We are now live with our scheduled Winter 2019 update. Keep in mind this means you will need to download an update before you use Tyto Online next time you use it, or in the new year. If you use Chromebooks, this will be similar to when you originally downloaded the game. If you are on Windows/Mac, it will be faster.
We’re super excited to announce our new improvements and content!
Two New Ecology Storylines
Our Ecology Storylines were the first ones we’d made, and they were due for improvements from our new capabilities and what we’ve learned working with educators. We still have more coming, but these are our first two newly-redone Ecology storylines:
Night of the Living Detritus
Using the brand-new Antifier (ant robot), Cherie plans to do a deep-dive into one of the Amazon’s ant colonies. Unfortunately, something strange seems to be happening to the ants: they’re turning into zombies! This storyline uses the anchoring phenomena of cordyceps with ants in the Amazon Rainforest to explore effects of resource availability, cycling of matter, and how changes to ecosystems impact populations.
Students get to actually track ants as they crawl to the top of a plant and die and the cordyceps grow from their head and release infecting spores! They collect data, make observations, figure out what is happening, and then make recommendations on what might need to be done about this invasion.
Yes, you get to play as a robot ant in this storyline!
Seal of Disapproval
Captain Nenson is worried about the Pacific Ocean biodome’s seal, Ronan. She isn’t eating and seems to be in pain. Other fish seem to be affected, but Ronan is the sickest, even though all she eats is fish! This storyline uses the anchoring phenomenon of bioamplification with microplastics to explore cycling of matter in ecosystems, changes in physical components of an ecosystem impacting populations, and evaluating design solutions for maintaining biodiversity.
Students examine Ronan the seal and ultrasounds, find data from the rest of her ecosystem in the reef, get her to throw up, watch her digest more fish, and determine exactly why she’s getting sick from all their data and experiments! They then research various proposals and determine the best design solution to solve the problem.
Glossary & Vocabulary Support
We’ve heard from a lot of teachers that their students could use vocabulary support, so we’ve added a Glossary in the game. Now there are many places where students can click on highlighted words and view a definition of that word. In the coming months, we’ll be updating the image of our panganog reading to specific vocabulary sketches for each vocabulary word, in order to help students better comprehend and retain the vocabulary words.
Additionally, we’re adding Vocabulary Cards to our Storyline Teacher Guides so that you can print copies of this for a Vocabulary Wall for your classroom, if you’d like! We envision being able to put up the vocabulary words as your students run into them throughout the storyline, adding to your vocabulary wall. Let us know if you have any other ideas about how we can support your students in their science vocabulary!
Art Museum (Enrichment)
Our art team also added an Art Museum in the Marketplace area of the Student District. This is set up for some permanent and rotating exhibits. Our first exhibit is Remembering Earth, since the game is set in a future where students had to evacuate Earth. The themes of the art pieces explore human impact on our home planet.
Additional Improvements & Bug Fixes
- Hover-over tooltips now work properly on Chromebooks.
- Fixed a bug where a server crash could cause lost progress (also fixed related server crash!).
- Jack rabbit hologram no longer appears during dialogue.
- Amazon biodome entrance cinematic can now be skipped.
- Fixed some user experience issues in the O.R.B. (Weather & Climate Sandbox).
- When you create a new planet in the O.R.B., you will automatically enter it.
- Added information to help players understand the severity of the Greenhouse Gases released in their planets for the O.R.B.
- Made it so that in-progress air mass deployments can be returned to in the O.R.B. rather than having to start over if you click away and back.
- Improved the initial “enter world” screen when students first log in for more clarity.