Sneak Peak Into Short Courses Introduced at EDUCAUSE 2022

Exciting new announcement on short courses by Muzzy Lane.

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Muzzy Lane Author CODiE Awards Finalist for 3rd Straight Year


A finalist in the “Best eLearning Authoring/Development Tool for Educators/Trainers” category, Author is the fastest way for course designers to add game-based simulations to their online courses. No technical skills are required to build with Author and WYSIWYG editors make creation easy and efficient. The resulting simulations are delivered seamlessly through the LMS using the LTI standard, and are WCAG 2.0 AA compliant and mobile friendly. Simulations are also a great fit with adaptive learning given their ability to generate nuanced data and provide feedback in the moment. Author was informed by a research study funded by the Gates Foundation into how game-based learning can improve outcomes for students in higher education.

We’re proud to have our efforts to improve student outcomes and engagement recognized by the SIIA CODiE judges, and offer our congratulations to all the other finalists. Winners will be announced at the SIIA Annual Conference June 13th in San Francisco – full list of finalists here.

Learn more about Muzzy Lane Author and sign up for a free account at our website.

Muzzy Lane partners with McGraw-Hill Education to bring simulations to higher education

We’re excited about the partnership announced today with McGraw-Hill Education. We’ve spent over a decade bringing the benefits of simulations – feedback, adaptivity, engagement – to students in higher education. Partnering with McGraw-Hill allows us to reach many more students and increase our impact. Embedding the simulations in Connect gives instructors and students seamless access including single sign on, gradebook integration, and rich analytics.

Muzzy Lane Author allows content creation teams to work together efficiently to create simulations. Subject matter experts collaborate with Instructional Designers to design activities, map to Learning Objectives, and create simulations with no coding required. Author’s workflow features allow teams to iterate and test their simulations as they develop them and publish for instant availability when ready. Maintenance is easy as well, and updates can be applied to active assignments or only new ones. All activities created in Author are mobile friendly, meet WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility guidelines, and support auto-assessment of student performance. If you’d like to learn more please contact us at info@muzzylane.com!

Read the press release here

Three Months In: How and Where is KidCitizen being Used?


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We launched KidCitizen in November, at the NCSS convention in San Francisco, and were very encouraged by the response it received in the presentations, posters, workshop, and demo sessions we conducted.

KidCitizen Primer: KidCitizen provides a set of interactive digital “episodes” where children explore civic engagement and Congress through historical primary sources from the Library of Congress, and connect what they find with their daily lives. KidCitizen also includes the cloud-based KidCitizen Editor that gives teachers the power to create their own episodes and easily share them with students. Access to the KidCitizen Episodes and Editor is free to teachers. KidCitizen is part of the the Civics and Primary Sources Project, and is supported by a grant from the Library of Congress.

It’s now been more than three months since the launch, and lots has happened, so we thought it would be interesting to give an update on how (and where!) KidCitizen episodes are being used by teachers and students. We’ll explore that in a series of blog posts. In this first one, we’ll look at our site visitors, and how the KidCitizen Episodes are being used.

KidCitizen website visitors:

In mid February, we crossed the threshold of 4,000 unique visitors to the the kidcitizen.net website. One interesting stat is that 46% of our visitors are coming direct (not through search, social media or referrals). That means these visitors know and remember our name, and type “kidcitizen” into browsers. So our name recognition is strong!

35% of visitors have come through referring pages, with the most coming from the press announcements of the launch, the loc.gov blogs on the launch, and (this is interesting) classroom.google.com. This indicates that there is a substantial group of teachers using the KidCitizen Episodes as part of assignments they are setting up in google classroom.

How are the KidCitizen Episodes being played?

As of February 13, the six initial KidCitizen episodes have been played a total of 3,309 times.

Not surprisingly, the introductory episode “What are Primary Sources” has the most plays, with about 1,000, but just edges out “Community Helpers” with 950.   That’s an interesting contrast there, as “What are Primary Sources” is the simplest (and briefest) episode, while “Community Helpers” is perhaps the richest and most complex. (there’s some competition there).

In January and February, the episode “Welcome to Congress” saw a big jump in plays – so we suspect that a few teachers are putting that to use with a number of students.  Over the next months, we’ll publish some posts diving deeper into the different episodes, and how you can use them.

If you are interested in seeing a KidCitizen episode, you can play them in your browser from Kidcitizen.net.  And they are free.  

About our data: Because KidCitizen is supported by the Library of Congress with an important goal of making its resources easily and freely available, we do not require users to give us information to access the Episodes. We do include a voluntary ask for zip code for teachers that download teachers guides. So we’ll report on what we do know, and make some surmises from that.

In our next post, we’ll look at where KidCitizen is being used thus far. (Spoiler alert: all 50 states!)

KidCitizen is part of the Congress, Civic Participation, and Primary Sources Project, supported by a grant from the Library of Congress.

 

 

 

 

Encouraging Results from Student Orientation Primer at ASU

ASU’s Orientation for their online courses is showing strong impact: Students that pass Orientation tend to have GPAs a half point higher on average than students who don’t.

As part of their Pilot with Muzzy Lane Author, ASU Online has created a game-based Orientation Primer, that engages students in a conversation with four student-characters, exploring challenges they all face, and how the Orientation can help them deal with key challenges like time management.

Access the results here

Muzzy Lane Accessibility Policy

Muzzy Lane Software Accessibility Policy

Updated 8/10/2018

Muzzy Lane Software is committed to creating universally accessible products for any and all learners, including individuals with disabilities. Our Muzzy Lane Author Toolkit was designed with this philosophy in mind.  Accessibility features are embedded in the authoring process to enable usability by all learners.

Muzzy Lane Software is committed to meet or exceed the WCAG version 2.0 AA guidelines and best practices with all new content and software produced using Muzzy Lane Author.

Muzzy Lane Software strives to train employees and resource providers on accessibility guidelines to support compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA development guidelines.

Muzzy Lane Software will engage users to provide feedback and validate that the content produced with our software is compliant and usable for learners.

Muzzy Lane Software will seek best practices and continue to improve on our toolkit. Many accessibility initiatives and guidelines are new or don’t directly apply to the types of activities that can be created with Muzzy Lane Author. As new standards emerge that directly affect the interactive space we will strive to remain current with those standards.

Muzzy Lane Software has processes in  place to make accessibility and meeting the WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines an integral part of our product development. We will continue to monitor our progress to ensure we continually make improvements to address evolving industry standards.

Muzzy Lane Software is not responsible for activities whose content is solely created by users of Muzzy Lane Author if those users choose to not take advantage of the embedded accessibility features when creating activities using the toolkit.  However, such activities must meet the standards of accessibility before being deployed using our service or if Muzzy Lane Software is a content contributor for the specific activity.

Muzzy Lane Author VPAT

Integrating Game-Based Learning with LTI

Founder and CTO Dave McCool continues our series on the technology behind Muzzy Lane Author. This video describes the vital importance of LTI, Learning Tools Interoperability, as the standard by which game-based learning and other rich content tools are able to integrate with Learning Management Systems.

Educator creativity on display at SXSWedu Author Workshop

“Worth the price of admission,” “Can’t wait to play more,” and “Keep your eyes on Muzzy Lane Author for educational game development,” were some of the remarks tweeted by attendees of our hands-on, do-it-yourself Author workshop at SXSWedu 2016. Over the course of two hours, attendees got their first look at Author and developed their own game-based activities and assessments. CEO Conall Ryan recaps this exciting event.

Disrupting Muzzy Lane

Founder and CTO Dave McCool describes the process of creating Muzzy Lane Author. See how instructional designers, subject matter experts, and educators can integrate the dynamic content they create with Muzzy Lane Author into existing curricula and online courses.

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Game-Based Learning and Nontraditional Students – A Report

Muzzy Lane Software has released The Potential for Game-Based Learning to Improve Outcomes for Nontraditional Students, a report on the findings of a research grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Study

The goal of this research was to investigate how game-based learning can help improve outcomes for nontraditional students in higher education.  Muzzy Lane conducted one-on-one interviews with educators across the country, held focus groups and interactive design sessions with students from community colleges and adult education programs, and collected over 1,700 student surveys.

 

Who are “nontraditional students?”

For this research, we defined nontraditional students as students who may be returning to school after pausing their education; working and balancing family and parenting responsibilities while going to school; lower income; English as a second language learners, and the first members of their families to attend college. For our focus groups and surveys, we looked for students that met at least two of these criteria.

 

The Results:

Students expressed a consistent need for mobile first activities and assessments that make productive use of their time and fit into their busy and unpredictable lives, helping them study on all of their devices while juggling the responsibilities of family, work, and school.

There is a clear opportunity to help these students through improved digital materials, and game-based learning can be an important tool in this work.  The composite that emerged from Muzzy Lane’s research suggests five promising directions for game-based approaches:

 

  1. Auto-assessing whether students can apply what they have learned
  2. Building employment skills in real-world contexts
  3. Providing safe environments where students can learn through trial and error
  4. Developing and assessing critical thinking skills
  5. Facilitating learning strategies and student success skills

 

Download a free copy of the report:

MuzzyLaneResearchReport

Once you have read the report, we’d love to hear your thoughts and questions.  Contact us at: info@muzzylane.com

Press Release:

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/can-game-based-learning-improve-outcomes-for-nontraditional-students-300206693.html

 

 

 

Muzzy Lane Author

Muzzy Lane Author is a cloud-based authoring service with extensible tools that put the power of developing dynamic game-based content in our partners’ hands. Read the FAQ.

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Muzzy Lane Author Templates

Tools to Create Dynamic
Micro-Learning Opportunities

Each Muzzy Lane Author template has a different purpose. Choose a specific template each time you build a new Author activity, and discover interesting and innovative ways to create activities that appeal to students and fit into your overall course structure.

 SmartChatSmartChat

Create lively, real-world conversations in a simulated chat environment that includes sound, images, and video, and provides continuous feedback.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


InsightsInsights

Demonstrate comprehension of comparative data. Assume a role, review research, make a decision based on interpretation of that research, and defend it against cross-examination in a 3D virtual environment.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


SmartPickSm

SmartPick

Build connections between concepts and images with rich feedback and scoring options.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


VoteSm

Vote

Compare a sequence of images organized in pairs, voting for preferences until only the top choice remains.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


AlignSmAlign

Sequence multiple items, associate words and images, or demonstrate concept comprehension.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


SetSceneSm

Slideshow

Build quick, intuitive web-based slideshows to present a narrative context or challenge or present data.
LEARN MORE AND PLAY SOME EXAMPLE ACTIVITIES


 

 

Template Development

We continue to improve existing templates and add new ones, and your feedback is a valuable part of that process.  Play some activities and tell us what you think!  author@muzzylane.com

Technical Debt

rocketMuzzy Lane is a 13-year-old technology company. That’s a lot of time to build up technical debt. Our largest debt by far was relying on our Sandstone browser plugin, created to deliver engaging, multiplayer 3D educational experiences. The plugin, so necessary in the early days, had become a steady source of technical support issues and a barrier to adoption, especially in locked down computer labs on college campuses. Add in browser vendors’ recent decisions to remove plugin support and it was definitely time for a change. So change we did.

We recently completed our major technology transition into a post-plugin world. The advent of standards like WebGL and WebSockets allowed us to re-architect our platform to deliver game-based learning experiences natively in the browser and on mobile. We are now a true web services platform rather than a desktop experience shoehorned awkwardly into the browser. Our service is hosted at Amazon Web Services, runs on Node.js as its task management core, and manages the vast volume of user data with MongoDB. Our client side experiences are now native web and take advantage of the best the web has to offer from standards such as HTML5, WebGL, WebSockets, and WebAudio to frameworks and libraries like PlayCanvas, Unity, and JQuery.

This transition delivered the benefits we expected. Removing the plugin requirement dramatically reduced our support issues. Managing our platform became easier and more cost effective. But it also brought benefits we had not anticipated. Because we are now a true scalable web service with our stateful data in MongoDB we can deploy updates in a rolling fashion with no downtime. This is a huge benefit for us and our partners in the education market. Our user base is global so there is no good time for an outage. Friday night into Saturday morning EST remains the low point for usage, although not exactly the time engineers want to be working. It’s extremely liberating not to need them.

So what’s next? For us the next frontier is putting content authoring into the hands of our partners. One of the challenges of the current game-based learning scene is that the game developers are creating all of the content. This is at odds with the rest of the educational technology market where developers create systems and subject matter experts create the content using tools provided by the developers. Our new platform architecture has been created with this in mind. We are rapidly moving towards a future where the Muzzy Lane development team creates the activity templates for game-based learning and provides tools to partners so they can create and deploy content for those activities. This not only allows our partners to create their own content but also allows them to maintain and improve their content without needing to come back to us. We’re very excited about this move to authoring tools – but that’s a topic for another blog.