Here is a rap about the Radix experience, written by one of our earliest players, Viraz. He has also been providing tips and tricks about the game over in the forums. Thanks, Viraz!
News by louisa
Earlier this summer we announced 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 been writing some tip sheets for other students who are new to the game to help them get going, and he'll continue to post new tips throughout this semester. Point your students toward his column in the forums to check out the tips, and encourage them to share their own tips as well!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
The Radix Team is proud to announce that in the past week we have reached the milestone of 5,000 Radix accounts created! This includes teacher accounts, student accounts, and player (outside of school) accounts. We have reached this milestone in only the first three months of the pilot release so we are really excited to see this many people showing an interest in Radix. In addition, while we're thrilled that so many people are hearing about Radix and checking out the game, we're planning to focus our efforts during the pilot phase on taking those users further. This means that beyond creating accounts, we want to encourage users to engage more deeply with the game and really make the most of what Radix has to offer!
If you are a teacher who is finished using Radix in your classroom for this semester, please take this survey! It should take about 20 minutes to complete.
Why are we asking you to take this survey? As part of our work at The Education Arcade, we not only design and develop learning games but also conduct research studies around them. One aspect of The Radix Endeavor that we are studying is the feasibility of implementation in schools. Essentially that means we want get a good picture of what the teacher experience is like of using Radix with a class of students. In order to gather feedback on this experience from as many teachers as possible, we are conducting this survey.
Note: If you are still going to do more with Radix this semester, please wait until you're done and then take the survey. Alternatively, if you plan to use Radix again next semester but are done for this semester, please take the survey now!
Bonus: Teachers who have had their students play Radix and take the survey will be entered in a raffle to win a $50 Amazon gift card.