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Ask Viraz

We're excited to announce a new resource for getting started with Radix - Ask Viraz! Viraz is student in the Boston area who got into playing Radix through his school. He has decided to write some tip sheets for other students who are new to the game to help them get going. The first post, about how to get started with the tutorial quest line, is up in the forums already. He'll be posting more tips on the game, tools, and quests over the summer and into the fall. So check back for more and feel free to ask him questions on the forum as well. Thanks Viraz for helping support all the new Radix players out there!

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General

Radix Stats

With the spring semester over (and summer finally here!) we're happy to be able to share a few basic stats on the usage of Radix so far. Since February 2014, we have:

  • Over 6,700 accounts created, including over 1,000 teacher accounts
  • Teachers from 47 of the 50 states (plus DC and Puerto Rico!) and 42 other countries
  • Over 400 classes created
  • Over 27,000 individual quests completed

Stay tuned for more on teacher feedback and initial research data later in the summer!

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Radix Maintenance: WEDNESDAY 7/9/14 5-7 PM EDT

Hello Radix users!We'd like to inform you of an upcoming maintenance window, scheduled for Wednesday, 7/9/14 5-7 PM EDT.Our website, www.radixendeavor.org will be down and inaccessible during this period so that we can bring you fixes/improvements. Please schedule your play sessions accordingly!Thank you for your patience, and thank you for playing!

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Updates

Fictional Animals

As soon as you step into the world of Radix, you notice the animals. Big and small, cute and creepy, a seasoned Radix traveler has seen it all. But what you may not think much about is how the Radix game designers decided what animals to put in the game. Some animals are quite realistic, like the teebeedee bird and the polka fish. But others, such as the plumebill or the spekkler, are not quite like anything you've seen before here on Earth. They may have certain characteristics in common with real world animals, but they are still very unique.

From a gameplay point of view, it's more interesting to explore a new world full of animals and plants you've never seen. It's exciting and exotic! But fictional species help accomplish our learning objectives as well. Radix encourages players to explore and explain this new world, and it's certainly more challenging to explain a world of creatures you've never seen before. These creatures are realistic enough that knowledge of the Radix ecosystems can certainly transfer to the real world. However, the only way to find out what traits and genetics these creatures have is to use your trait examiner tool on them and to try breeding them yourself. In addition, having a fresh new set of content means players are all starting on the same level. No one can bring prior knowledge of specific animal behaviors and use it as an advantage, which ensures that no external information is necessary. Everything players need to know they can discover within the game, and that's where both the fun and learning happen.

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Design
Curriculum

Botanical Gardens


If Ysola had a botanical garden, it would look something like this! With plants from all the biomes growing together in one place you can see the rich array of vegetation that grows across the island. Bright grassland feltspittles, slimy forest jelly hats, and curly swampy helix weed. Each plant has unique traits and attributes to explore in the world. Use your measure tool to compare the heights of different plants. Use the trait examiner to collect color data on the shades of mushroom colors and use statistics to describe that distribution. Play through quests to discover medicinal uses and nutritional properties of the plants too.

At first glance it may seem that the plants in Radix are just decorative, or there to set the scene. But once you explore them further you will see what an integral part of the game and the Ysolian culture they really are. This is not by accident and it's not just for fun. By giving them measurable properties, genetic traits, and narrative value, the plants enable players to make a lot of discoveries on their own, in the domains of both math and biology. Players looking at leaf stickiness for one quest might also discover the fascinating recessive color pattern they have. This encourages inquiry and motivates players to keep exploring, which are important design goals for the Radix game.

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Curriculum

Birds of Ysola

No one has yet published a Field Guide to Ysolian Birds, but here are a few avian species to get you started. The bright orange teebeedee birds are known for their unique call of "teebeedee! teebeedee! tee tee teebeedee!". The crested fen has a deep beak for storing small fish and grubs that it may want to snack on later. And the blackburns, while often considered urban pests, have fabulous colors and patterns that can be traced back thousands of years. Keep an eye (and ear) out for these species on your next birdwatching trip!

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Design

Math Content in Radix

We frequently field questions and concerns over the math content in the game. Radix currently has six quest lines for math - two for algebra, three for geometry, and one for statistics. While the biology content in the game is primarily applicable to high school, the math is more flexible. During our pilot this spring, we found that the math content works well in a variety of settings. The topics work very well for middle school, particularly the algebra quest lines. For high school, the content level seemed a bit low at times, though teachers reported that the game is a good way to reinforce and review concepts. What we want math teachers to keep in mind is that the math quests emphasize problem solving and reasoning. Calculating area and perimeter is simple, but solving an optimization problem requires additional thought. In statistics, we are not asking players to calculate the mean of a data set, but rather ask them to think about how a data set is collected or what descriptive statistic is best to summarize a data set. We want to give players an opportunity to use both math concepts and mathematical thinking in order to solve problems in real world situations. For some players, the tasks will seem too easy, for some they will be quite difficult. Given all the variability, we're excited to get more feedback on how the math quests fit in with different grade and student ability levels. Drop us a note in the forums or contact us using the form on the website and let us know what you think!

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Classroom Use
Curriculum

Radix Maintenance: TUESDAY 5/27/14 5-7 PM EDT

Hello Radix users!

We'd like to inform you of an upcoming maintenance window, scheduled for Tuesday, 5/27/14 5-7 PM EDT.

Our website, www.radixendeavor.org will be down and inaccessible during this period so that we can bring you fixes/improvements. Please schedule your play sessions accordingly!

Thank you for your patience, and thank you for playing!

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Updates

Engagement Research

One thing we want to look at in our Radix research project in student engagement levels. We hope to gain some insight into questions about what activities, concepts, or types of implementation models engage students. One way that we are going to collect data on this is by making observations about students' behavior and affect while they play Radix. Throughout the pilot phase when we visit classrooms, we will be utilizing the BROMP protocol. This is an observation method in which students are observed at time intervals and two things are recorded. One is their behavior - are they on task, off task, talking with their neighbor about the game, etc. The other is their apparent affect - are they concentrating, confused, bored, frustrated? Since these observations are timestamped, later on during the analysis phase we can match them up with back-end gameplay data which is also timestamped. This way we may get a more clear picture of what types of interactions or quests are most engaging or frustrating, and for whom. Stay tuned after the pilot to hear more about what we find!

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Research

Radix Maintenance: WEDNESDAY 5/7/14 9 PM EDT

Hello Radix users!

We'd like to inform you of an upcoming maintenance window, scheduled for Wednesday, 5/7/14 9-9:30 PM EDT.

Our website, www.radixendeavor.org will be down and inaccessible during this period so that we can bring you website fixes/improvements. Please schedule your play sessions accordingly!

Thank you for your patience, and thank you for playing!

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The Radix Endeavor is an educational MMO game in development at The MIT Education Arcade, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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