Laura Chapman took the time to research the commercial products that our tax dollars are funding.


“The federal “love-in for gamification” on display at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (January, 8, 2018) is really a project of The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This program, established in 1990, offers grants to help “domestic small businesses” get federal support for projects that have “potential for commercialization.”

“The SBIR (taxpayers) supported more than half of the game-related projects in this year’s Expo. SBIR programs are part of the work at the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Agriculture, and US Department of Education (Institute of Education Sciences, Office of Special Education Programs, Office of Innovation and Improvement, Office of Educational Technology and Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education).

“SBIR grants are also tied to programs at the Smithsonian, Library of Congress, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Environmental Protection Agency, USAID, and NASA

“This lovein is scheduled to have 38 participants. Participants were listed but without much information, so I looked at the website of at each, albeit briefly, in order to see where the investments of taxpayer money is going in support of for-profit ventures in tech.

“More than a handful of these ventures are so well established that on-going federal support for them seems to me unnecessary. I judge that this is not just a commercial showcase for new tech products/services but also a venue for lobbying on behalf of sustained funding for the SBIR program and the many branches of government that sponsor these investments.

“Here is my analysis of the tech products/services being marketed at the love-in.


1. Alchemie—Machine learning platform for college gateway courses in physics, statistics, or economics.
2. Andamio— “iNeuron,” app with lessons on basic neuroscience concepts built on state standards.
3.—Digital science materials, with virtual labs that automatically assess students’ skill level.
4. Future— NASA sponsored design K-12 competition for multi-use tools and customized equipment astronauts can use.
5.—Portfolio of adaptive courses for STEM subjects (pedagogy, “big data” analytics, remediation) with forthcoming “Brainwave Learning Strategy Aptitude Test.”
6. Killer—Science games supported by the National Science Foundation, content partner: American Museum of Natural History.
7. Molecular Jig—Cell biology and immune defense game piloted with 14-19 year old high school students.
8. Querium. com—Online artificial intelligence tutoring platform for “critical STEM skills” in “personalized, bite-sized lessons,” for pre-collgiate students, especially for Texas “partners.”
9. Second Avenue—Online multimedia games for STEM learning.
10. Strange Loop—Virtual reality field trips, science-oriented multiplayer games.
11. The Beamer. Mystery game with questions answered by historically important earth/space scientists.


1. Readorium®, web-based adaptive reading program for middle school, aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core, multimodal vocabulary cards, strategy games, differentiated hints, rewards in “Readorium dollars” and gold medals.
2. —App for after school vocabulary and science projects for K-2 and 3-5


1.—Full service multi-media game design (Sesame Street, Smithsonian. others)
2. Games That—Design studio for games with virtual reality, augmented virtual reality, computer generated graphics, multiplayer formats.
3. Parametric—Design studio with experience in music, video, web production.
Schell— Design studio for games, full service for education and entertainment.
4. Sirius—Multi-media education and entertainment company. Talent from Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Nickelodeon, and Jim Henson Productions.
5. Spry—Game developer for Apple and all android based devices, some word-building games.·
6. Thought— Game designers associated with University of Oregon projects in CBM Math and DIBELS
7. DIG-IT—Game design services and analytics. Also markets history, math, and other “quest”-like games.
8. Electric—Game design service and analytics.


1.—Math instruction, especially in middle school. via Wuzzit™ Trouble.
2. Fluidity—Specialist in pen-Computing and 3D scientific visualization with products for teaching math
3.—Adaptive learning in math for “little minds” with interactive visuals.
4.—Math program beginning in grade 5, with multimedia, interactive “conceptual narratives” and practice with a “test trainer.”
5.—Math apps for ipads, adaptive program for Common Core, “targeting” at-risk students for intervention.


1. Children’s Progress Academic Assessment™ (CPAA™)— Non-profit computer adaptive tests for Pre-K ELA and math skills with recommendation system (scaffolding) from Northwest Evaluation Association.
2. Cognitive Toy—Touchscreen games that teach, test, and recommend practice for ELA and math skills.


Foundations in—Remedial reading program grade 2 and up, extended practice with adaptive tests marketed as personalized learning, minor role for teacher as “facilitator”


1.—Platform and online products for games based on American Sign Language
2. Analytic—Automated assessment of spoken responses special populations—young children, second language speakers, and people with cognitive or language disabilities.
3. Soar & Rush Medical University—Video-based artificial intelligence platform for telemedicine, also to assess and train children with autism spectrum disorders for improved social information processing (SIP) skills
4. Speak— Interactive audiovisual game activities for learning academic language and vocabulary especially for dual-language and bilingual programs.


1. 3C,—Tools to help children build positive peer relationships and social coping skills, behavioral health.
2. 7 Generation—Advice on work, parenting, sports, school.
3. Mindset—“Brainology” products and services (growth mindset) developed and marketed by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
4.—Subscription platform for research. Enables tagging, saving, and annotating online resources.

“I am bowing out now. I have overdosed on the hype for these products, too much mindless use of educational jargon as if a panacea. The most intriguing entries (for me) are designed for special populations.”