Education ISTE Startups

ISTE 2017 Preview: Zulama

ISTE-Preview-topper ISTE 2017 Preview: ZulamaPittsburgh Startup Zulama Gets Students Interested In Computer Science.

Zulama-top ISTE 2017 Preview: Zulama

What’s the best part of computer science? Creating video games of course. At least to middle and high school students. That’s the logic behind Zulama.

Zulama is a woman led edtech startup out of Pittsburgh. After spending 20+ years on the product development side of the educational textbook publishing industry, Nikki Navta decided to take the plunge and start her own edtech startup. It was Minecraft that led Navta to creating Zulama.

“The inspiration for Zulama came from observing how my two teenage sons responded to Minecraft and other games. I became fascinated with game-based learning and realized that both making and playing games are engaging ways to learn.” Navta says on her LinkedIn page.

PRP-ISTE ISTE 2017 Preview: Zulama

Zulama is entirely based on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) principles. Students are taught how to design video games the way they do in big studios. Through this process, kind of like this skateboard guy, education and instruction are mixed into the lesson. The end product is a real functioning video game that students can play and be proud of. Oh, and valuable instruction.

Navta believes that Zulama isn’t just engaging the students though. Teachers, and mentors also re-engage with computer science and STEAM.

“I created Zulama to be the catalyst for engaging not only students but their mentors and teachers in interest-driven learning. With Zulama, game design is the “hook” that provides the framework in which learners work together collaboratively on real-world, meaningful projects that have long-lasting impact.” Navta says.

Every Zulama course includes interactive class discussions, online and off line activities, hands on project based learning, WebQuests, formative and authentic assessments and a rich multimedia experience.

What will the students learn? Hard skills like programming and digital art, soft skills like teamwork and grit, higher order thinking skills identified in Bloom’s Taxonomy, state standards skills, and a passion for STEAM subjects.

You can check out Zulama in person at ISTE 2017 at the Startup Pavilion booth #2132 or online at 

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