Test-Prep/MOOCs

Formal education is today undergoing its most profound disruption since the Printing Press was invented in 1439 A.D. The Digital Age puts oceans of data at our finger tips, but any implicit knowledge is alas scrambled within a cacophony of voices, viewpoints and promotions. MazeFire Education aspires to offer some brief respite. We aspire to the very highest Academic Standards by careful creation, vetting and correction of all materials within our maze game collections. This is especially important as new forms and venues of instruction proliferate through cyberspace in a digital chain reaction.

Education 2.0. The traditional professor-classroom-textbook model of higher education is now (at least) being augmented by distance and blended-learning models, MOOCs, on-line repositories, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia and arrays of other resources, many tailored to aid students in high-stakes testing. But, with myriad information sources come myriad information conflicts, so our general philosophy is to encourage critical appraisal of information veracity and source quality. This can succeed, however, only if students have developed knowledge architectures with strong internal lock-and-key consistency. THIS is our goal.

Resources. Ultimately, students must efficiently acquire and evaluate the right bits of information from primary instructors AND/OR the global digital environment. DM Games encourage active engagement of wide-ranging resources during maze play, both within the maze proper (TIPS, Images and suggested resources for example) and via complementary sources (Google Scholar, Wikipedia, PubMed and research journal/lab/university sites). We bolster the maze experience with additional resources provided at the Maze Exit pages, where each answer is explained. Further intellectual expansion is then encouraged via our Resources Page where we track the pulse of the very best in digital resources and education.

Test Prep. Standardized tests have unfortunately become major factors in admissions throughout higher education (with fairly isolated exceptions). Add to this board certifications, TOEFL and the US Medical Exam, and test-prep has now become a major segment of the US educational market. But Test Prep is, alas, the most mind-numbing activity in the cognitive universe. The endless onslaught of facts is painful merely to observe. DM Games offer some welcome relief and can re-motivate students to drive on. These games can accompany both formal test prep courses and personalized instruction. MazeFire offers many free (click-n-play) games that can be used at multiple levels. For example, our MEDscience Physiology and Bio101 Semester Pak offers advanced prep for SATs and valuable review for MCATs and GRE-subject exams. Tutors can utilize our resources in similar fashion as high-school and college instructors (see Teachers Tab). These offerings will be greatly extended via collaboration with current and new content partners, both large and small.

We make every learning venue better. Our DM Games provide a complementary learning tool that can bolster virtually every kind of distance learning. MOOC Instructors, by providing engaging DM Games tailored to their content, might boost completion rates. Our Maze Games are ideal for blended learning because they provide an engaging, interactive activity to bind platform and on-line content. Corporations increasingly rely on online courses to meet varied training requirements and here mazes can really liven things up: by better motivating your workers (or soldiers) you are better training your workers (or soldiers). Greater effort means better learning outcomes. MazeFire, by providing intermittent rewards to players, seeks to repeatedly boost motivation and progress until every maze is completed. Also, because our games are low bandwidth, they are easily played on most internet-connected devices and so can extend valuable lessons and resources quite widely, including to less-developed economies.

The Cognitive Advantage. Rote memorization fails to produce enduring memories, but the conjunction of motivation x synaptic activation does (e.g. most folk recall details of what they were doing on 9/11 in 2001). In playing our DM Games, your innate desire to solve maze puzzles strengthens any synapses / in-maze knowledge that you develop or acquire whilst navigating our information spaces. Self introspection during DM Game factors into cognitive and conceptual advancement. While it might not make sense to complete hundreds of mazes during e.g. MCAT preparation, the selective assembly of chapter high points (for any standardized test) into engaging maze-quizzes will provide welcome relief from rote study efforts. This applies to both high stakes testing AND more regular school work. The post-maze summaries particularly boost retention since players are highly motivated to see their results and the explanations. MazeFire will work with you to offer those game collections that will most benefit your clientele.

Bottom Line: Every educational venue can easily "integrate" our content into their educational offerings just by providing their site visitors (or clients) with a link that opens a new window into our game collections (or some custom selection tailored to your needs). More substantial integration via APIs (application programming interfaces) are available through MazeFire and can further enhance delivery of content and shared user experience. Queries for more active collaboration should be directed to contact@mazefire.com or to Don O'Malley at d.omalley@neu.edu.

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