Growth Mindset – Part 1

Janna Peskett (@jannapeskett) and Anthony Colannino (@AJCMindset) from Mindset Works joined Nikki Navta to discuss Growth Mindset in the classroom. Janna and Anthony provide ideas for how to integrate the language of growth into teacher-student communication. They discuss various methods for framing challenges and giving critical feedback.

Part 1 of 2

Reinventing Learning Using Games – Part 2

Ryan Schaaf (@RyanLSchaaf), Jackie Gerstein (@jackiegerstein), and Jodi Asbell-Clarke (@Asbellcl) join in to discuss the shift towards using games in the classroom. We’ll cover the best ways to use games to redefine failure, work through the iterative process, and reignite student engagement!

#RMLHangout, #GBL, #GameBasedLearning

Part 2 of 2

Reinventing Learning Using Games – Part 1

Ryan Schaaf (@RyanLSchaaf), Jackie Gerstein (@jackiegerstein), and Jodi Asbell-Clarke (@Asbellcl) join in to discuss the shift towards using games in the classroom. We’ll cover the best ways to use games to redefine failure, work through the iterative process, and reignite student engagement!

#RMLHangout, #GBL, #GameBasedLearning

Part 1 of 2

Starting Off Another Great Year!

By Sarah Avery, Community Advocate

It’s been a busy summer for the Zulama team filled with workshops, trainings, summer camps, and more! We made new connections, partners, and friends and we can’t wait to see what this new school year has in store!

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Teachers from 3 different school districts collaborating on a math game at the South Fayette STEAM Innovation Summer Institute. Picture taken by Norton Gusky

In addition, we’ve been working on ways to become more accessible to our teachers. Here’s just a few ways we’re reaching out:

Connect With Us on Twitter:

@ZulamaLearn: If you haven’t already, you should definitely follow us on twitter! We’re always looking to connect with great teachers!

#ZMediaMonday: Every monday we’ll share pieces of outstanding media we receive. If you want your student work featured, tweet it to us on Mondays!

#ZMoments: Tweet in your favorite Zulama Classroom moments from the week!

#ZFamFriday: Each Friday we nominate an outstanding member of the Zulama Community. Tweet in your nominations for star teachers, students, and administration in the Zulama Community!

#RMLHangout: Every month Zulama collaborates with Dr. Todd Keruskin from Elizabeth Forward and Dustin Stiver from the Sprout Fund to host Google Hangouts for Remake Learning! During the hangout we live tweet the discussion and would love for you and your class to join us!

Check out Our Google Hangouts:

Each month Nikki Navta hosts a google hangout with Dustin Stiver and Dr. Todd Keruskin for the affinity group Remake Learning. These Hangouts take place on the 3rd or 4th Tuesday of each month at 2:00 PM EST. Feel free to view these hangouts with your students!

Our next hangout will take place on September 22nd when we’ll be joined by

It is sure to be an educational and exciting discussion!

Our most recent hangout featured Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaTodd) and Nick Provenzano (@TheNerdyTeacher), two fantastic educators who joined us to discuss 21st Century Skills and Project Based Learning!

Have questions? Tweet them during the hangout to @ZulamaLearn or #RMLHangout! We’ll be live tweeting the hangout and we love to see students connecting to industry professionals!

We’re always looking for topics of interest to students! So, if there are any topics they really want to learn about send their ideas and questions to us via Twitter, Facebook, or email me at and I’ll add them to our schedule!

Game Reviews:

You may have noticed we’ve been including game reviews in our newsletters. We love sharing our favorite games!
If your students are interested in reviewing games for our newsletter, just download our Game Review document, review your game, and send it back to me at!


Each newsletter we’ll review the game review submissions and select one to feature!

The First Step:

From all of us in the Zulama team, have a fantastic school year! We’re always available to provide support, build connections, and help in any way we can! So, connect to us on our social media,

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shoot us an email, or, or start a discussion in our new teacher’s forum, accessible through the SUPPORT BUTTON in the LCMS!


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Teaching 21st Century Learners

Norton Gusky, Educational Consultant

In the late 1990s the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) created a framework for learning in the new millennium. Yet, just over fifteen years into the new century it’s already time to rethink the P21 framework. First there was the 3Rs. Then came the 4Cs—communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. To this, P21 added life and career skills and information and media skills. Today in order to meet the needs of 21st Century learners we need to build out the skill set further to include computational thinking, entrepreneurial spirit, and dispositions like persistence.

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In its educational leadership role, the South Fayette School District, located south of Pittsburgh,  has developed an articulated K-12 model for learning that addresses all the key elements of the P21 framework. Called “STEAM Fusion”, South Fayette’s model integrates engineering and design problem-based learning. Going one step further its model pulls in elements of computational thinking, career connections, and entrepreneurial spirit.  This article brings to light the South Fayette model in an interview with Aileen Owens, the Director of Technology and Innovation. In addition, this article will share the perspective of Jerry Cozewith, the executive director of Entrepreneuring Youth, a non-profit organization in PIttsburgh that targets minority and underserved youth in grades 6-12.

The South Fayette STEAM Fusion Model

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For Aileen Owens, computational thinking plays a key role in opening up opportunities for innovation. “I developed a computational thinking initiative and that initiative is a way to teach the thought processes of innovation for our students.”  Aileen Owens in a proposal for a grant support from the Grable Foundation, a major educational foundation in the Pittsburgh area, outlined the role of computational thinking:

Computational thinking as a process of working effectively with computer-based technology is the new literacy. Understanding programming is as important to our children’s future as the basic reading, writing, and mathematics literacies. Computational thinking, as described in the working definition established by ISTE/CSTE, is a problem-solving process that includes (but is not limited to) the following characteristics:

  • Formulating problems in a way that enables people to use a computer and other tools to help solve them.
  • Logically organizing and analyzing data.
  • Representing data through abstractions such as models and simulations.
  • Automating solutions through algorithmic thinking (a series of ordered steps).
  • Identifying, analyzing, and implementing possible solutions with the goal of achieving the most efficient and effective combination of steps and resources.
  • Generalizing and transferring this problem-solving process to a wide variety of problems.


In addition to computational thinking the South Fayette model incorporates a series of dispositions called Habits of Mind. According to Aileen there are five key Habits of Mind that are essential to Computational Thinking: ·       

  • Confidence in dealing with complexity
  • Persistence in working with difficult problems
  • Tolerance for ambiguity.
  • The ability to deal with open-ended problems
  • The ability to communicate and work with others to achieve a common goal or solution.

Entrepreneuring Youth

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According to the Entrepreneuring Youth website: “We help young people start and operate businesses as a way to guide them toward their own path to success after high school. When young people run businesses of their own creation, they bloom with newfound confidence. They discover talents which were once hidden. They think of themselves as “owners” and “presidents.” Young people who become young entrepreneurs realize the value of creating (rather than waiting) for opportunities.”
According to one of the young entrepreneurs featured in a promotional video, EY gave her a voice. “… I could stand up before all of these people and say things that were on mind.”

Jerry Cozewith focuses on the concept of “self-efficacy” as the key for success. It’s about empowering youth. It’s not just that kids learn the value of owning a business; it’s more about the growth of young men and women who have the tools and awareness that will make them successful wherever they travel or seek to make their imprint. The EY program expands on the P21 4Cs by giving students motivation. Without motivation learning does not happen.

The Role of of the Zuluma Entertainment Technology Academy

How does this new definition for 21st Century Learning fit into the Zulama framework? Zulama is built upon the same computational thinking framework outlined by Aileen Owens. In every Zulama course students are using computers to solve problems. In every course students create models, test their ideas, and use a process of iteration to develop creative products. The students build upon class activities to create modified games, 2D and 3D animations, or screenplays for video scripts.

The Habits of Mind that frame the South Fayette Fusion model are essential to the growth of learners in the Zulama Entertainment Academy. Students learn to deal the complexity of game-based learning systems. Students gain an awareness of ambiguity. Students work with open-ended problems often as part of collaborative teams.

The Entrepreneurial spirit shines in the Zulama Studio Courses. Here students work in teams to create creative solutions for their school, their community, or for global partners. The sense of “self efficacy” identified by Jerry Cowewith is seen over and over among Zulama students. Zulama students are truly motivated and become an esprit corps that sells the value of this type of 21st century learning to other students.

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