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21st Century Teaching Tactics

For Immediate Release March 2005

A Primary School teacher from Bristol has fast become the most popular teacher at Chew Magna Primary School following his extraordinary use of computer games within classes.

Tim Rylands strategically uses Myst games to support literacy and communication skills and to facilitate whole-class discussion. He regularly focuses his lessons around Myst Exile, due to the compounding realism of the game as well as the fantastical elements that help to inspire his pupils and improve their metaphorical skills.

Rylands' innovative work has lead to a number of achievements, such as the school being commended for the 'value added' levels that is has achieved. Rylands was also awarded the prestigious BECTA ICT in Practice Award 2005, for which he had to demonstrate a clear understanding of the role ICT can play in teaching as well as showing how ICT in a subject context can raise educational standards.

The Myst brand is admired by adventure gamers worldwide for its deep and intriguing storyline, brain-teasing puzzles, interesting locations and beautifully rendered graphics. The compelling worlds created within Myst never fail to immerse the user, which explains why the transition to using Myst within schools has been so easy.

The recent acceptance of incorporating games into education revolves around the idea that games create a degree of user engagement, which can be usefully harnessed in an educational context. Games are believed to provide a forum where learning arises as a result of tasks stimulated by the games and knowledge is developed through the content of the game.1

Rylands incorporates Myst by projecting the games onto an interactive whiteboard and then sitting amongst his pupils to watch and discuss the content in a shared context. He focuses on developing their creative writing skills using the games to enhance their descriptive language, and to improve their general speaking and listening skills.

Rylands commented; "This alternative approach to literacy has inspired the children and generated an interest in the subject. Particularly amongst boys, using Myst has made writing 'cool.' I ask my pupils to write descriptive pieces about what they've seen and experienced, and even to imagine themselves within the worlds of Myst and describe elements of the environment, for example, 'touch the rail - what does it feel like?' Having played Myst outside of school I wanted to share my experiences with the children who have benefited immensely from the games."

Rylands also enlarges images from Myst landscapes and asks the children to sit in front of them and read their work out aloud. Other skills stimulated by the use of the Myst games include problem-solving and sequencing. The children help Rylands to complete the puzzles and progress onto the next levels.

Rylands' approach has clearly demonstrated the move away from ICT being the focus of learning, where pupils have to complete major technology focused projects to develop their ICT skills, to actually embedding ICT into subject teaching and learning. As this trend spreads and becomes more widely accepted, more and more games are likely to used in an educational context.

Myst Exile, Rylands' preferred game, is available from Focus Multimedia for only £9.99. Focus Multimedia also publish Myst Masterpiece Edition for £4.99 and have just released the critically acclaimed URU: Ages Beyond Myst for a bargain £9.99. All of these titles are available from all good retailers of PC CD-ROM software or directly from www.fmselect.co.uk.

Notes for Editors: All prices include VAT.

About Focus Multimedia

Focus Multimedia is the leading PC CD-ROM budget software publisher by value in UK retail (Source: Chart Track), specialising in high quality, affordable PC CD-ROMs aimed at both children and adults. The Focus Essential range consists of over 200 titles priced at £9.99 each in 9 different categories - including Games, Lifestyle, Creativity, Knowledge and Travel. Focus Multimedia has distribution channels into major retail outlets such as PC World, WHSmith, Staples, Game, via the Internet through www.amazon.co.uk as well as non-traditional chains.

For further information please contact:

Kate Vigar - PR & Marketing Executive

k.vigar@focusmm.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0) 1889 570156

www.focusmm.co.uk

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