Review by David Thomas, Common Sense Education | Updated December 2013

The Radix Endeavor

Online fantasy world is a platform for STEM skills

Common Sense says
Teachers say (4 Reviews)
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Grades
8-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Manages to weave in valuable STEM skills.

Cons: Difficulty needs tweaking as some quests prove too difficult.

Bottom Line: The Radix Endeavor strikes a rare balance between game mechanics and learning outcomes, satisfying both students' love of play and teachers' curricular requirements.

Kids can go on learning adventures, alone or together, and earn points in the meantime while teachers can make sure each student is on track. After requesting -- and being approved for -- a teacher’s account, teachers can use a tracking and reporting console that lets them monitor and track student progress. This effectively allows the game to be used as its own unit. Teachers can assign in-game quests, track where each student is, and provide on-demand help.  Since the experience is designed for differentiation, it might be helpful to have students come together and discuss and reflect on what's been happening during play, or to contribute to a class blog where they report on what they've done in the game and what they've learned. 

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The Radix Endeavor brings 2D online multiplayer gaming into the land of science education, and rather successfully so. Players start by customizing a character then explore a rich and colorful fantasy world, stumbling on people in dire need of help. It's up to the players' science skills to solve people's problems.

As players talk to characters, learn about threats, run experiments, collect data, and solve problems, they discover that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills can come in handy. Whether cross-breeding crops and learning about genetics or collecting and analyzing flowers to help make a medicinal cure, the fun comes from applying real world science within the fantastic world of Radix

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Don't let the fantasy world fool you, The Radix Endeavor is chock full of STEM learning straight out of standard science and math textbooks. Unlike most textbooks, however, Radix gets students learning/using skills rather than just facts at their own paces. By creating a game-based context in which scientific inquiry and knowledge is useful, and providing students with ample opportunity to apply and practice what they know, it's a good model for how to do game-based learning right.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Professional production values help sell it as something worth playing, while a somewhat slow pace and at-times difficult quests can dampen the fun.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
5

Success depends on mastery of real science skills and competencies aligned to math and biology standards. MMO-style quests designed by researchers meant to lead to learning outcomes.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

As a new online roleplaying game, Radix has room to grow. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the community, which is just now finding its feet. 


Common Sense Reviewer
David Thomas Director of academic technology

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Julie L. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
4
Engaging interface for secondary students, but lacking tools for teachers to accommodate for special needs

This appears to be a very useful instructional tool for teachers. I was disappointed, however, that as a teacher I didn't have the ability to provide additional support to students with special needs, such as text-to-speech so they can listen to the dialogue between the characters or the instructions related to the quests. Our district provides instruction to most students with IEPs in general education settings, so being able to accommodate for their needs is instrumental to their success. Students with IEPs who struggle with reading, for example, can engage in higher level thinking and problem solving opportunities when properly accommodated for. I do like, however, that students who struggle with face-to-face peer interactions would have the opportunity to participate in group learning via this virtual world.

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