We’re quickly approaching one of my favorite times of the year. There is nothing better than when the US and Australian school years overlap. Kids get such a great experience to make friends all over the world. In late March and the month of October, we average over 10,000 lines of chat a day in the elementary school visibility!
The mathematics mission Crypto Coordinates: Plotting Adventure! was first released last fall, and updated slightly in early June. Both versions of Crypto teach coordinate plotting through the context of archeology and navigation of a magical island. During implementations of Crypto, researchers observed students expressing their own beliefs when playing the game.
Here at Quest Atlantis, progress runs two ways. On the one hand, we constantly look forward, designing and prototyping new ideas on a daily basis. Simultaneously, we’re also mindful of the work we’ve already done and the ways that it can be improved, often based on the feedback and experience of thousands of Questers who push our work in directions we never thought of. This emphasis on the user experience – and adapting to it – is applied to everything we do, from missions and Quests, right down to the physical layout and aesthetic of each world.
Genetics is often touted as a complicated subject for most students. This is in part due to the fact that students are expected to understand the broad range of concepts over the span of one year. Firm in the belief that elementary students (specifically fourth graders and above) are capable of learning genetic concepts, the QA team designed a genetics unit. In the Drakos Dilemma unit, students are required to breed drakos, a species of Atlantian dragonfly, in order to combat the plague (Alas, it seems the Ingolstadt plague has found its way to Healthy!). This unit brings together concepts such as phenotype, genotype, dominant and recessive genes, and Punnett Square in an engaging and I dare say, fun way.
Hello, fellow readers. I’m Karthik, and I would like to share how it feels like to be Student Congress leader. I am very happy to represent my fellow Questers in the Student Congress. I get to talk about our experiences and suggest new ideas. Being a leader is a very responsible job. I try not to be bossy but at the same time, I try to get the job done. We attend weekly meetings where new projects are discussed. My parents, school teachers and QA Congress members encourage and support me a lot.
My first project was to ask my classmates if they wanted to stay in General Visibility in middle school or in Middle School visibility in Middle School. It was a very interesting experience finding out what my classmates thought. Read more…
When we talk about effective instruction and positioning the learner as an active agent of change who transforms the world in powerful ways, the issue of teacher training becomes central. How do we, as educators, prepare learners to participate in such an interactive way? And also, how do we equip our pre-service teachers to respond to this need and better understand their students’ needs?
Games can promote 21st century skills, such as multitasking, play, distributed cognition, networking, among others (see Jenkins white paper ). These “new media” literacy skills, social in nature, are based on traditional literacies such as writing. Today, self-sponsored writing and the universal authorship through digital network are put writing as an essential skill to be developed and as an essential activity by which a huge amount of learning and reflection occurs. This is exactly what Taiga and its intensive writing Quests are doing. So if much of the learning in QA happens when kids write Quests, how can we get them to submit better Quests and then use the feedback they provide?
In the Taiga Water Quality Unit, the narrative follows the activities of different stakeholders in the park (loggers, indigenous community, fishing company), looking at the ways in which their practices may put the future of the park and its wildlife at risk.
To start with, let me explain just who I am and what I do at Quest Atlantis. I (Scott Miller…aka Enkar in QA) am a retired Tier-2 Technical Manager at AT&T. “Tier-2” means I provided technical support to the top-craft technicians in the field.
Since 1998 I have been involved with the online 3D Virtual Reality universe at Active Worlds, concentrating on the 3D world building aspect of that community but also building fine relationships with many users all over the world as well. For the seven years prior to my hiring at QA in 2005, this was a wonderfully fun and stimulating hobby for me and I never once realistically thought I could ever have a paying job doing it. Read more…
How does one test the implications of his or her ethical stance? How does one realize the potentialities of one’s ethical stance on a community, national, and global level? Often times, ethical teaching and thinking are reduced to a specialized form of rhetoric where one is required to “consider” all sides and make a recommendation for action. The problem with this sort pedagogy is that students can maintain a safe distance from how their views impact the world–while likely overlooking the complexities of the ethical dilemma. Read more…
Every school day in Quest Atlantis, hundreds of students submit responses to Quests, and teachers all over the world review those responses. And every workday, I receive several notifications from teachers who want to highlight an extraordinary response submitted by one of their students. I always get a little thrill when I read those nominations, because I know that these are efforts that make teachers proud… and a proud teacher is a happy teacher! There is no feeling on Earth to compare with seeing that spark … evidence that a student “gets it.” Being a former schoolteacher myself, I know that feeling. When one of my students turned in an assignment that knocked my socks off, I wanted to go door to door or shout it from the rooftops!