Posts tagged #education

New MMO from Immersed Games aims to educate

There's no doubt that video games have the power to hold kids' attention for hours, but what if you could teach them while they were playing, without pushing it on them? That's what Ryan and Lindsey Tropf are hoping to do with their new game, Tyto Online. Currently on Kickstarter (see the sidebar for the donation page), they are hoping to fund the first learning module of their MMO, which will focus on ecology at the middle school level.

To find out more, visit their Kickstarter page, or



(Gainesville, FL) Video games and education may sound like they don’t belong in the same world. In fact, some would think they’re direct competitors for our youth’s attention. But one ambitious company is looking to change all that with their new futuristic learning game, Tyto Online.
Ryan and Lindsey Tropf started out as gamers, solving problems and battling heroically in fantasy worlds like World of Warcraft.
“I had learned so much, without trying, through the act of play.  I knew thousands of items, strategies, and approaches.  I knew so much, but not much of it really mattered outside of the game world…” said Lindsey, who realized what a powerful medium games can be for learning.
Seven years later, their mission: harnessing the addictive power of video games for learning.
A recent Kickstarter Campaign, which was launched on July 10th, will help fund their learning game, Tyto Online. The $50,000 campaign has raised over $36,000 as of July 25th and proposes to fund the basic features, including networking and a customizable character and room, and the first learning module of the game.
The first learning module focuses on middle school ecology. In the game, students will explore various ecosystems housed in futuristic biodomes, solve problems through quests, discover new plants and animals, and have the experience of creating their own ecosystem simulation to apply and extend their learning in a creative way.
Immersed Games, the company they founded to create Tyto Online, plans to continue expanding, releasing additional modules over time, until they have covered multiple subjects of material for students in 3rd-12th grade. In this way, they will be creating a game-based learning platform where students can engage in exploratory learning and discover new subjects and educational content.
Potential backers have pledged donations in exchange for creative rewards such as naming a street or designing a character. To learn more please visit


Posted on August 4, 2014 and filed under News.

Show some Kickstarter love to Tornado Maker

We need more educational games for middle schoolers. (My kids are almost middle schoolers... so this is near and dear to me.) Remember Oregon Trail? Where are those kinds of games today? So hey, there's a cool company making a cool game for middle schoolers teaching them about tornadoes and weather. Their Kickstarter is SO close to being funded, please check it out and show some support! There's only 16 hours left!

It's called Tornado Maker and the company is OutThinkInc

Posted on January 8, 2013 and filed under News.

Do Kids Learn From Video Games? Research says... maybe

Published in the Review of Educational Research, researchers1 recently took a look at data surrounding video games and their affect on academic achievement. Their conclusion? Educational gaming may have some benefit for kids in the areas of history, language acquisition, and physical education (in exercise games) but there is inconclusive evidence that such gaming improve math or science.

Daniel Wiligham, Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, writes:

[The researchers] did try to cast a wide net to capture positive effects of gaming. They did not limit their analysis to random-control trials, but included qualitative research as well. They considered outcome measures not just of improved content knowledge (history, math, etc.) but also claims that gaming might build teams or collaborative skills, or that gaming could build motivation to do other schoolwork.

Making generalizations about the educational value of gaming is difficult because games are never played the same way twice. There's inherent noise in the experimental treatment. That makes the need for systematicity in the experimental literature all the more important. Yet the existing studies monitor different player activities, assess different learning outcomes, and, of course, test different games with different features.

The authors draw this rather wistful conclusion: “The inconclusive nature of game-based learning research seems to only hint at the value of games as educational tools.”

The number of studies reviewed in the research study was relatively small, only 39, particularly given that educational gaming has been around for quite a while.

Wilingham also notes that the review did not include any studies of simulations, which might have had more positive effects on math and science learning.

So the next time you are thinking about buying a so-called "edutainment game", consider this: there might not be as much benefit as you think. If they're going to spend time playing, their time might be better spent learning how to become a competitive Starcraft player.

OK, I made that last part up.

1. Young, M. F. et al. (2012). Our princess is in another castle: A review of trends in serious gaming for education. Review of Educational Research, 82, 61-89.

Posted on March 30, 2012 .