I contacted John at Strangeloop when it as in alpha regards use in the classroom - he said he was keen to hear feedback but there is no direct forum or channel to do this aside form error reporting. I now play on a few servers but struggle to see a finished game which could be used. I'm thinking a couple of years from now the game might actually be stable - too many additions and too many bugs which in an educational setting you just can't work with.
Highly recommended for all age groups. very fun game, with some great cause and effect scenarios. If you just want to build and shape the world, you can turn off the meteor and play forever without consequence.
Currently, i do not believe their is a trial version. I found this game on steam, for 34$.
Ens, that is my question too, this game appears to be not yet mature enough to have anything to offer. Are their "Creative Mode" features that a teacher could set up the world in certain ways and build lessons around it prior to students entering the game/lesson/adventure the teacher has created. This game appears to be too long running to fit into any reasonable classroom lesson plan aside from devoting many many hours of time to the game to get any benefit.
Good Point Paul. I am an educator and really want to use Eco but can not see how this would work given my limited amount of the time with the students. 15-18hrs total. The game appears to move too slow to get to a stage where you can actually make a robust educational experience. In Minecraft I can set the stage in advance, how can we make this game work for classrooms? Is there a way to compress the time it takes to get functioning economies up and running etc. From what videos I have watched online, students would spend hours just building the foundation of the society through chopping and mining rocks. Mini missions, or scenarios where students can drop in to a world already in certain levels of development perhaps?
Actually my daughter's teacher has been playing with Eco and is working on a grant to get it for her classroom. One thing that she has come up with for writing was creating worksheets and a 'classroom' book. One thing she has been trying to get away from was tools that had kids write into a computer as they have many of them and while it re-enforces things like spelling, grammer, sentence structure, etc her classroom has less and less chance to 'write' but does a lot of typing. Her age group is such that they still need to use handwriting and while they are becoming good typists with all the computer programs they use less and less are lessons being given that a child is using a pencil and paper and this is an important developmental step as well as educational. She has planned something much like you have here but that the "character back story" gets written by the student and goes into a notebook in the classroom. Then as they work on "world lore" they all share in the job of recording that lore on paper and develop the story into chapters that are added to the book so they have a journal associated with their world.
She makes a good point here that this also allows the teacher to structure the writing assignments around the level of the student; and to structure the required content accordingly too. For example, if the game has places to type in back story and world lore and a world journal, the kids would see the direct connect but if a teacher came up with other writing activities and there were not specific places for those activities that kids would tend to find them less important. Apparently, this has been an issue before as kids have eagerly produced things a game has asked from them and they could enter but when asked by the teacher to do an assignment that was not 'entered' into the game it was greeted by the kids as not being important. So, if the game is not asking the student to enter this writing into the game then no writing - either what the game asks or the teacher comes up with - is more important then the other. And it would also leave it up to the teacher as to whether the writing would be handwritten or typed.
In the gaming world I'm known has ArtisL. This name as evolved over the years and I think begin in the wow.
In my real life I'm an educator for pupils in a secondary setting (aged 11-16). My education was Bsc Applied Ecology and Postgrad in Sustainable Development.
The reason I mention my education is solely to show some background on the Eco game. I have spent considerable time looking at the benefits of gaming. My experience with educators is that they see games as a thing young people do. I often get strange looks when I explain I 'game'. Pupils love this however and I find it a gateway in helping me get concepts across. They do not see them as a tool for educating. This is were Eco can make a massive difference.
I hope to contribute has much as can in helping us all make this game great for players, pupils and educators.