Software for Learning | Games and Simulations | Introduction |
Learning Activities for Myst

After reviewing each software package, we asked the evaluators to design a learning activity that uses Myst.

Learning Ideas by David Gorman

Myst would be a very long and detailed (and fascinating!) game in which to complete. In fact, it took me over 3 hours just to get the hang of it. I believe that students that play Myst and really throw themselves into it would learn some neat problem-solving skills and have fun along the way.

I found navigating around the island to be fairly easy and visually exciting. I also discovered a variety of geometric shapes and solids that would be recognizable to a student studying geometry. Using the island as a platform, one could provide a worksheet with questions that the students must answer as they wander around.

For example, the floor of the library is built in the shape of a regular octagon (maybe it was a decagon?) and by providing the students with some basic measurements, they could be asked to compute the area of the floor. Another example would concern scaling. The map of the island located on the wall of the library could be a scale (we could use the metric system for this!). If the students were told that it was 15 cm from the library to the spaceship on the map, then they could be asked to determine the actual distance in meters. A similar question for computing the weight of the clock tower using a proportion with other objects (a tree) could easily be developed.

The activities described above do not use Myst in a way that takes advantage of the nature of the game. My concerns would be that:

  1. it would take too much time for the class to complete the exercises and
  2. students would become distracted by actually playing the game and not concentrating on the math questions that they're supposed to answer.
Possible benefits of using Myst as described above would be
  1. exposing students to using technology in a fun, non-threatening way and
  2. associating mathematics with 'real-life' (in the context of the game" objects and problems.

Who knows, if all went well they might learn a little on their own just by trying to move around the island.

[go to David Gorman's review]

Learning Ideas by David Raffaelle

The game Myst is similar to a large puzzle or riddle. Many of the clues are in the form of numbers which are needed to open doors, start machinery, etc. For my physics classes, I could design homework or quiz problems whose numerical answers are the 'clues' needed in the game. This would be an ongoing, semester-long event with clues for upper game levels given later in the semester. The students would not be graded on their mastery of the game, but only upon their completion f the homework or quiz. The game would serve only as incentive.

This would require that I have an extensive knowledge of the game, which I am told would require approximately 100 hours of playing time. As they say - it would be a tough job, but somebody would have to do it.

[go to David Raffaelle's review]

Learning Ideas by Kyle Rawlings

  1. Present detailed observations of island (teamwork!).
  2. Hypothesize as to meaning of information or observation.
  3. Test meaning, observe further problems.
  4. Outline solutions, attempts and alternative strategies for solutions.
  5. Try the proposed strategies from different groups, see which works!
I think this approach could emphasize cooperation and how to let ideas compete at the same time. Then with new information - improve, update prior ideas and try again. This is the way real scientific observation is done.

[go to Kyle Rawlings' review]

Learning Ideas by Laura Ruiz-Scott

I think that Myst can provide a creative way for students of foreign languages to develop knowledge of the Spanish language other ways than the traditional textbook/drill method.

SPANISH 101,102
Since vocabulary acquisition is just beginning and grammatical structure is also limited, I would begin by using Myst as a way to introduce new vocabulary words and simple instructions. First, I would give the students the necessary vocabulary to learn the buildings that are encountered on the Island of Myst. I would then hand out to the class simple instructions in Spanish and ask them to follow those instructions. For instance: Walk down the wharf to the end and climb the stairs. Turn left and walk down the walkway to another set of stairs.

Initially, I would make out about eight to ten different sets of instructions so that all students are not handed the same instructions. I would have each set end up in a different place ( the library, the shed, the spaceship, the fountain, the clock tower, the elevator in the tower, the observatory) and the student would tell me where they ended. That would be my way of checking if they were able to follow instructions correctly.

I would increase vocabulary words and make more sets of instructions, each one more complex, as the semester progressed. The students would tell me where their destination was and I would ask them to also explore. Particularly with 102 I would ask them to describe their surroundings and, thus, build up their vocabulary.

SPANISH 201, 202
I would be more descriptive and also ask them to describe in a more detailed fashion their surroundings. I would probably ask them to explore more and go to one destination and be very detailed as to what they saw and what they could do there. I feel the this level could also travel to another age ( if I can figure out how) and ask them to narrate in Spanish what they had read about the age from the books in the library.

I think that this is a good way for a left brain activity (language) to team up with a right brain activity (spatial / visual) thus providing a more whole brain process to language acquisition.

[go to Laura Ruiz-Scott's review]

Learning Ideas by Caryl Terrell-Bamiro

I am unable to do this because I was unable to get to the various worlds. Had I been able to do so, I might have been able to design an activity (or more) for each world for my mythology (ENH 251) class.

It took me four hours and I never got past the dock and its nearby buildings and chambers. Possibly a student could do so (progress to worlds) in much less time. However, if it would take a student more than an hour to do so, I'm not sure I could justify a homework assignment related to it. That would require time beyond the game time.

[go to Caryl Terrell-Bamiro's review]