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MIT Unveils Multiplayer Online STEM Game

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Parents may worry their children waste too much time playing video games, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Education Arcade say the engaging medium could help high school students think like scientists and mathematicians. With $3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they have developed a massive, multiplayer online (MMO) game called Radix Endeavor to test the theory.

Set to debut this September in beta form, the game capitalizes on student interactions to build STEM knowledge and skills. In the World of Warcraft-like premise, an evil ruler in Renaissance times has made science a forbidden pursuit. Players are part of a secret society trying to take science back for the benefit of the people, pursuing various “quests” that include embedded assessments to let teachers see in real time how well each student has mastered the material and to tailor instruction accordingly.

Radix is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards for biology and to the Common Core State Mathematics Standards. Initial science topics to be covered include genetics, evolution, ecology, and the human body. Math will focus primarily on algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics. The researchers also have built in opportunities for students to develop key math practices and 21st century skills, such as problem solving and collaboration.

Click HERE for an overview of Radix Endeavor or watch a webinar about MMOs as educational tools. MIT is offering in-person professional development for teachers on Oct. 19. Sign up required.

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