Maryland Public Television (MPT), in collaboration with MIT's Education Arcade and education media producer FableVision, has announced the launch of Lure of the Labyrinth, an online pre-algebra middle school math game developed to reach today's tech-savvy students in a contemporary new way. The organizations have applied the latest research in game theory and cutting-edge design to produce a powerful, free learning tool to help all students learn regardless of their math ability, according to the announcement.
Lure of the Labyrinth can be accessed free of charge at Thinkport.org (www.thinkport.org), MPT's K-12 education web site.
Using the immersive characteristics of digital games, Labyrinth blends a storyline with multi-level puzzle play to build pre-algebra skills in several core areas: proportions - fractions and ratios; variables and equations; and numbers and operations.
An underground monster-inhabited world comes to life as students plunge into a shadowy factory on a compelling rescue mission. Taking on a monster persona (avatar), students disguise themselves as "insiders" to maneuver through math problems and ultimately rescue their missing pet.
Labyrinth can be played individually or in teams, and was created to give all students a chance to learn and succeed. An online communication device allows players to exchange ideas and game strategies and encourages collaborative game play while building 21st century skills.
MIT Education Arcade Creative Director Scot Osterweil led the design team incorporating fundamental elements of a good learning game. "Effective games allow students to succeed through trial and error. They learn to use the feedback from short-term setbacks to achieve success," explains Osterweil. "In the process they construct a deeper understanding of the math concepts."
A team of Maryland middle school teachers worked alongside MPT from project inception to advise, learn, and test the game at each stage of development. The game web site provides comprehensive educator materials to support teaching (especially for those reluctant non-gamers) before, during, and after game play. The materials provide a detailed "how to" for every aspect of the game along with suggested small- or large-scale classroom implementation.
For more information about Lure of the Labyrinth and project partners go to:
Lure of the Labyrinth, http://labyrinth.thinkport.org/
MIT Education Arcade, www.educationarcade.org
Project funding provided by the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program, www.ed.gov/programs/starschools/index.html.
Source: Maryland Public Television, www.mpt.org