Games & Simulations Virtual Desktops

Games & Simulations


The statistics tell the story. Of students who attend college both full and part-time, 53% struggle to complete their degrees, and 33% drop out entirely.* Half of all student drops occur in the first 20 units. Clearly, there is a need for institutions to revisit course design and the tools used within General Education courses.

That’s where Toolwire enters the picture. In 2015, Toolwire will release games for Writing, Student Success Skills, Critical Thinking, Psychology, and Environmental Science. Each game delivers experiential challenges, assessment, and remediation. Pre- and post-tests in each game provide immediate feedback on student proficiency in basic skills and knowledge.

*National Student Clearinghouse.


Game-based learning engages students in course material and provides personalized learning experiences aligned to students’ unique abilities. It also delivers formative assessment and dynamic remediation, making it ideally suited to help institutions transform courses.

In 77 research articles on simulations and game-based learning in the “Digital Games for Learning” report, digital games showed significant positive effects on outcomes for students.*

*Edsurge /

Toolwire Games are Different

Unlike many games available today that leverage animated characters and environments, Toolwire produces highly authentic game-based simulations with live characters filmed in real locations. Through customer feedback and user testing, we’ve learned that authenticity is essential for enhancing relevance and believability, both critical components that contribute to student engagement. Cognitive research supports how experiences that elicit emotional responses lead to deeper learning.

Toolwire games use a consistent instructional framework to challenge and support students:

Toolwire games are challenging. They deliver serious learning in an interactive environment, built to leverage gaming modalities that inspire intrinsic motivation.


Authentic, realistic situations and activities make learning relevant and engaging.


Holistic, interdisciplinary experiences require students to synthesize and apply information.


Adaptive, dynamic remediation personalizes learning. Virtual mentors praise correct decisions and provide remediation as needed. Instruction is dynamic so the precise degree of rigor can be sustained, fostering both confidence and perseverance.


Games & Simulations Catalog

Business Communication

These role-based simulations and games challenge students to apply foundational business communication concepts within engaging, real world business scenarios. Game mechanics reinforce engagement, provide personalized remediation, and capture detailed Performance Analytics.



Planning and Writing – Building audience-appropriate messages and selecting suitable channels for message delivery.
Meeting Communication – Analyzing behaviors from recordings of two meetings and providing applicable feedback in three areas: conducting positive meetings, communication strategies, and etiquette.
Teamwork – Overcoming teamwork challenges (groupthink, conflict, withdrawing) by selecting effective collaboration strategies (active listening, openness, compromise etc.) to resolve the issue.
Diversity – Evaluating calls, emails, and other scenarios involving diversity-related communication and selecting better communication behaviors.
Persuasion – Analyzing the situation, gathering evidence, and persuading an audience using the AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action).
Routine and Positive Messages – Sending routine and positive messages to clients, partners, and internal personnel by identifying appropriate messages and using relevant communication strategies.
Negative Messages – Improving the message of several negative emails and providing feedback to colleagues who request advice.
Presentations – Helping a co-worker prepare for a big sales presentation by emphasizing Preparation, Content, Visuals, and Delivery.
Resumes and Cover Letters– Providing guidance to a friend on drafting, revising, and editing a cover letter and resume. Evaluating multiple formats of cover letters and resumes tailored to different job opportunities.
Interviewing – Ranking three job interview candidates based on their verbal and non-verbal responses and justifying these decisions.


These simulations and games, set in a fictional news program, cover the fundamentals of writing, giving students multiple opportunities to develop, edit, and polish content they create, preparing them to write across the curriculum.



Grammar Basics

Writing Basics – Differentiating between compound and complex sentences and identifying proper subject-verb agreement.
Grammar – Proper comma and apostrophe usage and proper pronoun-antecedent agreement.
Sentence Types – Correct application of sentence mechanics and grammar.
Sentence Structure – Correct application of sentence structure and mechanics.

Writing Process

Thesis Topics – Distinguishing thesis statements with well-formed positions and properly scoped topics.
Thesis Statements – Writing clear, focused, well-supported thesis statements.
Outlining – Covers the steps in the writing process, as well as creating a topic outline with main ideas and supporting details, and constructing an organized, well-developed outline for an academic essay.

Paragraph Construction

Sentences and Paragraphs – Identifying components of effective paragraphs and understanding consistency, completeness, and parallelism.
Paragraph Structure – Constructing well-formed, grammatically correct paragraphs, with topic sentences, supporting details, and transitions.
Paragraph Structure – Differentiating between objective and subjective opinions and information, and using quotations to support a thesis.
Introductions and Conclusions – Constructing effective introductory, body, and concluding paragraphs, without fragments and run-ons.

Revising and Editing

Revising and Editing – Differentiating between revising and editing, using revision techniques for essay introductions and conclusions, and using proofreading techniques for revising and editing.
Revising Rough Draft – Using revision and editing techniques to improve an essay draft.
Revising Final Draft – Using revision and editing techniques to improve style, tone, mechanics, and APA format in research papers.

Research and APA Citation

Research Process and Sources – Identifying the purpose and process of research writing, the qualities that make a thesis topic researchable, and the proper sources to use.
APA Citation Evidence – Identifying proper in-text citations according to the American Psychological Association (APA) style guide and demonstrating appropriate use of APA style for source citations.
APA References – Using appropriate APA style for reference citations.


Student Success Skills

Applying academic standards, students will discover the practical information, tools and techniques necessary for academic and personal effectiveness. Along the way, students will also discover personal strengths and weaknesses in order to build their skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare them for future study.

Manage Your Time – In this game, students apply time management techniques in order to help a friend prioritize his schedule to find more study time.
Setting Goals – What is the difference between a goal and a SMART goal? In this game, students identify the qualities that make a goal measurable and achievable.
Getting Motivated – Students engage with the friends in the game to identify what motivates them and distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.
Preparing for College – What does it take to be ready for college? In this game, students learn to equip themselves with the essentials for succeeding in school.
Study Strategies – In this game, students discover their personal learning styles and connect them with effective study strategies and habits.
Presentation Strategies – Speaking to a group can be intimidating. In this game, students analyze strengths and weaknesses in making a presentation and develop an understanding of key presentation strategies.
Power of Presentation – In this game, students analyze a presentation to identify weaknesses and improve results through the application of effective strategies of preparation, visuals, content, and delivery.
Communication Styles – In this game, students help a fellow student prepare a portion of a student guide by identifying the difference between casual, professional, and academic communication styles. They also identify the situations in which to apply these communication styles.
Effective Communication – One of the things that defines success is how to act in tough situations. In this game, students will see that keeping your head helps resolve tense situations by using the correct communication style and applying emotional intelligence.
Managing Your Stress – In this game, students must help a classmate identify the stress factors in her life and help her develop strategies for managing that stress.
University Writing Basics – In this game, students learn that sticking to the basics in writing will help them succeed in a fast-paced live TV news setting. Here they must demonstrate basic skills for creating a thesis, writing a good sentence, and building paragraphs.

Critical Thinking

Toolwire’s Critical Thinking games introduce students to key critical thinking concepts in an immersive, compelling story. The game’s protagonist, Dr. X, believes that the future of our world is jeopardized by people’s inability to think critically. Students play the role of Dr. X’s apprentice, embarking on a series of missions to apply and improve their critical thinking skills, while also helping others.

Critical Thinking: It’s How (Not What) You Think – In this game, students will distinguish between the content of thought and the process of thinking critically.
Identify and Overcome Barriers to Critical Thinking – In this game, students will devise strategies to recognize and overcome external and internal barriers to critical thinking while helping a criminal change history.
Information and Its Source: Embrace or Reject? – In this game, students will determine what information is needed when formulating opinions, analyzing the reliability of messages, and determining the credibility of messengers.
Critical Thinking to the Rescue in Everyday Life – In this game, students will identify alternatives to solve a problem, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative, and select the best option based on analysis.
How Far Have You Come and What’s Next? – In this game, students will develop a strategy for applying critical thinking skills to everyday life, today and in the future. With the help of Dr. X, students will determine their current personal level of critical thinking and recognize opportunities for growth and improvement.


The Psychology games center on a story of the mysterious disappearance of Uncle Bob, a highly successful celebrity psychologist who has turned up missing. Students assume the role of a trusted niece or nephew enlisted to apply principles of psychology to investigate five suspects and identify the guilty party.

Scientific Inquiry – In this game, students will define psychological science, identifying the steps in the scientific method, and describe the importance of the scientific method in psychology.
Learning & Development – In this game, students will summarize the phases of psychosocial development throughout life’s stages and describe the multiple influences of nature and nurture in human development.
Emotions & Motivations – In this game, students will define the concept of motivation, summarize the varieties of human needs, and explain the connection between behavior and emotion.
Individual Differences – In this game, students will compare and contrast theoretical approaches to personality, including the humanistic perspective.
Abnormal Psychology – In this game, students will identify the major classifications of psychological disorders and distinguish between different types of anxiety disorders.

Environmental Science

The Environmental Science games challenge students to apply effective, well-balanced environmental policies to the rapidly-growing city of Sparksville. Successful outcomes in the games require decisions that balance the needs of the local environment, economy, and the well being of Sparksville’s citizens.

Balancing Ecosystems – In this game, students will measure the long-term impact of an invasive species and apply concepts of ecosystem balance, natural selection, and succession.
Managing Population Growth – In this game, students will define factors that produce changes in population size and measure the impact of population encroachment.
Maintaining Terrestrial and Atmospheric Resources – In this game, students will summarize the causes and effects of human activities on atmospheric, water, and terrestrial resources.
Controlling Energy Systems – In this game, students will describe the challenges associated with energy resource management and formulate a plan for controlling non-renewable and renewable energy systems.
Building a Positive Environmental Legacy – In this game, students will define environmental sustainability, compare environmental conservation and preservation efforts, and rationalize a sustainable plan for addressing an environmental issue.

Virtual Medical Internship

The Virtual Medical Internship prepares students for a healthcare internship and offers a unique opportunity to experiment and learn from a variety of interactions with healthcare professionals and patients in real-world settings.



First Rotation – Medical Assisting
Confirming and clarifying communication techniques, being empathetic with patients, learning medical terms and procedures for handling sharps like syringes, cleaning treatment rooms, and maintaining patient confidentiality and security of patient files.
Second Rotation – Radiology/Diagnostic Imaging
Learning the medical procedures and protocol involved, displaying empathy, and reading body language.
Third Rotation – Medical Resident
Demonstrating an understanding of SMART Triage, effective communication with bystanders, and the effects of PTSD on the injured patients. Adapting to change quickly and assisting with the emergency operations plan.

The Toolwire Difference

Since 2011, Toolwire has delivered over 700 million minutes of game-based learning to many of the nation’s leading colleges and universities.

Virtual Desktops


Developing courses that provide engaging, effective training on software and hardware applications isn’t easy. Virtual Desktops prepare learners to develop the “hard” skills needed in today’s workplace by providing LIVE access to REAL technology.

Toolwire, the early innovator in hands-on virtual desktop technology training solutions, is the leading provider of learning environments specifically developed for online and blended learning courses.

Our solutions better prepare students by allowing them to practice in authentic, “sandbox” environments with the tools they will need in the workplace. Popular course topics include Cyber Security, Health IT, Coding, Database Development, Project Management, Accounting, and more.


Providing hands-on learning is the best way to engage students and prepare them for success. Studies show that the trial-and-error practice and critical thinking involved with live, hands-on practice is essential for transferring information to deep, long term memory. This invaluable exposure cannot be replicated by simply watching a video or completing a software training activity with a few, narrow, predefined tasks.

For learning institutions, Toolwire Virtual Desktops reduce IT complexity, lessen the need for expensive IT support staff and allow them to deploy resources more effectively. For both on-ground and online programs, virtual desktops provide students a consistent, highly reliable experience. As a result, instructors don’t have to worry about whether software is supported by Mac or PCs. The time saved troubleshooting software installation issues allows more time to focus on teaching and learning.


Designed for Success

Unlike any other provider in the market today, Toolwire develops Virtual Desktop solutions specifically for the nuances of the education use case. Working with faculty, administrators, and subject matter experts, Toolwire can provide environments configured to scaffold the learning process. Toolwire development capabilities include:

The Advantages

Enhanced Student Engagement

Reduced Licensing Hassles

Reduced IT Costs

Device Agnostic Experiences

24x7x365 Support


Toolwire uses state-of-the-art instructional design methods to scaffold the learning process, so students master the “what, why and how” of the applications they’re learning.

Toolwire manages licenses, terms, and conditions directly with software vendors, making it easy and convenient for colleges, schools, and corporations to deliver training as needed.

Virtual desktop solutions lower course delivery costs, by reducing hardware and equipment costs, amortization (leases and machine life cycle expenses), licensing costs and versioning issues, and the costs of tech support operations.

Virtual desktops deliver consistent experiences from any device (PC or Mac) connected to a browser. This alleviates support issues and frustration for students.

High-touch, live, expert support specialists are available around the clock, around the globe, so student learning is never interrupted or stalled.



Toolwire shares a common goal with all of our partners: to provide end-users with the best possible learning experience. Responsible for owning and advocating for every aspect of the learner experience, our Learner Advocacy (LA) Team has earned a reputation for its outstanding student and faculty support.

Around the Clock Support

We provide faculty and student support around the clock, on weekends and holidays, 24 x 7 x 365.

Seamless User Experience

We use best practice approaches for testing, analyzing, and improving all products.


We take great care to design learning technologies that are accessible by all users.


We believe that effectively onboarding faculty and students is essential to introducing technology products to online and blended learning programs.


About Toolwire

Toolwire develops, delivers, and supports immersive learning tools for online and blended learning courses. Our Game-based Learning and Virtual Desktop products and solutions help educational institutions engage learners to prepare them for success in the classroom and the workplace.

For over 15 years, Toolwire has developed, hosted, and supported learning solutions for some of the world’s largest Higher Education institutions, K-12 Virtual Schools, Publishers, and Enterprises.

Clients and Partners

  • Jones and Bartlett
  • UOPX
  • Arizona State
  • Capella University
  • LAD Custom Publishing
  • Kaplan University
  • Florida Virtual School
  • The James Irvine Foundation
  • OUSD
  • The State University New York
  • Western Governors
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Pearson
  • APUS
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
  • Eskom
  • Guidewire
  • Global Knowledge
  • Avaya

Meet Our Leadership Team

John Valencia

President and Chief Executive Officer
John Valencia
John Valencia

David James Clarke IV

Vice President, Learning Solutions
David James Clarke IV
David James Clarke IV

John Catanzaro

Executive Vice President, Engineering
John Catanzaro
John Catanzaro

Brian Boyd

Vice President, Toolwire Studios and Support
Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Jon Garcia

Vice President of Product
Jon Garcia
Jon Garcia

Scott Strimling

Vice President of Finance
Scott Strimling
Scott Strimling
John Valencia

John Valencia

President and Chief Executive Officer

John Valencia has over 35 years of experience in enterprise software and information technology. Prior to Toolwire, Valencia held senior leadership positions for Sybase, New Era of Networks, Convoy Corporation, and the ASK Group. Today, Valencia leverages his wealth of strategic and operational experience to profitably scale Toolwire as the leader in Game Based Learning for Higher Education.

David James Clarke IV

David James Clarke IV

Vice President, Learning Solutions

As Toolwire’s co-founder, David James Clarke IV brings over 25 years of industry experience and entrepreneurial spirit to Toolwire. Prior to Toolwire’s merger with Logilent in May 2003, Clarke was founder of Logilent where he developed the company’s learning methodology. An e-learning pioneer, Clarke originated the concept of live, hands-on learning for customers in an anywhere, anytime format. Clarke is an industry expert in the education and e-learning industries, and is renowned as the author of over 34 books. Prior to Logilent, Clarke served as director of systems integration at The Walt Disney Company. Clarke has a Bachelor of Sciences degree in genetics from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Business Administration, M.I.S. from California Polytechnic.

John Catanzaro

John Catanzaro

Executive Vice President, Engineering

As Toolwire’s Executive Vice President of Engineering, Catanzaro leads the development and operation of the company’s customer interaction platform and gaming delivery technology. He brings extensive experience developing and providing critical systems for CRM, Call Center, Finance, Retail Credit, SaaS/DaaS and Multi-media Learning Systems to numerous enterprise class companies.

Brian Boyd

Brian Boyd

Vice President, Toolwire Studios and Support

As Vice President of Toolwire Studios and Support, Brian’s team builds Toolwire’s Game products and supports all Toolwire’s products and customers providing a 360 degree view of the customer experience. Prior to Toolwire, Brian served in executive sales roles at Oracle, BearingPoint, Baan, Parson Consulting and The ASK Group.

Jon Garcia

Jon Garcia

Vice President of Product

As Vice President of Product, Jon Garcia spent the last 20 years building successful Internet products and mobile apps for start-ups, and other rapidly evolving companies such as Yahoo!,, Ribbit, and McGraw-Hill. Garcia is looking to build great cross-platform/device products that enable faculty and students to have a great customer experience using Toolwire games and desktops.

Scott Strimling

Scott Strimling

Vice President of Finance

Prior to joining Toolwire in 2011, Scott held senior financial management positions at Zephyr Associates, a research and investing information company; Video Products Distributors, a wholesale distributor of video games; and Gilbert Associates, a regional accounting firm. Scott holds a B.S. in Business Administration (with finance emphasis) from the University of Southern California.

Sigma West

Larry Finch

Sigma Partners

Horizon Ventures

Jack Carsten

Horizon Ventures

Compass Technology Partners

David Arscott

Compass Technology Partners

Entangled Ventures

Paul Freedman

Entangled Ventures

K&L Gates

Jerry Petruzzelli

K&L Gates


John Valencia





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Contact us today to discuss how we can help meet your education and training needs.

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Main: 925.227.8500
Toll Free: 866.935.8665
Fax: 925.227.8501
Support: 866.935.8665 x200

Toolwire, Inc.

7031 Koll Center Parkway
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Pleasanton, CA 94566