PRESS RELEASE: July 8, 2019
Industry Veterans Team Up to Build Storefront for Digital Learning
America’s Seed Fund by the National Science Foundation Supports New Games and Learning Platform
New York, New York – July 8, 2019 – Members of the original team behind GamesandLearning.org have launched a new company to create the trusted source for high-quality digital learning products. Games and Learning, Inc. will build on years of research and analysis to help parents and teachers easily find, buy and adopt digital media that improves children’s lives.
“Parents and teachers crave outstanding products and the market has never produced more evidence-based, engaging options. But without a solution to abysmal distribution, great content will never reach a wide audience of kids,” said Michelle Miller, CEO of Games and Learning, Inc.
With support from a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from America’s Seed Fund by the National Science Foundation, Games and Learning, Inc. will develop an initial prototype working with the nonprofit organization First Book. First Book’s mission is to break down barriers to quality education for under-resourced communities, making educational resources more affordable and accessible to its member network of more than 425,000 registered educators who serve children in need. The prototype will create a digital learning channel within First Book’s existing Marketplace, where members spend more than $20 million per year on educational materials.
“Through a pilot we ran with Games and Learning last year, 72 percent of responding First Book members said that they would buy high-quality digital learning products. We are excited to team up to offer an unparalleled inventory of content, at reduced prices for our members,” said First Book CSO Jane Robinson.
With First Book as an on-ramp, Games and Learning will expand to a mass market platform for parents and teachers. The company will lead a new wave of web-based content development that unlocks a share of traditionally native iOS/Android revenue and drives long-term sustainability.
“We will lower risk for each segment of the ecosystem,” Miller said. “Parents and teachers will find platform-agnostic choices that consistently deliver on their marketing promises. Content providers will benefit from pooled demand to reach a wide audience. Funders will increase ROI by mapping initiatives to specific types of products that customers are ready to buy.”
The new platform will offer digital games, e-books, programs and audio/video materials that are designed as kid-centered experiences. All marketing claims will be fact-checked to ensure products show evidence of their value, such as incorporating existing research, internal testing or third-party studies. Content providers will have the opportunity to track feedback on their products at scale and within diverse learning environments.
Games and Learning works with a consortium of digital learning content providers, researchers and industry leaders. The consortium provides input on plans and proposed features, ensuring the new platform benefits from collective lessons learned.
“With the new Games and Learning platform, customers will no longer rely on a patchwork system of web searches to find great content,” Miller said. “Working together, we will raise the bar on expectations for digital learning tools. Kids, parents and teachers deserve the absolute best we can offer, and they experience life-changing results when—as an industry—we deliver.”
About Games and Learning, Inc.
Games and Learning advances digital media that improves children’s lives. The company delivers social impact through innovative solutions that help parents and teachers find, buy and adopt high-quality digital content for children. Games and Learning also provides industry-leading market analysis, growth strategy, partnership development and fundraising services. For more information, visit GamesandLearning.co.
About America’s Seed Fund
America’s Seed Fund powered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit seedfund.nsf.gov.
About First Book
Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1992 as a 501(c)3 non-profit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its 27-year history, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources, with a value of more than $1.5 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. Through a sustainable, market-driven model, First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 425,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit eCommerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.
First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books.
Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.