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Zhixin Li and Sharon Jessica, creators of eKinomy, win James A. Kelly Learning Lever Prize

April 07, 2023

On April 6, 2023, five teams pitched digital learning tools to a panel of judges in the annual James A. Kelly Learning Lever Prize competition. The program is managed by Marsal Education’s Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research.


Zhixin Li and Sharon Jessica, creators of eKinomy, were awarded the $10,000 Learning Lever Prize. eKinomy is a role-play simulation educational game for Grade 5-8 with a theme of international trade that enables learners to engage in real-world economic activities and simulate various economic roles such as producers, exporters, and importers.

In addition to the grand prize winners, judges presented development awards to the other 4 teams: 
Winning a $1,000 Development Award, TeamUp is an application for creating better groupings more easily in K-12 settings.
Team: Mayank Kinger, Pooja Mandagere

Winning a $1,500 Development Award, Cyborg Makerspaces for Digital Literacy Development is a pilot afterschool makerspace designed to inculcate cyborg literacies—or embodied critical digital literacies.
Team: Parker Miles

Winning a $2,500 Development Award, Digcourse is a digital social annotation tool that truly combines students’ abilities to take notes digitally and engage in digital discourse in any environment and at any time.
Team: Kaitlynn Vo, E Villasenor

Winning a $4,000 Development Award, CommunityConnect is a platform that connects students, teachers, and community changemakers to build impactful and authentic learning experiences for the classroom.
Team: Devon Riter, Prajakta Bonde, Muskaan Dhadwal, Rhea Mirani

This year’s judging panel included 

  • Carl C. Haynes-Magyar (PhD ‘22), Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University; Winner, 2022 Learning Levers Prize;
  • Danielle Ohm, Content and Curriculum Manager, GoGuardian;
  • Henry Tong (BBA ‘91), Past Chairman, Hong Kong Committee on Home-School Cooperation; and 
  • Jim Lobdell, Venture Partner, Reach Capital.