In one week, we’ll be launching our massive Fall 2019 update — then schools can start downloading/deploying to devices and getting ready for using it this school year! We wanted to give a preview of what’s coming, so educators can start their planning!
Weather & Climate Module
Four New Storylines
We have completely redesigned our beta storylines for Weather & Climate. These four storylines covering the standards are:
- Rain shadow storyline where students figure out why one side of the island is a desert, while the other is a rainforest. They release data sensors at various points, examine the temperature, humidity, and precipitation levels, and discover the way the air masses follow patterns of moving from high to low pressure settings based on density.
- Water spout storyline where students learn about how air masses colliding cause weather, by releasing sensors into a water spout and assessing how it was formed. They make a prediction and help design a system for what warning signs would be useful to know when water spouts may form in the future.
- The Pacific Garbage Patch is used to explore how garbage could collect in specific spots in the ocean, based on researching the heating and cooling cycles and its interaction with global currents and patterns.
- Coral bleaching in a Pacific Reef has students start by understanding the complex ecosystem dynamics. They then research coral bleaching, from a microscope to analyzing data graphs, and then running experiments on coral to make an argument for what is causing increasing bleaching events. We similarly examine global CO2 and temperature patterns, and have students run an experiment to understand the mechanism that causes climate change.
Want to read the full curriculum map for our fall update? Click this link! The Weather & Climate Module is the last section, starting on page 36.
The O.R.B. (Sandbox)
We also have a brand new sandbox with Weather & Climate, which we’ve named The O.R.B. (Orrery Research Building). Students will edit its tilt and rotation, add air masses, and work to “fix” the planet by filling it with a diverse set of stable biomes. After that, they will place human settlements, which collect resources and demand increasing levels of energy. The student must manage this increasing technology research and help their settlements get enough energy without releasing too much Greenhouse Gas and destroying their planet.
Full details with a walk-through about the O.R.B. will be shared in the coming weeks!
Directional Arrow, Clearer Instructions & Tutorial, and more!
We’ve spent a lot of time listening to student and teacher feedback, and making the game objectives as clear as we can. We now have a literal arrow above your head that can be turned on to point to where to go next, and tells you when you’re arrived!
We’ve done a lot of work around usability, improving our instructions, tutorials, instructions, digging into the data to see exactly where students were getting stuck in their arguments so we can provide more specific feedback and clarity there. For example, there’s a little green highlight around the skill you should be using for a specific stage of a quest, to help make sure students know exactly what to do next. We’ll be constantly doing even more here, of course, so that it’s as simple as possible to use Tyto Online!
Part of making things easier to use for students has been making signs and navigation around the physical in-game levels easier, too. We were able to do massive improvements to our central Student District, streamlining navigation and adding a variety of set dressing features (due to some technical improvements).
Here’s a lovely view of the newly updated Tyto Academy, where each of our characters who run their Module’s Sandboxes have customized offices. This makes it more clear where students go to enter the Sandboxes or accept related challenges.
For example, say hello to Dr. Ajay Singh, our new character that gets you into the Weather & Climate Sandbox.
We are also excited to be launching our new, improved assessment dashboard! Teachers are shown relevant educational information that is generated from the work students have done in the game. We summarize it based on how well they are doing with various performance expectations, feature areas where students are struggling, and show progress on assigned content.
This data is drawn from the authentic work product students do in the game. For example, we show the exact arguments students use when engaging in argumentation from evidence, so teachers can use it for differentiation or small group instruction based on responses.