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Building Our Online Identities

Posted by StevieS on Aug 15, 2011 in Teacher Training, Uncategorized

“Hello 65427! How are you today?”

“Great BrianSmith. What about you?”
As schools in North America are starting their school years and picking back up in Quest Atlantis, this is a great time to start talking about the best ways to get students logged in to the program. Do you see what might be wrong with the usernames above? Most people can see that BrianSmith is sharing a little too much personal information, but 65427′s account doesn’t encourage proper online behavior either. This may seem counterintuitive to many who think that protecting a child’s anonymity is the most important aspect of online interaction, but it is possible for people to be too anonymous on the internet. Read more…

 
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Vacationing in Quest Atlantis

Posted by jwatson on May 3, 2011 in Design, In The News

The major units of Quest Atlantis (Plague, Taiga, Mesa Verde, etc) are housed in special virtual worlds designed specifically for those experiences. Unfortunately, that means that only those students whose teachers assign the units get the chance to see those worlds. We always thought that was a shame, because those worlds are some of the most interesting virtual spaces we have in QA. But that is no longer a problem, because now we have invented the tourist monthRead more…

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Capitalizing on Play Time

Posted by StevieS on Mar 21, 2011 in In The News, Kid Voices

Student building in QVille

One of our main goals with Quest Atlantis is to position students to be actively engaged in the learning process and not just passive recipients. This still requires quite a bit of intervention and scaffolding from our part and the teachers’; but students still have one place where they have free reign – QVille. And the best lesson we can learn from QVille is that even when left completely to their own devices, students will still try to actively make sense of the world around them. Read more…

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Internationalizing resources in Quest Atlantis

Posted by gdakram on Feb 14, 2011 in Design

Lately, I have been working towards internationalization of Quest Atlantis resources such as missions, dialogue pages and quests. The impetus for this challenging task is being driven by the team’s desire and vision to provide a more localized experience for our users whose native language is not English. For brevity, I will use the acronym i18n in lieu of internationalization henceforth. This blog post is largely about how I have and am going about modifying the exisiting system to support i18n. Subsequently, unveil new tools that we have introduced to support the translations .

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Celebrating 2010

Posted by Bron Stuckey on Jan 12, 2011 in QA Community of Practice, Research, Teacher Voices

In late December Quest Atlantis won the Edublog Award for Best Educational use of a Virtual World. This award was nominated for and voted  by our teachers, so that now the world knows what we all know about Quest Atlantis: it really is the best! Of the 500 votes in this category Quest Atlantis received 224, making us head and shoulders above some very worthy contenders. This award was not just a recognition of the virtual world program but also of the teacher network that we have together developed. It recognises this blog, the Quest Atlantis Teaching Wiki, and all the teacher and student contributions on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Youtube  . Our knowledge sharing community supports teachers about the globe in sharing strong pedagogoical practices, teaching hints and tips and amusing and poignant stories from the classroom. Read more…

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A Never-Ending Story….

Posted by jwatson on Nov 16, 2010 in Design

As our understanding of transformational play evolves, so must the space in which that play occurs. Quest Atlantis has always been a fluid, non-static environment that both its students and creators can influence and change. So when several of us realized that we had new, powerful ideas for the Quest Atlantis storyline, we dove in and found we needed to change quite a bit. Students today are bright, powerful people, and we wanted them to revel in that. The old storyline was a bit convoluted, tangled up in itself after several years, and a bit black and white in terms of what is good and what is bad. We knew QA could and wanted to handle more subtlety than that, so we weaved a new tale, one that showed more character development, gave students even more agency, and allowed for easier and cleaner growth in the future.

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Quest Givers

Posted by StevieS on Nov 2, 2010 in Design

We started a great project over the summer and hopefully some of you have already noticed a few of the changes. Quests are the main means of assessment for teachers in Quest Atlantis, but they appear quite static compared to the dynamic 3D environment. Kids love doing the missions but are sometimes not as enthusiastic about their Quests, even if Quests have a greater col payout. Since May, we’ve started adding small interactive elements to our Quests in order to leverage the world space better and make them more engaging. Read more…

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Biogen Idec Foundation Grant Supports Taiga in Durham NC Schools

Posted by dstevens on Oct 22, 2010 in In The News

I’m feeling humbled today.  The Biogen Idec Foundation, supporting one of the world’s leading global biotechnology companies and a Fortune 500 company with more than $4 billion in revenue, has awarded a generous grant to help bring Quest Atlantis to schools in Durham, North Carolina, one of its geographic areas of operation.  I say I’m humbled because this is an organization that doesn’t NEED to do more good in the world.  Biogen Idec is already a trusted medical partner to many who require their life-saving therapies or count on their support programs.  Their research has spanned over 30 years of biotechnical contributions, supporting more than 20 products in Phase 2 clinical trials and producing therapies used in more than 90 countries.  This is a company that is already doing much to make the world a better place, and the Foundation is equally committed to their community.  And yet, they have decided to focus on ways of further improving people’s lives by contributing to science literacy in their community.

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Family Quest: Bringing parents and children together

Posted by Sinem on Sep 23, 2010 in Design, Research

Can video games support family learning and bonding? To explore the answer to this question, we designed Family Quest.

What is Family Quest?

Family Quest is a new program within the context of Quest Atlantis that brings parents and children together in an afterschool, school, or home context and engages them in intergenerational play. The game starts out with a new adventure, one wherein families find themselves stranded on a mysterious island with the Lindemans, fictional family friends. It is up to the parent and the child working together to get past the challenges that come in their way, and help Maq, the gnome, to revive the Tree of Life (see our website for more information).

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Epic Brings the Vision to Reality

Posted by Sasha on Sep 1, 2010 in Design, In The News

I wanted to share a post because I was feeling so grateful this week. The initial vision six years ago to create a game that would help kids care and learn about academic content while at the same time aiding them to grow into responsible and engaged citizens is becoming a reality. In particular, the new Epic missions and broader backstory really bring to fruition lots of work and game play that has involved dozens of designers, hundreds of teachers and thousands of children. This week we released the new introduction and epic missions, which are unlocked as one completes various missions and luminates on the project’s Social Commitments. We very much look forward to hearing the reactions of our community and sincerely hope that you find playing it as powerful and engaging as we did designing it. Read more…

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