Research & Technology

LabCrystal Island: Lost Investigation is an intelligent game-based learning environment leveraging the inferential capabilities of intelligent tutoring systems and the compelling immersive worlds of commercial game engines. With a curricular focus of 8th grade English language arts and science education emphasizing informational texts and microbiology, research in the Lost Investigation episode investigates the central issues of literacy skill acquisition, learning outcomes, and engagement.

The Crystal Island: Lost Investigation project investigates literacy education by targeting the following two objectives:

  1. Design a suite of intelligent game-based learning environment technologies for middle grade literacy education. The project team has created an engaging intelligent game-based learning environment for middle grade literacy education that creates goal-based problem scenarios dynamically tailored to students’ abilities, models students’ problem-solving progress, and provides customized explanations and feedback. The environment features an immersive 3D story world with an expansive cast of characters in which the student plays the role of a science detective. Thousands of students from urban, suburban, and rural schools have used Crystal Island, which have demonstrated that students experience significant learning gains when they interact with Crystal Island.
  2. Create an implementation program to provide a comprehensive account of middle grade students’ acquisition of literacy skills as they interact with intelligent game-based learning environments. To understand the mechanisms by which learning occurs, the project team has taken a mixed method approach to investigating literacy learning with the Crystal Island learning environment for middle grade students. With online formative and summative assessments conducted directly in the Crystal Island learning environment, the studies investigate the central issues of literacy skill acquisition as well as those of learning engagement. The implementation supports key learning competencies within the Common Core in literacy. The goal of the Crystal Island project is to determine precisely which technologies and conditions contribute most effectively to literacy learning processes and outcomes.

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