Thursday 4 November 2010

The Crystal Island project

[caption id="attachment_87" align="alignleft" width="300" caption=""Your adventure begins in a village on a deserted island supplied only with a backpack. The necessities have already been provided—a camera, notebook and map—and will aid you in navigating this quest on foot.""][/caption]

This morning, we had an exciting visit from some colleagues at The William and Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University.  Bethany Smith and Dr. Hiller Spires introduced my grade 7 class to their Crystal Island Project.  With a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, they have developed an innovative, educational science video game for elementary school students.  Students work through a series of quests on a deserted island in a 3D virtual world.  Their game uses the Unity game engine that also powers Atmosphir and Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online.  Today's class was fully engaged and I have already gotten emails from a number of students asking for the web address so that they can continue playing from home.  At the moment, the project is still in its research phase, so it is not available to the public.  Which makes it all the more exciting that we have had the chance to participate.  They have welcomed to me continue participating, so I will be talking to grade 4 and 5 teachers this week to see if they have any interest in running a class through the game.  They have one project aimed at grade 5 students that teaches landforms and ecosystems while the grade 8 project is about microbiology.  It will be exciting to participate in educational technology research first hand .  I will continue to post about our experiences as different groups get to try out the game.

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