Quest Atlantis gets Major Boost

March 4, 2008 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Sasha Barab at Indiana University School of Education has secured a major grant ($1.8 Million!) from the MacArthur Foundation to expand Quest Atlantis – adding new content and support to extend it to many thousands more pupils. More here. This is a very significant grant, and will surely serve to further boost the perception of virtual worlds in education.

There are some good interview excerpts at the bottom of the press release, which I’ll freely quote here.

Quest Atlantis does not operate independently of the teacher, Barab says:
“They’re collecting data and having to make decisions about how to operate in these worlds. Well, the teacher’s role is incredibly necessary; in a lot of the research we looked at ‘What is the teacher’s role in these spaces?’ Because of the big fear of ‘Are the games going to replace the teacher?’ What we found is exactly the opposite. It’s really hard to make a game that a kid can’t click on and move through and kind of win with a cheat code. So what the teachers do is they really get kids to think deeply about what they’re submitting, about the questions that are going on in a space, about what science is necessary to make sense of it.”

Barab says the expansion of Quest Atlantis to many more students across the globe can help transform methods of learning acquisition:
“What’s exciting about being part of MacArthur’s views is changing part of media literacy is you feel like you’re part of something bigger than your own research. I just got back from a meeting at the MacArthur foundation and there was a sense that we were on the edge of something really big and they were trying to kind of break out of the box, to expose the world to new types of literacy, to new ways that kids can learn that ultimately could change us from the notion that there’s this kind of content that was done by these people who are now dead and your job is to acquire it. To switch us to tools to help kids become producers, to become critical creators, not just simply consumers of information that they’re taught not to question.”

Author: Daniel Livingstone, 3rd March 2008


Entry filed under: DGBL, Games, Interaction, Learning, Pedagogy, Trends. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
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