How I Use It
I did personally purchase the iPad app for Maya Mysteries. The iPad app costs $9.99, which it is too expensive for me to require for parents to download in my BYOT classroom. The app on my personal iPad would allow me to use the educational game in the classroom since the filter blocks the website version. Students could use it as a station for small groups of students to complete; it is not something that everyone in the class would have access to. I think it could be motivating to students as an extension activity. The levels I have played can exist independently, so students would not be restricted to start at the beginning.
The learning game is presented as a mystery that needs to be solved using a detective in Mexico, an American archaeologist, and the archaeologist's niece and nephew. The visuals are cartoon in nature, but they are generally accurate based on respective photographs I've seen of the same structures and artifacts.
The game mixes story telling with questions to test for understanding, sometimes through filling in details on a map. Other challenges are just a series of multiple choice questions. As you progress through the game, you want to collect artifacts from the sites and of course points. There are also achievements to earn at some levels.
The premise is engaging and flows easily. I originally only had access to the demo version of the website, so it was limited to the first set of challenges. There are features that are offered for teachers that purchase a class license, but with only the demo account there was no way to fully explore the options and figure out how that would look in a classroom.
The website was blocked at school as a game website, it did not matter that it is an educational game. This would be a road block in being able to use in school.