PC News

Myst aids teaching at UK school

Interactive classroom success...

UK teacher Tim Rylands is using Myst as a teaching aid at his school, Chew Magna Primary School in Bristol, UK. Rylands has just won the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency's annual award for best use of technology in class, and uses the 'edutainment' properties of Myst to aid the teaching of literacy and numeracy. In class, the Primary school teacher uses a laptop, an electronic whiteboard, and a projector to immerse students in the exciting and unusual world of Cyan's creation. He uses the game to teach concepts such as metaphor and simile, utilising the game's story, visuals and audio to keep classes hooked in the process. Myst remains to this day the best-selling PC game ever.

Rylands pauses the game at key moments, asking questions and decisions of his students, and the classes solve the game's numerable puzzles together as they progress. Tim says that he prefers Myst to traditional 'edutainment' titles, not only because of the quality of the immersive experience offered, but also because he can set the 'learning goals' himself. "They are landscapes that have been written into existence," the teacher told the BBC during a feature on his teaching methods. "Myst games are peaceful and mind expanding rather than mind-numbing."

"Children are swamped by high quality visual images all the time. My job is to give them the visual literacy skills to explain to them what it is they are watching," he commented further, adding that the students also developed an appreciation for the art behind titles like Myst. "It is powerful because you can choose the pace at which you move and you can choose the path through. They are not linear games," Tim continued.

Tim first began enjoying Myst when he developed a central nervous system condition which inhibited his movement; previously he had enjoyed walking as a pastime and his craving was satiated somewhat when a friend recommended the strange worlds of Myst. "I have used this in the class for six years and have not had a single negative comment. Parents even want to play them and share them with their children," he explained. Literacy rates at Chew Magna have shot-up dramatically in the time since Rylands began using the game as a teaching aid.

Ubisoft will publish Myst 5 in September for the PC.

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