resource to support teachers providing students active learning where they’re solving authentic problems, whether they are remote or in-person at school but being socially distant.”
The STEM Gaming Microgrant is funded through a grant from Overdeck Family Foundation, whose Inspired Minds portfolio supports organizations and researchers that improve access to high-quality STEM opportunities. As part of the grant, Immersed Games will also be working with after- and summer school programs to explore extending Tyto Online to support educators in those informal learning contexts.
“We’re excited to support the expansion of Tyto’s immersive STEM learning experience to 5,000 additional students through the STEM Gaming Microgrants,” said Gemma Lenowitz, Associate Program Officer for the Inspired Minds portfolio at Overdeck Family Foundation. “School and afterschool program shutdowns due to COVID-19 have made STEM skills particularly challenging to teach and learn. Tyto Online cultivates students’ curiosity while teaching them to base reasoning on evidence and solve problems through virtual experimentation, making it uniquely impactful in this moment.”
The STEM Gaming Microgrant program has a rolling deadline for applications starting November 30th, with the kick-off planned for January 2021. Those selected to participate will be part of a cohort of teachers receiving professional development, including live webinars and community discussions. As part of the grant, partners will also help collect data to further measure the game’s impact on STEM mindsets and science and engineering skills.
The STEM game being offered, Tyto Online, is designed around helping students build science and engineering skills while they solve authentic types of science problems. For example, to learn about genetics, they are tasked by a Councilwoman with helping to solve an upcoming food shortage. They pair up with a botanist to pick which plants to cross-breed for larger crops, learning about Punnett Squares and predicting the outcome in the process. They even run some experiments on water and light levels to come up with the best recommendations for increasing food yield. Tyto has been created with support from the National Science Foundation, Department of Education, Intel, and AT&T, and focuses on middle school level science.
Applications for the STEM Gaming Microgrants are open and educators can apply here: https://www.tytoonline.com/STEMmicrogrants
Immersed Games is harnessing the engaging power of video games to create a next generation STEM learning platform. Their product, Tyto Online, allows students to solve authentic problems like fixing invasive species or helping increase food crop yield as they learn science. They serve K-12 education, specifically focused on middle school, in both in-school and after school settings. They have a team of 15 and are headquartered in Buffalo, NY. They’ve been funded with grants through the National Science Foundation and other organizations, and investments from organizations like AT&T and 43North.
Press Contact: Lindsey Tropf
Founder & CEO