Last year our school system offered training for Quest Atlantis teachers. We had a small group of students the last month of school. The students loved it and so did I. This year we have a larger group of students in an after school QA club. We hope to begin soon.
Just last week eSchool News reported student increases in math and reading using QA. The Fall 2008 edition of JRTE (Journal of Research on Technology in Education) arrived this week and one of the reviewed articles was "A MUVE Toward PBL Writing: Effects of a Digital Learning Environment Designed To Improve Elementary Student Writing." (MUVE is multi-user virtual environment) If you are familiar with Second Life, this is a similar environment designed especially for 4-5 graders and 6-8 graders. The students in elementary (4-5) are in a different world than the students in grades 6-8. The students use their avatars to complete quests on different curriculum topics. There are over 500 quests. Teachers assign or offer selection of quests. There are different worlds in QA, focusing on different areas. But the best part is QA is just plain fun! ASU uses a similar environment in their grad program in technology, called AppEdTech. Interesting way to learn for adults, too!
After reviewing different types of computer games (drill and practice, digital games & simulations, off the shelf games, and curriculum-driven games), the authors begin discussing their MUVE, Anytown, in Quest Atlantis. The use of PBL (problem based learning)in Anytown is well planned and presented.
There is anticipation that our students will enjoy these activities and surprise themselves at how much they are learning.