Trailhead Enterprises

Building a Role-Playing Learning Game for K-2nd STEM Educat...

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Our projects merge the best of technology, learning research, and entertainment media in order to design and build a complex learning game that is a Virtual World.

Our Blueprint focuses on maximizing the virtual space for learning. We have harnessed the power of the game to immerse learners in a narrative-rich world where the practices involved in the gameplay emulate those in the world of the specific field of study.

We realize you can never replace the teacher, but the work of the educator shifts from sharing knowledge and planning the experiences to conferencing over progress and debriefing the learning from mistakes.

Advanced IT offers us the opportunity to put the learning experiences, assessment, and meta-level thinking into the gamespace and empower the player to become an independent self-aware learner that enjoys the journey toward deeper understanding.

What makes the Trailhead Learning Blueprint the SOLUTION for the 21st century learning needs?

Elements that Broaden the Scope of Learning - Choice, Narrative, Meta-level, Thinking, Failure Learning, Range of Experiences, Literacy

Elements that have Never Before been Possible - Individualization, Supporting Special Needs, Parent/Educator Reports

 

(For more information on these go to http://trailheadenterprises.com/Project.html )

 

Why a GAME for Learning?

Our first project focuses on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects for grades K-2. Our long-term goal is to expand to projects that include both STEM and HEART (History, English, Art) content for grades K-8. To do so with quality research and development, this will take us 10-12 years.

Our plan is to make our learning content available to parents and educators for  children through a subscription process.  The content can be used as entertainment, learning extension at home, or as a curriculum in place of existing textbook lessons.

In addition to memberships, we plan to offer a variety of optional products to impact and enhance the Trailhead learning experience. 

  1. Identity as a scientist or engineer (labcoats, name patches etc.)
  2. Level (badges, pins etc.)
  3. Increased tactile explorations (printed books,  tools kits etc.)
  4. Technology for those who don't already have it (tablets, touch computers, touch desks, smart phones etc.)

Right now we’re in the prototype stage 2, the digital game prototype, but we’ve seen plenty of progress that points to great things to come!  Visit this link to view our prototype progress https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VkT22_NEgs.

We completed development of our first prototype, including a narrative story, a live-action segment, and an exploration of the concept of “floating and sinking." We have been developing the overall learning model, the gamespace (both mechanics and narrative), the first basic game unit, and a digital prototype for testing.

We field-tested our prototype in paper form with 20 students aged 5-8, in order to gauge the materials' effectiveness for student engagement, scientific inquiry, and conceptual learning. We saw promising results!


The IP rights to the characters of “Maggie, Mike and Bunsen” have been secured by Trailhead Enterprises LLC.

 

 

 

 

                                     

We have a University of California-Irvine Professor of ICT and game design committed to act as our information technology development partner; an educational partner in WestED; an animation company; and a team of writers and artists to create the content.

With over 16 years of experience in science and literacy education, as well as many years working with youth groups, children’s performance groups and adult drama teams, Trailhead founder Jill Brownlee Wolf has found that learners—children and adults alike—will tackle even the most difficult task:

  • IF they feel it is relevant
  • IF they feel better and smarter during and after they complete it
  • IF they are supported and encouraged during the challenge

Jill has also discovered that the very best learning happens when students have an emotional connection to the material they’re being asked to master, and when they’re given the space while learning to develop their own unique voice.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss being involved with this project feel free to contact Jill Wolf at jillbrownlee@me.com or 858.922.6788.

Thank you for considering participating with us for our children.

With your support, our first goal is to raise $50,000 to help us develop, build, and research our digital prototype as well as start getting the word out to parents and educators across the United States.

Here’s a quick rundown of where the funds will go:

 

Although our initial fundraising goal is $50,000, our reach, our prototype, and our research will be even more effective if we can reach our next 3 fundraising milestones; $100,000, $150,000, $250,000.

Below describes how the addtitional milestones will move us forward and into equity partnerships. We appreciate your financial participation in our growth.

To thank you for your support, we have some exciting Trailhead gifts at different contribution levels:

  • CD/MP3s of 4 original songs (story and sing along tracks)

  • Limited editional autographed photo of tools with your child
  • CD/MP3s of 4 original songs (story and sing along tracks)

  • Your child/grandchild can be one of our "Sing Along Kids" and be a part of the recording session with the tools
  • CD/MP3s of our 4 original songs including the track your child participated in recording with us

  • Your child/grandchild can be one of our "VIP Players" and be a part of our research day (child must be 6-10yrs)

OR

  • Your child/grandchild can be one of our "Child Scientists" and be a part of our live-action segment (child must be 6-10yrs)
  • DVD of segment including your child/grandchild

  • Associate Producer Credit
  • "VIP Party" for your child/grandchild (ages 4-10) - a special reading and book creation gathering at your home with your choice of 5 guests

  • Producer Credit
  • "Exclusive Exploration" for your child/grandchild (ages 4-10) - a special Miss Jill science exploration at your home with your choice of 5 guests.

  • Executive Producer Credit
  • Begin the discussion of equity partnership

Jill Brownlee Wolf, President / Executive Producer, leads Trailhead both in vision and in action. She actively manages the research, development and production of the entire project. Jill has 16 years of experience in the educational world as a teacher, vice principal, teacher trainer, professional development facilitator, district administrator, curriculum consultant and pre-service teacher instructor. She has also participated in an entertainment producing and writing program and has produced many children’s stageplays and music videos.

Jamie Brownlee Turgeon, VP of Operations and Business, manages both the day-to-day operations and business matters of Trailhead, including finances, HR, team professional development, evaluation, branding, marketing, sales and partnerships. Jamie has 15 years of experience in the higher educational system in positions from assistant to program director. She has lead many teams and recently spent 3 years re-building a struggling program. Her biggest strength lies in her ability to mobilize individuals towards improvement and use branding, marketing, messaging and online resources to build a company. Combining all of this with her extensive experience with distance learning (online programs) and current pursuit of her PhD in HR around learning organizations make her a valuable member to the Trailhead team.

Rachel Rice, Research Manager, manages both the internal product development research and the larger learning, efficacy and performance research for Trailhead’s materials. Rachel earned her Bachelor’s in Theater, completed a teaching program to teach high-school English, and has just completed her doctorate at University of San Diego in the area of teaching as a profession. She is a masterful educator, understanding the politics of a school, the research of learning and the haerts of students. She is also a professional researcher, able to observe and analyze the nuances of qualitative data. Rachel conducts her own, off-the-books research products with her own two daughters, and enjoys her extra minutes with her husband.

Karen Huseby, Narrative Writing Director, manages the writing team for the story-driven portions of Trailhead’s materials. She oversees the continuity of the worlds, characters and storylines while also working with the writers to generate our narrative content. Raised and still residing in Culver City, CA, “The Heart of Screenland”, Karen continues to pursue her strengths and passions for academic research, writing for film, and educating and serving the youth of her community. She recently completed her MA at Loyola Marymount University, and enjoys movies, museums, concerts, and theatrical productions. When not doing any of those, or playing video games, shooting archery, singing karaoke or traveling in her free time, all of her other spare moments are spent with her beloved niece and nephews.

Lara Sumera, Live-Action Producer, manages the production of the live-action segments of our projects. Laura was always in love with stories and story-telling, and from a very young age she wanted to write. At 7 years old, she would make up stories about monsters and far-away lands and heroes, illustrate her own books and give them as presents to her family. Always a writer first, she ventured into the theater world in high school as a stage manager, and took it to a professional children’s musical theater in college to pay the bills. She knew she wanted to be a part of the world of the arts somewhere, somehow, and was fascinated with how people, especially herself, could be impacted by the visual arts.

Megan Hughes, Art Director, manages the art for our projects, including all concept art, illustrations, graphics, storyboarding and character design. Megan is an artist and animator, and graduated from California Institute of the Arts in 2009 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Character Animation. She has worked on a variety of independent animated films, most recently working with Thomas Demand on a stop-motion project revolving around everyday paper-made items. In her spare time, Megan is creating her own paper cutout illustrations, and working on finishing her short film, “To Life”.

Chris Porter, Audio Director, both composes and manages the audio for our project, including original songs. Chris’s music ranges from concert and experimental works to songs for children’s theater and educational programming. His concert works have been performed around the country, and his work for film includes both dramas and comedies. Most recently, Chris has been given the role of Sound Production Supervisor and Composer for Little Lives, a webseries designed as a classroom educational aid on a variety of subjects from counting to earth sciences.

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