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How is this multiplayer online game engaging students in STEM?

Would this online game encourage you to study STEM? Source: Shutterstock

For five years, a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) named The Radix Endeavor has transformed fields of STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and math).

This immersive virtual experience elevates STEM learning by placing its users in a 2D or 3D simulated world.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through a US$3 million grant, it has helped many high school learners and online learners understand the topics of STEM and apply them to their academic progress.

Throughout the game, students cover concepts in biology, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics. Task-based assessments for each topic area are embedded and teachers can use the data to monitor progress and tailor lessons.

Described as an “Earth-like world in which science is being kept from the people by an evil ruler”, the players are part of an underground group that’s trying to take science back by solving the island’s environmental and social problems and by exploring unknown plants, animals and mysterious locations.

Despite facing potential scepticism about the true effectiveness of an online game, data from The Radix Endeavor is synthesised and displayed on a ‘Teacher Portal’ website that helps professors monitor their students’ progress and tailor the lesson to their needs.

Free of charge, thanks to the grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it costs teachers and students nothing to play this game.

However as it is cross-platform and played entirely online, it requires a stable Internet connection and a Flash-plug in.

Minimum system requirements include:

  • Windows and Macintosh
    Microsoft Windows XP or Mac OS 10.6
    Modern Intel Core series or AMD Athlon Processor @ 2GHz or faster
    1GB of RAM
    1024 x 768 display (1280 x 800 recommended) with 16-bit video card
    Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 22, Chrome 27
    Adobe Flash Player 11.2 Download
    Broadband Internet Connection required for online access to Radix

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Education Arcade

As an integral part of the MIT Education Arcade, The Radix Endeavor is just one of many accessible games that tie into students’ math and science curricula.

Other games in the lab include:

Shadowspect: A game that addresses the topic area of geometric measurement and dimension, including the relationship between 2D and 3D shapes.

CLEVR: A collaborative educational game that uses immersive 3DVR to help teams of high school students learn cell biology called Cellverse.

pSIMS: A suite of mobile-device enabled activities called pSims, short for participatory simulations, that enable participants to engage in active, inquiry-based learning through their interactions with the simulation.

UbiqBio (Ubiquitous Biology Games): A series of casual mobile games designed to promote deep learning and strong engagement for high school biology students in the areas of genetics, protein synthesis, evolution and food webs.

Vanished: A curated alternate reality game exposing middle grades students to careers in STEM by engaging them in the work of scientists.

By supporting the fields of STEM, online games like the ones featured above are gaining traction in the online educator sector.

Underpinning the importance of science, tech, engineering and mathematics education, they’re open to learners of any age- not just high school students!

So if you’re ready to get transported into a free virtual dimension of explorative tasks and academic achievements, here’s a fun option.

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