EdTech Entrepreneur Joins Game Developer Dedicated to Improving “Writing 101”

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Toolwire's game-based learning courseware is addressing the writing skills gap at over twenty community colleges

Writing skills are the bedrock for success in college and the workplace, and I’m thrilled to be working with Toolwire to spark student engagement in the courses that matter most.

Toolwire, a Silicon Valley-based game and simulation developer, announced today that edtech entrepreneur Paul Freedman has joined its Board of Directors. A seasoned edtech executive, Freedman brings deep experience in online and blended learning with at-risk students to the board of Toolwire, which launched a series of games for basic and developmental writing earlier this year.

“Ensuring that students can write effectively is one of the most vexing challenges for colleges and universities: just ask any professor with a stack of papers to grade,” Freedman said. “Writing skills are the bedrock for success in college and the workplace, and I’m thrilled to be working with Toolwire to spark student engagement in the courses that matter most.”

Developmental reading and writing courses present a perennial challenge for students at the community college level, where nearly two-thirds of students participate in some form of remedial class. Academics and employers alike view writing as a critical gateway skill – with surveys suggesting that fewer than 3 in 10 employers believe college graduates are well-prepared in written and oral communication.

To help learning institutions address the writing skills gap, this year Toolwire released 17 Writing Games. Each 20-minute learning module introduces foundational writing concepts in the context of relevant workplace tasks. As students progress, they receive dynamic remediation and encouragement from live-action video characters. A point system provides additional motivation for students to practice and replay games until they master the primary learning objectives. The games are currently being piloted at over twenty community colleges, including several campuses within the Maricopa, Lone Star, and Colorado Community College Systems.

John Valencia, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toolwire, said that Freedman will contribute invaluable perspective on the challenges faced by faculty and institutional leaders.

“Paul is an ambitious thinker about the future of postsecondary education and shares our deep commitment to creating digital courseware that supports faculty and complements great instruction,” Valencia said. “His expertise aligns well with our mission of increasing access, enhancing student experience and improving outcomes.”

A longtime advocate for the transformative power of education, Freedman has founded, managed, and invested in several successful education ventures. He is the founding partner of the edtech incubator Entangled Ventures and currently serves as CEO of ApprenNet, a video-based learning platform that allow students to practice and assess hard skills in real time.

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About Toolwire: Toolwire develops, delivers, and supports immersive learning tools for online and blended learning courses. The company’s game-based learning and workforce training products and solutions help educational institutions engage learners and prepare them for success in the classroom and the workplace. Toolwire’s most recent product release—the Writing Game Series— won a silver medal at the 2015 International Serious Play Awards.

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