A Collaboration with MPT & MIT Education Arcade Designed to Test the Efficacy of Gaming & Learning (Boston, MA) February 18, 2009 – At last, the "pencil and paper" driven math class gets a brand new boost with the highly anticipated launch of Lure of the Labyrinth, an online pre-algebra middle-school math game developed to reach today's tech-savvy students in a contemporary way. FableVision, the award-winning educational media developer, in collaboration with Maryland Public Television (MPT) and the MIT Education Arcade, has applied the latest research in game theory, cutting-edge design, and a story-driven approach to produce a powerful learning tool to help all students learn regardless of their math ability.

FableVision created the engaging online game environment, marrying an immersive interface and compelling storyline with standards-based curriculum. An underground monster-inhabited world comes to life as students plunge into a shadowy factory on a mission to rescue their missing pet. Taking on a monster persona (avatar), students disguise themselves as "insiders" to maneuver through math problems.

Says Gary Goldberger, Executive Vice President of FableVision and executive producer of Labyrinth, "It's not a news flash that textbooks and lectures make some kids' eyes glaze over. While online gaming can't reach all of the students we're losing in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), for some kids this approach may open a new doorway into a subject they may have avoided until now."

Lure of the Labyrinth can be accessed free of charge. Visit Thinkport.org, MPT's K-12 education website.

"The aim of Labyrinth is to reach and teach students who may not otherwise feel successful in learning math," says Gail Porter Long, MPT Senior VP & Chief Education Officer. "Quality educational games provide a flexible format to nurture valuable critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, setting the stage for future learning."

Utilizing the immersive characteristics of digital games, Labyrinth blends a compelling storyline with multi-level puzzle play to build pre-algebra skills in several core areas: proportions, fractions and ratios; variables and equations; and number and operations. "FableVision is dedicated to radical reform in education," declares Paul Reynolds, FableVision's President and Co-Founder. "This requires unprecedented creativity and innovation to reinvent how we reach kids and to excite them about learning, especially in areas like STEM – where we are facing a critical shortage of future professionals."

Labyrinth can be played individually or in teams, and was designed to give all students a chance to learn and succeed. An online communication device allows players to exchange ideas and game strategies, and encourages collaborative game play.

MIT Education Arcade Creative Director Scot Osterweil led the design team, which incorporated fundamental elements of a good learning game. "Effective games allow students to succeed through trial and error. They learn to use the feedback from short-term setbacks to achieve success" explains Osterweil. "In the process they construct a deeper understanding of the math concepts."

A team of Maryland middle school teachers worked alongside the development team to advise and to test the game at each stage of development. The game's website provides comprehensive educator materials to support teachers (especially non-gamers) before, during, and after game play. The materials provide a detailed "how to" for every aspect of the game, along with suggested small- or large-scale classroom implementation.

For more information about Lure of the Labyrinth and project partners go to: Lure of the Labyrinth http://labyrinth.thinkport.org MIT Education Arcade http://www.educationarcade.org/ FableVision http://www.fablevision.com/ Funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education Star Schools Program http://www.ed.gov/programs/starschools/index.html

The contents of this project were developed under a grant from the Department of Education. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.