Odyssey the new adventure game trialled as innovative educational tool
Odyssey, from innovative educators The Young Socratics, is an exciting adventure game that tells the story of 13-year-old Kai and her family, stranded on a Caribbean island after their boat was sunk by pirates. But it also tells the story of the history of astronomy, mechanics and scientific reasoning – and features puzzles that require an understanding of scientific models to solve.
Odyssey, which features a story written by Tomb Raider: Underworld creative director Eric Lindstrom, was recently trialled at AltSchool in Palo Alto, to promising results.
AltSchool – a network of schools around the United States with a focus on personalised learning – introduced its middle school students to Odyssey as part of a science assessment.
Classes began with an introduction to the relevant topics, before students played the game, solved the puzzles, and discussed the solutions. At the end students undertook a short assessment.
The Young Socratics hope that Odyssey presents a different, more engaging approach to game-based learning than previous attempts.
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“Omkar Deshpande, co-founder of The Young Socratics, said: “Educational games generally tend to feel quite overtly educational, and there is either no storytelling or it’s patched on top of the content in an incidental way. We have gone much further in developing the environment and story in the journal, and blending it with the history of science content in a very unique way.”
“The initial results are promising, but truly evaluating effectiveness requires funding,” said continued. “One would have to create two groups – one to play Odyssey, and the other to be taught using a regular classroom teaching model, with students randomly assigned to each group. If the first group showed better learning than the second, that would show the game-based learning was effective.
“So we are going to keep looking at this. Early signs are good – but we need funding, we need controlled studies, and we need to look very carefully at whether this could be a hugely significant way of improving kids’ educations.”
Because of this need for more information and study on the game, The Young Socratics will be releasing Odyssey on Steam Early Access on February 23.”
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