We're currently in the midst of raising awareness for the School of Atlantis. School of Atlantis (SOA) is a Massively Multistudent Online Role-Playing School (MMORPS).

School of Atlantis combines Education, Interactive Gaming and Social Networking to create the Institutionalised Educational Gaming Industry. This industry is the next step in the evolution of education and will have positive outcomes for students disenchanted with traditional educational mediums.

We currently face an era of change through technological, sociological, political and economical shifts. Traditional educational systems are failing and not producing effective outcomes for these changing climates. Brick and mortar schools are becoming full and funding is being cut. Parents look to alternatives when educating their children such as home schooling, distance education, online education, private schools, tutorial centres, etc. Problems continue to arise with traditional schools such as retention rates, complacency, bullying, remote access, violence etc. The education industry needs a revolution and it needs one now. http://www.schoolofatlantis.com http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/school-of-atlantis/x/5967608

Proof here: https://twitter.com/SchoolAtlantis/status/420527354738274304

UPDATE: I am still taking all questions and feedback! Please hit me up with any concerns or comments and I will get back to you as soon as possible :) Thanks.

Comments: 171 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

nightwork17 karma

No offense, but this concept is pretty far away from something most rational parents would send their children to. I guess we will have to wait and see how the students compared to more traditionally educated ones in some comparable tests.

Schoolofatlantis7 karma

We understand that yes, there are a number of parents whom may see or feel that this is not something that they would like for their children. Current research (I don't have the links right now but can provide later) shows that 45% of parents play and agree that games have a huge educational impact on their children, Minecraft is a perfect example of this. The great thing about games, and hopefully we will be able to show this to the world is, we can reinforce educational concepts through interactive game play. For example, if a student learns about the pyramids in history, they can revisit the pyramids with their avatars and experience it to scale reinforcing the concepts taught. I was recently at an educational seminar in Australia where educational leaders were discussing that games are the next stage of education. I was also recently in Malaysia where I had a number of conversations with educational groups about this and entrepreneurial theories that may benefit education. The great thing is, education is on a new path. Thanks for your question!

nightwork9 karma

I think that aspects of your model could be well applied to the current (boring) education system, but will remain very leery of an education system completely outside the classroom. Good luck though.

Schoolofatlantis5 karma

Currently, distance education is growing at a rapid rate, and we hope to take advantage of that by pushing the School of Atlantis, and testing the boundaries of education at the moment. Thank you for the good luck! It's always great to read questions and comments that get discussions going!

Hristix6 karma

One of the biggest problems with distance learning is that the interaction is delayed. Delayed interaction automatically goes into a lower priority than real time interaction. So unless students compensate for that mentally and pay more attention, they can end up taking away a lot less from the class than if it were traditional.

A method that features real time student/teacher interaction could work. A lot of people have the speeds to do this via some kind of conferencing/broadcast system, but a lot do not. I think an MMO-like setup could do this pretty well.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

You're correct about the delayed interaction in regards to distance learning, Hristix. That's definitely one of the things we want to eradicate, thus making our school into an MMORPS. Kids/students are interested in instant gratification, and we hope that learning this way can help and not hinder. In the future (still a concept) when our school is up and running, we want to be able to set up areas (in countries where people don't have the speeds or hardware to use SoA) that are basically a hub that students can come into to use the computers and log in to school. Mind you, this is far into the future, and only an idea at the moment. I also like to think that an MMO-like setup will fair well and help the students immerse into a real-time game. Thanks so much for your comment and feedback!

Hannahforsyth8 karma

Did you ever think it would actually work? Or become popular? Because lets face it, when you're playing a game, the setting of a school wouldn't be my first choice. (I think it's a good idea by the way, I'm just wondering)

Schoolofatlantis8 karma

Hi Hannahforsyth, we have high hopes that this idea will revolutionise the world one step at a time. Let me answer that with something I posted on Facebook this morning, if you don't mind.

“The dropout crisis is just the tip of an iceberg. What it doesn't count are all the kids who are in school but being disengaged from it, who don't enjoy it, who don't get any real benefit from it.” - Sir Kenneth Robinson Ph.D

The School of Atlantis adopts this mentality and yearns to create an environment where students wake up in the morning excited to learn and explore at their own pace. A student who physically goes to school but is mentally detached from it, is simply not a student at all. By creating a "game school," we can hold the interest of students without sacrificing education.

wolfxor2 karma

I fully support the theory behind what you're doing here. I used to coach youth hockey and one of the things we discovered is that kids didn't learn nearly as much or as well with strict, disciplined drills as they did with fun games focused on fundamentals. Having fun and learning go hand in hand. Kudos to your and your team and good luck.

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi wolfxor, thanks so much for your support and feedback! It's so great to hear that people like you have experienced these learning setbacks and want a change in education! We can't wait to get this project going and help students learn and have fun at the same time! I really appreciate your comment :)

0SED4X1 karma

*revolutionize

I learned that in public school ;)

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Very true OSED4X, well that is if you're American. You may not be aware of this fact, but in England and Australia, it's Revolutionise with an 's' not a 'z'! We also learnt the same word in public school, plus the differences in Americanised English and English English. ;) Just so you know, at the School of Atlantis, we will strive to teach all students these global differences so problems like this won't arise in the future.

sassychupacabra7 karma

I'll preface this with saying I'm not experienced in any kind of entrepreneurial funding or educational tools. However, I am a frequent PC gamer and I've watched tons of crowdsourced funding successes and failures since the rise of kickstarter.

This project seems over-ambitious. Getting everything up, running, and accredited is a huge undertaking, even if you were only to do it for one nation's educational requirements. I'm worried about what "international educational standards" actually means. The video contains what I assume is an Evangelion reference and no real laid-out plans, just concept promises. People need to be assured that you have all the technical details planned before they start buying in.

You're asking for $4.85 million, and in a very short timeframe. You're also asking for funding on Indiegogo, which lets the project keep all the money it raises whether or not the project succeeds. Why should we throw money at this, knowing it's gone forever whether or not a product actually comes from it?

MMORPGs have to gain a sizable user base to stay alive. How do you plan to drum up enough user base to be financially successful? Have you consulted with any sponsors or outside help? How will the beta bring in money to both keep itself afloat and fund the final version? I have trouble seeing people paying to play an educational game that isn't yet accredited during the beta. The money and independence to buy into a beta are also in the hands of an audience older than your targeted students.

I want to see an option like this succeed, but I think this project specifically is too young in its development and too thin on staff for me to buy into. Recent memory contains many crowdfunded gaming projects with much more big-name, experienced creators that have disappointed. You need to convince us that you can do better at a much more ambitious project and that it's worth believing in you enough to give you our money.

TL;DR: Why should we pay into a very new, very ambitious Indiegogo funding campaign that pays your project whether or not it succeeds?

EDITs: condensing/phrasing.

Schoolofatlantis-1 karma

Hi sassychupacabra! Thanks for all the questions and well-thoughtout points! Firstly, in regards to "international educational standards" if you read further into the website, we have highlighted our choice of either using the Cambridge or International Baccalaureate (IB) schooling systems, which are very much on par with international educational standards. I'm wondering if you've seen the Phonebloks video that was circulating the internet a couple of months ago? We were hoping to create a video that was simple and visually pleasing to be shared and liked to raise awareness. The project is very young, true, and we have highlighted that it is in its infancy stage. Like the Phonebloks campaign, though we have a crowdfunding project, our other goal is simply to gather enough end users that put their hands up and say "we want SOA to happen!" With enough attention and publicity, we can attract the right people and companies to (hopefully) make this happen. (Also, the name Asuka Shinji was simply a suggestion, we have no affiliation to Evangelion whatsoever.)

Yes, we are asking for funding on Indiegogo, simply because to use Kickstarter, a prototype is needed, whilst the former does not need one. (This is highlighted very clearly in the Kickstarter terms and conditions). Until we can get a beta up and running, Indiegogo is the way to go.

Why throw money at any crowdfunding project? There are several on the website that need money for a beta, with no definite answer that it will come off or not. We're not unlike those campaigns. We're looking to create software, and so are they. (Great points by the way!)

MMORPGs have to gain a sizeable user base to be playable, and that's exactly what we're trying to do: gain the user base. The fundraising comes second to finding people to support us without the monetary value attached to it. The beta version will bring in money to fund the final version simply because it has more validity (I highlighted this in a question below in answer to another Reddit user's question). As well as the prototype needed to use Kickstarter (as mentioned above). The beta will not keep us financially afloat, as it's simply going to be put out to trial and improve upon. Yes, it's true that the money and independence to buy into a beta are in the hands of an audience older than our targeted students, which is why in the perks section (I assume that this is what you're talking about, please correct me if I'm wrong) it is written that you can designate a child to try out the beta and provide feedback.

Thank you for your support, by the way! Your feedback is very welcome, and I hope you continue to ask us these thought-provoking questions. (You've got my mind moving 100 miles a minute, and the stimulation is great.)

Why should you pay into our campaign? Simply because we want to help change education for the better. The ultimate goal is to put fast, quality education into the hands of those that may otherwise turn away from schooling. We just want to help the world - all we can hope for are people that share our vision. Though this may be a big feat, baby steps are always the way to start. :) If I have missed anything, please let me know! :)

sassychupacabra5 karma

Thanks for answering. My main problem with the international standards part is that I don't know if those standards will translate to an acceptable substitute for schooling in each nation. My siblings are homeschooled and I've watched firsthand the process of curriculum approval and changing state educational standards within the USA. While standards can get the students a certificate, will it translate to a legal substitute for a year of schooling in every nation the program is used in? That's the part I'm concerned with - seems a nightmare of logistics to coordinate.

It might be more viable to try a smaller launch within your own nation, possibly partnered with an existing distance learning institution. This would be an especially smart move for a beta, during which you'll want concentrated feedback and play-testing. You'll need a good pool of students for that, and international coordination will complicate and slow your progress. Teaming up with a distance learning institution and building a beta unit - say, in which students learn about ancient Egypt by exploring the pyramids - will let you get that focus group without the logistical mess of an international launch. I think an institution would likely be open to trying out just one unit, especially if it was distributed to them for free, and you can build from there and make sure the full beta is built in the right direction. Just a suggestion that would personally give me more faith in the project if I were a potential customer.

Schoolofatlantis0 karma

Again, great questions and thanks!

We plan on implementing the launch very slowly and in stages. As we are located in Australia, this will be the testing ground as we have experience in the education sector here. We will then move the product into different countries allowing for a strategic and well researched roll out. The international schooling bodies previously mentioned are recognised in more than 149 countries and are well received by universities around the world. I'm not sure how the home-schooling sector works for your siblings, but based on your comments appears interesting.

As far as a strategic partnerships with existing Distance schools, that is a possibility to be explored.

Thank you again, your questions have been of value.

Thanks again for your support and questions.

Map127893 karma

Just wanted to give you a heads up that I have forwarded your site over to my news department; hopefully someone thinks it can be worth a story. :)

If you ever need help advertising, please feel free to reach out to me.

Schoolofatlantis0 karma

Wow Map12789, that's amazing of you! Thank you so much for the support and share! I hope something comes of it as well :) I'll be sure to contact you if the need ever arises (it most likely will). Again, thank you!

Map127892 karma

No problem, I am hopefully going to be handling Florida Polytechnic university for the west palm beach market. My station has many trade and tech schools advertising in our area and are doing exceptionally well as my market is a wealthier market.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed! Thank you again for your support, and perhaps we can work together in the future :)

huachaos3 karma

Although technology has increased certain areas of learning and even communicaiton, there is some debate on the social impact. Although schools are for learning, part of the learning process includes social interactions.

Although your idea is novel, what do you feel the impact will be on a person learning proper social behaviors and clues if they have no in-person social interactions?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi huachaos, thanks for the thought-provoking question! I've replied to a Reddit user on this very topic! Let me copy and paste the reply for you, so you don't have to scroll down.

"Hi loukaspetourkas, First of all, thank you very much for your comment! In regards to your question, we, the Atlantis team, believe that online learning is the next step in the evolution of education. The School of Atlantis (if you have time to read through our Indiegogo page or go to www.schoolofatlantis.com) will have real-time qualified teachers through webcam interaction, as well as interaction with other students in virtual "classrooms." Students will also be required to join a sport (or outdoor activity) in their local area as part of their schooling. As well as that, further on into the future of SoA, we will have representatives organising "Sport and Activity Days" several times a year to encourage students to attend and meet their online friends. In conclusion, online learning is not a complete substitute for real life class room interaction, unless there is real life interaction that comes with it - i.e. what we are trying to achieve with the School of Atlantis. Please hit us with more questions! :)"

In saying this, I would like to highlight that though it majority of the schooling will take place in the virtual world, there will definitely be opportunities for students to learn proper social behaviours, as they will still have in-person social interactions. In regards to bullying (even thought you have not asked about this specifically, I thought I'd add this in here as it is a social behavioural situation), as well, I've answered a question below:

"If a student encounters bullying, they will have the option to utilize the “Report Bullying” function, which will alert a monitoring teacher. This teacher can automatically message the student who is responsible for the bullying and give them a warning. A chat log will be recorded and sent to the student’s parents so that all parties are aware of what has occurred. Students will also have a “Block Student” option so they can no longer interact with each other outside of class times. (answer from our website)."

I hope this has answered your question! Please keep them coming :)

huachaos2 karma

Thanks for the answer!

Your idea is huge, and as with most technological start-ups, financing and cost along with barriers to entry are huge. Although your idea is unique, you face two separate markets; the education and the gaming markets.
Although it appears your business model is based on large numbers (like an MMORPG) to keep other costs down, have you considered trying to roll-out to a smaller market?
In addition, what other funding resources have you attempted in addition to Indiegogo?
Have you thought about combining forces with an educational institution? This could plausibly add credibility. And even though I laugh at myself for even saying this, you should apply to Shark Tank.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

No problem, huachaos! Thanks for comments and questions! Yes, our idea is huge! Sometimes it's even overwhelming to think about! It's true that we face two separate markets, and the biggest part of our idea is trying to merge these two giant markets; education and gaming. With the School of Atlantis (I'll refer to it as SoA from hereon out, as it's really taxing to type it all out!) we want to merge the two and make way for a completely new industry of Institutionalised Educational Gaming. In regards to rolling our idea out to smaller markets, we hadn't thought of that. As our campaign is still in the infancy stage, we're looking at all the different platforms we can utilise to get this project going. Currently Indiegogo is the only crowdfunding site/resource we have tried - although we have been in contact with other websites such as Kotaku and IGN etc. in hopes that they will pick up our story! We have definitely though about combining forces with an educational institute. I personally believe we will have more credibility if we can gather enough momentum to fund our Beta (thus the Indiegogo campaign), which we can take to different educational (or even gaming) bodies. I've never heard of Shark Tank to be honest! But I've just looked it up quickly - it says it's an American reality TV show for budding entrepreneurs? Unfortunately we're in Australia :( Hmm, maybe there's something like that we can tap into over here!

huachaos2 karma

Again, thanks for the responses. You are probably right, having a beta to show will add credibility. Although I understand your concept, you will defintely have to convince potential investors/stakeholders of the IEG concept. It really is a double-edged sword with software and concepts. You need money to product the product, but you need the product many times to produce the money (or investors). Personally, I would hit up every technology magazine and internet news/review sources I possibly could. There just may be that investor out there that could fund you!

I wouldn't give up on Shark Tank, if they like your idea enough they may fund your coming over to present it.

I wish you the best of luck with your idea and product and I will defintely keep it in my line of sight.

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

It's my pleasure! Yes, I agree that it is a double-edged sword. It's just a constant cycle of needing money to fund a project that needs people to fund it! You're definitely right about hitting up technology magazines, review sources etc. We've contact a few, but why stop there! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for that potential investor to fund us :) You have a great point - I'll contact Shark Tank as soon as humanly possible (this may require some sleep, as it is in the wee hours of the morning in Australia). Thank you very, very much for your support and feedback! Here's to hoping our next post is a beta announcement :)

roflmonster12343 karma

What is your favourite flavoured soda?

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Sprite. But I'm not as boring as my soda choice, I swear! :)

roflmonster12343 karma

Ah so your that kinda guy.

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Yeah, sorry D:

roflmonster12343 karma

That's fine! Haha

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Hahaha :D

roflmonster12343 karma

Will this be available world wide?

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Yes, that's the goal! We want this to be the next thing in globalising education. We are simply starting in Australia because that's where we're located. However, we have contacts in Malaysia that are pushing the idea to the Asian market! Thanks for the question :)

roflmonster12343 karma

I am also Australian! If you ever need any teenagers for testing or anything like that, chuck me a message and I would be glad to help.

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Also like us on our social media pages to keep in the know ;) You can find the links on www.schoolofatlantis.com

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

rolfmonster1234 you are a legend! Thanks for wanting to jump on board! We'll be in contact with you when the time comes :D

roflmonster12342 karma

Wow this is awesome! I would love to get involved!

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

From a fellow Aussie, great to hear!!!

roflmonster12342 karma

Quick question, how will I be contacted if you need me? Do I call Tony Abbott and does he put a signal in the sky?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

I think the signal in the sky thing will be very effective. If you just send us an e-mail at [email protected] with your username, we'll save your e-mail and contact you when the time comes :D (This is so exciting, thanks for being so keen!)

roflmonster12342 karma

I'm excited as well! Thank you for the opportunity

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

No problem :D

cutterbhicken3 karma

An interesting concept.

What kind of incentives will you offer students undertaking these courses and how will the courses be recognised in terms of educational achievements?

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Hi cutterbhicken, would you mind expanding on what you mean by incentives? Do you mean in-game incentives or academic incentives? In terms of course recognition, all students gain an internationally recognised high school (or respective country's equivalent) certificate upon graduation. We will most like be using either the Cambridge schooling system, or the International Baccalaureate (IB) system. We would love to answer your question in full, if you could expand on the first part :D Thanks for the questions!

LaunchingPanda2 karma

Read through and watched the video. it sounds really cool but my question is how do you make it different thank something like Online Teaching besides just titling it School of Atlantis? I might not have read far enough. Some questions though I have:

  • What will you do to stop people from basically being massive jerks like in other MMORPG games?

  • So when it's time for a lesson, students are automatically dropped into the room? Are they allowed to leave? Is a webcam required at all?

  • What's to stop someone from simply treating this like a game and nothing more?

  • I understand the costs of eventually having to pay a teacher to teach, and as more teachers are older, how will you get them accustomed to using a game basically?

  • Will there be consequences for misbehaving, etc. ?

  • How many students do you expect to have, after say a year if this project gets off the ground?

Thanks for taking any time to respond to these, though these questions might be weird.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

I just realised I didn't touch on the webcam question! Having a webcam will not be crucial (this is subject to change depending on feedback and advice), but we will encourage students to obtain one, as it is better for social interaction within classrooms if you know who you're talking to. Avatars can only do so much, and live screening can help to create a tighter community.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi LaunchingPanda, thanks for all the questions! They're not weird at all - I think I know where you're coming from.

First of all, the thing that makes the School of Atlantis different is that students will be in a completely virtual world. Other distance-based schools are still very much "pen and paper" simply because their assignments are still via e-mail, snail mail etc. I've pasted in an answer we gave to a Reddit user on how our classes will work.

"Example class: History. You start by learning about philosophers such as Socrates, with socratic language and socratics method. The virtual class (via webcam) is run just like any other distance based school, with interaction between the teacher and the student (the difference here being several students in one classroom - you can find the concept art on our website). Content being taught is displayed on the screen and the students have the necessary textbooks with them, paperback, tablet etc. After class you have an assignment set: to go to the "history district" (concept only) and search out Socrates amongst all the people. Now, Socrates looks just like his historical appearance so students need to look up what he looks like to find him (almost a "where's wally/waldo situation"). Once you have found him, you must have a conversation with him in socratic form, you may have five different responses to choose from. Once you have achieved this, you gain a item of reward from Socrates which you take back to class to show you have achieved the quest/assessment. A traditional school gives you books and a teacher (who generally doesn't want to be there from my experiences) that usually teaches straight from a textbook without changing their teaching methods to suit each and every student (because, let's face it, that's a lot of effort and it takes too much time, which is why some students feel lost in school or class). Atlantis, however, will give students the ability to learn in the ways they want, and will be able to challenge kids without overloading them and burning them out. For further information, I urge you to read through our website and get back to me with any more questions! I hope I've been able to provide a sufficient answer :)"

Secondly, in regards to people acting like massive jerks, I've addressed this in a question below. I'll copy and paste so you don't have to scroll down :)

"If a student encounters bullying, they will have the option to utilize the “Report Bullying” function, which will alert a monitoring teacher. This teacher can automatically message the student who is responsible for the bullying and give them a warning. A chat log will be recorded and sent to the student’s parents so that all parties are aware of what has occurred. Students will also have a “Block Student” option so they can no longer interact with each other outside of class times."

I've pulled this answer straight from our FAQ section on the Indiegogo page, which is also outlined in our official website.

The third point you've brought up is class/lecture times. Whilst students are walking around in their avatar forms, any classes they have coming up will automatically appear onscreen, and it is their responsibility to get to their class in time. (They will be able to "teleport there", so getting there is not an issue). For students who cannot make it to class (everyone gets sick), all lessons will be recorded and stored in an archive for easy access. Role will still be called, and any absences in class will be marked. If the absences keep occurring, parents will be notified immediately, and any action will be taken from there.

In regards to teachers and getting them accustomed to using a game, we hope to create an interface that is easy to use for the older generation of teachers, as well as having training sessions for those that are interested in becoming a teacher at our school. These trial sessions will inevitably help teachers to come to the decision about whether working for SoA is right for them or not. It's all about usability, and what each individual is comfortable with. We want not just students to be happy, but the teachers as well.

The consequences for misbehaving will depend on the actions. We will have in-game consequences such as not being able to access certain parts of the map (ie. the gaming areas), or having certain privileges revoked for a period of time (these details are yet to be announced). We have researched the Tribunal system in League of Legends which shows that players that have been reported and sent to the Tribunal to be "slapped on the wrist," over 75% have never repeated their mistakes. The real-life consequences will be the same as the bullying situation that I have outlined above. Parents will be notified, and steps will be taken to ensure that misbehaviour does not occur again.

Finally, in regards to how many students we expect to have: we just don't know! At the moment, I personally can't put a number to it. It really depends on how popular this idea is, and whether we can attract the right kind of attention. After a year this project gets off the ground, we'll be happy to have even 100 students online and running around the School of Atlantis. At the moment, I guess our focus is on drumming up some momentum to fund our beta, and attention to spread the word. :) Thanks so much for your questions! I hope you have a lot more for me :)

LaunchingPanda2 karma

I actually do have some more questions. Thanks for the answers though I'll read through them more thoroughly when I get a chance. I saw how much you guys are trying to raise, I believe at least 4.5 million? Now I understand it says "Flexible Fundraising" or something along that lines, which basically means money won't be refunded and you'll have to adjust with whatever money is made from the kickstart.

So my major question is, what will you do if you don't raise enough money? I mean, four million, that is a lot of cash to ask for in a fundraiser. Though I understand all the expenses for this project can be a lot and I'm understanding of that. Do you have any plans to fall back on if SoA doesn't take off? Will you try to make a smaller version that cost less if possible?

Do you have any plans for an iOS or mobile app that works with SoA on a computer?

And a more personal question for you if you don't mind; do you yourself have any teaching background at all? What sparked you to come up with this idea?

And how will you raise awareness to this kickstart? With 40 days left, you're looking at trying to raise about 120,000 USD a day. Will you advertise at all? I understand doing an AMA helps raise awareness, but sorry to say this AMA didn't get as much publicity as you probably hoped.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

The more questions, the better! We are currently trying to raise a large amount, yes. If we don't raise enough money, whatever money we do raise will be funnelled straight back into the School of Atlantis. At this point in time, all we really want is enough to hire programmers to pump out a beta. With a beta, we can approach larger educational and gaming bodies to collaborate with. Also, we will have a prototype, and statistically be able to raise more money in the future through crowdfunding once more. If we don't raise enough money to hire programmers, we will use the funds to help pump awareness: advertising, articles, etc. If SoA doesn't take off now, we believe that with enough attention and publicity, it's only a matter of time until it will!

In the future we hope to integrate SoA into an iOS or mobile app for more usability. Of course, this will come a lot later as the main focus at the moment is a PC/Mac beta for the school. Great question, though!

And on a personal note, I have been a trainer for years now, and own a business called Paradigm Training Group which runs classes for students to obtain qualifications through face-to-face teaching and distance learning. What sparked me (and the team) to come up with this idea is highlighted in this answer that I recently gave another Reddit user: "I've been working in education for years and have a 7 year old daughter who is a massive gamer. I've watched how quickly she picks up concepts when playing games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft. For a number of years I have been developing entrepreneurial programs to help teach students entrepreneurial concepts and have thought about the evolution of education constantly. I undertook my degree at Bond university where Jeff Brand (a Professor of Society and Design) had his class redesign the school in Minecraft to scale, which was totally awesome! On the Gold Coast we had a massive storm and Jeff ran his Gaming Interaction class (forgot the actual class name) in Minecraft as the students couldn't drive due to the extreme weather. To have the students become engaged he gave them experience points which made them interact been more. The stand out to me was from a discussion I had with him, he mentioned one of the gentleman in his class who never spoke during face-to-face lectures, however online he came out of his shell and started interacting. In fact, he gave more to the class than the others. After this he was never quiet in class again and had great results due to this. When I was in Malaysia helping an educational foundation engage with troubled youth, we discussed the future of education in the country and how students could learn from home. This lead to thinking about home schooling and how it could be improved, first was having teachers in a office where it is relaxed and fun to work (like google, have you seen their offices?!), second was where students used an avatar to gain experience points to be used, third was of course cool mounts or vehicles to use (like WoW haha), and fourth, why not a whole world that is based on educational concepts, that reinforce everything a student learns but is engaging and teaches them as they play… Now that would be cool! How do we help people overcome educational barriers? We make it fun, we teach them on an unconscious level and we encourage creativity. I hope that answered your question! Keep them coming!"

In regards to raising awareness for this kickstart, we're using all the social media that we can possibly think of! As well as contacting sites such as Kotaku, IGN, Gamasutra, etc. in hopes that someone will pick our story up and run with it :) This AMA has actually been really helpful in drumming up attention and awareness! You should have seen me whooping and wooing at the site of merely 10 upvotes! A little really goes a long way :) Thanks for your continued questions and comments by the way!

Zasadell2 karma

Here's a thought;

Have you considered the idea of enhancing the gaming portion of it?

For instance, Having a fencing based class (obviously you wouldn't learn in real time how to fence), But instead learn the history or idea of it? I think it would be a an interesting thing to have histories on various sports come in to play from all nationalities. The cultural portion would boom. People all around would be able to learn anything from Kendo, to Blacksmithing. It's more just a thought then anything but your idea does have some very interesting ways to expand, what are your thoughts on that?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Zasadell, that's an amazing idea/concept! We've discussed interacting with different historical figures as NPCs, and locations to explore such as the Great Pyramids, Great Wall of China etc. but this opens up an even bigger world to explore in Atlantis. I think your idea is wonderful, and I'm itching to add it to our concept. As a gamer myself, I want to be able to merge the worlds of education and gaming to create what we call the Institutionalized Educational Gaming industry, so of course any and all suggestions to help this grow are definitely welcome. Thanks for the feedback - absolute gold :)

Zasadell2 karma

Glad I could assist!

I was actually taught in an online highschool; Not near the level of your idea, but all over the internet. I can say its definitely do-able, but the social interaction is your biggest issue. If you'd like, I would be more then happy to share more ideas+feedback from a student standpoint of a similar scenario.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Social interaction is definitely something we will push to perfect, seeing as a lot of people have questions in regards to it. Thanks very much for your support and feedback by the way! We would definitely love to hear from you again! You're welcome to drop us a line at [email protected], or just get straight to me at [email protected] :) The more feedback we get, the better! (Especially from a student in your scenario).

Zasadell2 karma

I just emailed you from my personal Email! Look forward to assisting where I can.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Awesome! I look forward to keeping in touch! :) Thanks again for the support.

gosu_gosu19892 karma

interesting man

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Thanks! I'm glad you think so :)

jrdndncn2 karma

Have you ever read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi jrdndncn, I have not read it to be perfectly honest. I'm looking it up right now. "Ready Player One is the story of Parzival, aka Wade Watts, a high school senior who spends most of his time in OASIS, a fully-immersive online gaming environment that has, in the 2040s, become the cyberspace future we’ve all been hoping for for decades." This looks really interesting, wow. What's your take on it?

jrdndncn2 karma

It's a great book, watching your indiegogo video really reminded me a lot of it, you might enjoy it since it's so relevant to your project

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Thanks for the tip! I'll definitely be sure to pick up a copy and give it a read :)

brenddan2 karma

  1. How will this differ from simply holding classes on WOW?
  2. Will the game be open source?
  3. Will teachers be able to produce their own content if they choose?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi brenddan, thanks for the questions!

  1. World of Warcraft (WOW) is a great game, however it lacks things that are needed to create an educational world which reinforces learning. In the School of Atlantis, everything a student does within the world has an educational outcome. For example, a quest in WOW will have you interact with a non player character (NPC) say an Elf , whereas in Atlantis the NPC may be Nelson Mandela or Joan of Arc where the quest given or text provided is based on historical situations.

The classrooms will be virtual with real teachers in real time, this would not be possible in WOW. See our website for concept art.

  1. No, the game is attached to the school and will not be open source as it must stay educational.

  2. Yes, teachers will be able to develop classroom content and provide expert advice to the design team on content. When the world is being developed, specialist teachers will help develop the curriculum in line with international schooling systems.

Thanks!

wanttobeacop2 karma

Wow. I go to an online school, and I was actually just thinking about how much more fun it would be if it were like this. What gave you the idea to make a school like this?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi wanttobeacop! That's awesome - it's great knowing that there are others out there who have thought of something along the lines of the School of Atlantis. In regards to what gave me the idea, let me paste in an answer I gave to a Reddit user who asked me the same thing :)

"I've been working in education for years and have a 7 year old daughter who is a massive gamer. I've watched how quickly she picks up concepts when playing games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft. For a number of years I have been developing entrepreneurial programs to help teach students entrepreneurial concepts and have thought about the evolution of education constantly. I undertook my degree at Bond university where Jeff Brand (a Professor of Society and Design) had his class redesign the school in Minecraft to scale, which was totally awesome! On the Gold Coast we had a massive storm and Jeff ran his Gaming Interaction class (forgot the actual class name) in Minecraft as the students couldn't drive due to the extreme weather. To have the students become engaged he gave them experience points which made them interact been more. The stand out to me was from a discussion I had with him, he mentioned one of the gentleman in his class who never spoke during face-to-face lectures, however online he came out of his shell and started interacting. In fact, he gave more to the class than the others. After this he was never quiet in class again and had great results due to this. When I was in Malaysia helping an educational foundation engage with troubled youth, we discussed the future of education in the country and how students could learn from home. This lead to thinking about home schooling and how it could be improved, first was having teachers in a office where it is relaxed and fun to work (like google, have you seen their offices?!), second was where students used an avatar to gain experience points to be used, third was of course cool mounts or vehicles to use (like WoW haha), and fourth, why not a whole world that is based on educational concepts, that reinforce everything a student learns but is engaging and teaches them as they play… Now that would be cool! How do we help people overcome educational barriers? We make it fun, we teach them on an unconscious level and we encourage creativity. I hope that answered your question! Keep them coming!"

wanttobeacop2 karma

Nice! Thanks for answering. I'd love to be able to sign up for something like this, but I'll probably be out of high school by the time School of Atlantis opens.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

It's a pity that you'll be out of high school by the time we get this up and running, but we actually hope to be able to have a moderated section for those who just want to experience the Atlantis game without having to go through the school (completely separate from students for safety reasons). This is still a concept, but with enough support we can factor this into SoA!

Klowd192 karma

Wow. I kind of really wish this was a thing back when I was in school. I probably would have done far better.

My question: Can I be a virtual janitor and sweep the halls of Atlantis?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi Klowd19, it's great to hear your support! And yes, you may definitely be a virtual janitor and sweep the halls of Atlantis. We will even design you an honorary broom (or mop whichever you prefer). Will you go around running things over with your tractor ie. Willie from the Simpsons?

Klowd192 karma

If provided with a tractor, I most definitely will.

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

I think we have to get this man a tractor. I will make this happen.

Klowd192 karma

I would actually be very interested in doing this. I mean, what's a school without visible staff in the halls, right?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Precisely! Glad to have you on board as official janitor with tractor-wielding power.

FudgeRounds_N_Coke2 karma

What would you hope a student going through your curriculum would achieve? For instance, Common Core pushes the four 21st century competencies (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking). Do you see your program as a technologically driven vehicle for the same end?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi FudgeRounds_N_Coke, thanks for your questions! Ultimately, the School of Atlantis wants what any brick and mortar school wants: for their students to graduate and go out into the world having learned all that we can teach them, to be well-rounded and well-educated human beings. Common Core instils great 21st century competencies, and we in no way want to veer from that. We want our students to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals and decisions and have responsible outcomes in their lives. To put it simply, we want them to succeed and have fun learning. I personally see our school/program as (how you put it) a technologically driven vehicle with the same end as its destination. Being a parent myself, I want to stimulate learning in children, but most of all, I want my child to WANT to do it for themselves. We can try to force as much as we want to students and children, but inevitably they make their own choices and decisions. We can only nurture them along the way. I hope this answers your question! Please leave me more if you can :)

FudgeRounds_N_Coke1 karma

So your program is more interested in creating extrinsic motivators (that may or may not lead to intrinsic motivation) to encourage learning than developing an alternative curriculum for students. The goals of the curriculum are not new, but the tools are. Why not develop these programs for schools to implement into their existing structure? Is your school for-profit?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Well it depends, if a student is intrinsically excited about waking up and going to school in Atlantis, logs in and gains extrinsic learnings and motivators from the world itself that would be intrinsic to extrinsic. If a student doesn't wake up excited about school as they have never been excited about school, then logs in and gains extrinsic motivation from interacting within the world, this will ultimately lead to intrinsic motivation, therefore creating the cycle of motivation. What we know is that humans respond to incentives, and that is a reason for games being so popular. Students completing assessments in game, gaining an incentive for doing so, leads to an internal sense of achievement. In short, Atlantis intends to provide both:)

To date there is only so much curriculum flexibility, so yes the curriculum won't change too much. The tool to deliver the curriculum is new, yes.

We'd love to be able to provide this platform to existing schools and hope to do so into the future.

We are currently in the early stages of development, however we are a for-profit organisation. We prefer to remain a private business so we can reduce costs and lower enrolment fees to make the School accessible to most students and their families.

I hope this answers your questions! Please keep them coming, they are great. :)

FudgeRounds_N_Coke1 karma

I appreciate your replies and am excited that you are attempting something so ambitious. Game-based learning is something I've read about, and I am interested in its potential and implementation. I'd love to be involved with the development or at least get updates about the SOA.

As an American, I am quite disenchanted with the direction in which public schools are heading. New ideas, like the SOA, have the potential to change the game or at least enrich the conversation.

Two more questions:

I wonder what research and data you use as you develop your organization. You mentioned you wanted your students to make SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound) goals and decisions and have responsible outcomes. What research focuses your SMART goals for your company ?

Also, is there a fear that the goal for "players" of your game will be more about the leveling-up, badges, and other rewards than true education (as nebulous as that phrase may be)? Granted, learning will take place, but it can be a superficial endeavor as kids grind through a mission for their next accomplishment.

Thanks

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

We'd love to have you involved, FudgeRounds_N_coke. If you join us on Facebook and Twitter, we will be able to keep you updated with progress and share our ideas with you and in return, you with us. Here are my personal emails that you can contact me on anytime also, [email protected] - [email protected] :)

Our research is quantitative and qualitative, and we do secondary research on current industry blogs and news and industry websites. I myself have an educational company, Paradigm Training Group which allows me to be involved in current educational trends and research. We also have 2 members of staff working in universities, plus have a large network in the schooling industry. All these factors combined are helping us accumulate a lot of information. Oh, and chatting with all the great people on here!

Well, SMART goals are quite simple to create with most business models, whether they are successful or not. Let's have a look at what we are trying to achieve and how it applies:

Specific - Is the concept and goal specific? Well yes it is, we know that we are trying to create an online virtual school developed around a gaming platform to revolutionise the way education is delivered around the world.

Measurable - Is the goal measurable? We have an Indiegogo project that runs for a specific date and feedback from current campaigns being developed. So the answer is yes, we can measure the success if people like our idea and get behind it.

Achievable - That's the big question! Is this large, logistical, technological, and educational game changer possible? Well I very much believe so. There are countless success stories of gigantic feats undertaken that change the world and I believe that this is one of them. For now, it's a concept, but the next step will be a small testing platform. From there it will grow into a fully functional beta, and onto the School of Atlantis. :)

Relevant - Is it currently relevant? As mentioned by us both, the current educational systems need to evolve. "A loyal servant is a traitor in an ever-changing world". This is very true in the current educational system. If education does not evolve with the rest of the world's industries, it faces a real threat (which is already present).

Time-bound - Our first campaign has 39 days left, hopefully that's enough time. :)

I think 'true education' is an interesting concept. What is it, in all actuality? I know when my daughter reads about a Quest on world of warcraft she is gaining 'true education' as she is developing her reading skills. When she builds a house (4 by 5 blocks) or makes a door move in Minecraft, she is learning about math and (basic) engineering. To me, this is true education, is it not? I think this may be part of the problem - we need to move beyond the thought that students need to be sitting in a seat, looking at a white board and listening to teachers to gain 'true education'. I know that I've always learnt more when I didn't know I was learning. Something I've been working on for years: "How can we help students learn without them knowing they're doing so?" Food for thought. Again, thanks for the continued comments and questions! I hope we will be in touch in the future :)

BoarSkull2 karma

Never heard of it before how is it a role playing game but also a school? Explain like im 5? -Thanks

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Boarskull! Thank you for the question :) I'd like to think that you have never heard of it before, simply because we launched this movement only 2 days ago. I'll try my best to describe this "like you're 5." Have you ever played World of Warcraft or any other MMORPG games? The School of Atlantis is a school in a virtual world, where you can play online. You create an avatar (a character in your image, that runs around the world and interacts with other players and non-player characters; NPCs), and attend school. You attend virtual real-time classes, with other students and a real-time teacher that interacts with you in-game. Let me paste in an answer I gave to another Reddit user that describes how classes and classrooms work. "Example class: History. You start by learning about philosophers such as Socrates, with socratic language and socratics method. The virtual class (via webcam) is run just like any other distance based school, with interaction between the teacher and the student (the difference here being several students in one classroom - you can find the concept art on our website). Content being taught is displayed on the screen and the students have the necessary textbooks with them, paperback, tablet etc. After class you have an assignment set: to go to the "history district" (concept only) and search out Socrates amongst all the people. Now, Socrates looks just like his historical appearance so students need to look up what he looks like to find him (almost a "where's wally/waldo situation"). Once you have found him, you must have a conversation with him in socratic form, you may have five different responses to choose from. Once you have achieved this, you gain a item of reward from Socrates which you take back to class to show you have achieved the quest/assessment. A traditional school gives you books and a teacher (who generally doesn't want to be there from my experiences) that usually teaches straight from a textbook without changing their teaching methods to suit each and every student (because, let's face it, that's a lot of effort and it takes too much time, which is why some students feel lost in school or class). Atlantis, however, will give students the ability to learn in the ways they want, and will be able to challenge kids without overloading them and burning them out. For further information, I urge you to read through our website and get back to me with any more questions! I hope I've been able to provide a sufficient answer :)"

I've tried to keep my answer as simplistic as possible. If it's still hard to understand, please don't hesitate to drop another question in! I'll be here until I pass out :)

startin-over2 karma

why webcams? why not do the whole thing via avatars and make it entirely MMORPG like? That way you ditch things like body image perception, etc that plague highschool kids.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Great question!! We actually will be using avatars! If you look on the website, we have the avatar concepts drawn up (first stage), and you can have a look. Students will be decked out in Atlantis uniforms (this may be changed), but can change their facial features etc. so it's like they're running around school. It will be exactly like an MMORPG, but an MMORPS!

startin-over2 karma

no virtual wedgies i hope...

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Yikes, I hope not. Wedgies are a pain the butt. Excuse the joke.

polaroidhippo2 karma

[deleted]

Schoolofatlantis0 karma

polaroidhippo, thanks so much for your feedback and support! We can't wait to get this off the ground!

Sliverhairedman2 karma

School of Atlantis is a great idea that ticks many of the right boxes. Getting parents on board and maintaining a degree of structure and discipline in the virtual school environment will be as critical as the freedom of expression and creativity allowed by the avatars in the game. In school you may need to restrict the more cool elements of some of the avatars to keep minds focussed and maintain some real world grounding.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Sliverhairedman, thank you for the support and valuable comments.

We, just like you, agree that parents full support is critical to the success of Atlantis and as this concept includes current curriculum, a disciplined and systematic approach will be necessary for students to achieve their learning outcomes. The game and the world itself will provide a wonderful opportunity for every student to exercise and explore a new and creativity way of learning.

The focus for us is to hire an amazing team, one that is partly made up of individuals who are very auditory digital (analytical) and have a background in educational/ schooling structure. This will allow us to implement guidelines to make sure that the functionality supports structure and discipline (discipline in the form of self discipline and controls, not traditional whacking with a cane :) )

Real world grounding is a great concept, I often see lots of people floating around offices spaces and worksites that look like they need 'real world grounding'. Input from people like yourself on how we can achieve this would be great! Please keep asking questions, it really helps us develop this idea to make it the greatest school of the future.

Sliverhairedman2 karma

Looks as I needed a better education as I can't spell. One of the biggest criticisms of conventional education is the failure of a whole generation of young people having adequate language and literacy skills for the real world. Social media has changed language faster than at any time since it was codified. I'll be keen to see how these skills are developed in the game. The last thing I'd want to see is the rote learning of my childhood (though I can count and spell), nor the barbaric discipline of the cane and it's associated bullying which is being advocated by some of the rednecks in our society. It will be interesting to see school of Atlantis breaking through the ongoing trend in some countries of learning lots of facts and figures rather than developing the powers of thought and deduction.

Sliverhairedman2 karma

In terms of the real world education needs to move past rewarding participation, but has winners and people who come second, because that's what happens in the real world. The game environment brings that sort of challenge. Young workers also need to realise that some of us silver haired oldies can sometimes offer wisdom, as long as we can show we are also engaged in lifetime learning. Also promotion comes after hard work and not always because of our own inflated sense of worth and impatience.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

You have very great points. Hopefully we can instil these positive habits into the future students of Atlantis! Education needs some reforms and if we can help to promote growth in learning, it's one step towards a brighter future for everyone.

That_Cricky2 karma

A very interesting concept and I'm curious to how it would become more developed in the future.

How did you first think of making the School of Atlantis into an MMORPS?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

I've been working in education for years and have a 7 year old daughter who is a massive gamer. I've watched how quickly she picks up concepts when playing games like Minecraft or World of Warcraft. For a number of years I have been developing entrepreneurial programs to help teach students entrepreneurial concepts and have thought about the evolution of education constantly. I undertook my degree at Bond university where Jeff Brand (a Professor of Society and Design) had his class redesign the school in Minecraft to scale, which was totally awesome! On the Gold Coast we had a massive storm and Jeff ran his Gaming Interaction class (forgot the actual class name) in Minecraft as the students couldn't drive due to the extreme weather. To have the students become engaged he gave them experience points which made them interact been more. The stand out to me was from a discussion I had with him, he mentioned one of the gentleman in his class who never spoke during face-to-face lectures, however online he came out of his shell and started interacting. In fact, he gave more to the class than the others. After this he was never quiet in class again and had great results due to this. When I was in Malaysia helping an educational foundation engage with troubled youth, we discussed the future of education in the country and how students could learn from home. This lead to thinking about home schooling and how it could be improved, first was having teachers in a office where it is relaxed and fun to work (like google, have you seen their offices?!), second was where students used an avatar to gain experience points to be used, third was of course cool mounts or vehicles to use (like WoW haha), and fourth, why not a whole world that is based on educational concepts, that reinforce everything a student learns but is engaging and teaches them as they play… Now that would be cool! How do we help people overcome educational barriers? We make it fun, we teach them on an unconscious level and we encourage creativity. I hope that answered your question! Keep them coming!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi That_Cricky, sorry for the late reply, I'll have in answer in just a sec!

ezerb92 karma

How much does it cost?

Schoolofatlantis5 karma

At this point in time, our prices will be equal to the price of local/public schools in the respective student's country/location. We want to provide "private school teaching" at public school prices. If you look on the website, we're currently asking advice on whether we should choose the Cambridge system or International Baccalaureate (IB) system of schooling. Thanks for the question!

nightwork8 karma

Can you be any more specific? Public schools are (I think by definition) free, unless you count taxes, etc. Assuming you do, about how much will it cost in California, USA?

Schoolofatlantis4 karma

Hi nightwork, as we are based in Australia at the moment, we were putting forth the costs in regards to our own country. What are your suggestions on costs in California, USA? We will only really be charging on any software (think cost of buying a PC game) and any costs to cover hardware (necessary workbooks that students have to fill in by hand so that are taking much need breaks from staring at a computer screen for hours!) Please check back on our website for more updates, and we will be sure to add in costs for the US soon! Thanks so much for your question!

heidurzo4 karma

Not everywhere has the same definitions and prices. For example here in the UK public schools are your private schools wheras the equivalent of your public schools are called state schools. There are also many countries where all education costs money. The plan seems to be for this to be a truly international platform.

Schoolofatlantis3 karma

Hi heidurzo, we will definitely be changing costs to fit the pricing for every respective country. We understand that certain countries (developing etc.) will not be able to afford the cost of first world countries. We definitely don't want to leave anyone out, as our uptime goal is to prove education fairly and globally. Thanks for your comment!

bazingawaitwhat2 karma

Quite a list of questions, (sorry 'bout that), but it's an interesting concept:

So this isn't an additional learning platform, but is meant to replace going to school entirely? Surely your students would miss out on physical games/team sports?

The site seems to be in an infant state (for example, clicking on the 'facts' link comes up with a 'to be added soon'). When did you start up this business (if you don't mind me calling it that)?

You mention the problem of bulling in traditional schools, and your alternative would be a revolution against it (among others). How would you prevent online bullying? And why would your system prevent school drop-outs? Isn't it even easier to close the window to a game when you're frustrated with it, and walk away from the computer, than leaving a school? I often become interested in games for a couple of months, then move onto other ones. Why wouldn't my experience with yours be the same?

And finally, you mention the Cambridge system in another post, are you referring to the Pre-U qualifications?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi bazingawaitwhat, just so you know, I haven't forgotten about you! I'll be answering your questions in two secs!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Great list of questions, thanks!

No, it's not a schooling platform, although it could be that also. Correct, to complete your schooling certificate you must have a physical education subject. We would do the same thing as current distance education provides, that is insist all students enrol be part of an approved sporting club. We would also be encouraging students to be part of social clubs as well and would be looking to eventually run social clubs in areas for students to meet in real life ( That is an idea at the moment).

Distance education is currently the largest growing education sector in the world and this is nothing new, we are simply taking it a step further.

The business has been in the development stage for about 8 months. In saying that though it was developed as part of a program I have built over 8 years and an extension to my training organisation Paradigm Training Group. So yes we are in our infancy, and looking for people to help us make this a reality through crowd funding with Indiegogo. You can find the link on our website :)

Again great question! If a student encounters bullying, they will have the option to utilize the “Report Bullying” function, which will alert a monitoring teacher. This teacher can automatically message the student who is responsible for the bullying and give them a warning. A chat log will be recorded and sent to the student’s parents so that all parties are aware of what has occurred. Students will also have a “Block Student” option so they can no longer interact with each other outside of class times. (answer from our website).

There is no guarantee that students won't just quit or not want to be part of the game. However, we plan on the Atlantis world being so engaging and interactive that most will! Imagine, having a conversation with Socrates or Joan of Arc in-game or playing your homework instead of white pages for everything. We will also have an option where students can just undertake distance schooling with us and not be involved with the game itself. That's why when students enter the classroom it becomes virtual education with real teachers.

Yes, Cambridge has an international schooling sector (pre-U) that is used around the world within traditional brick and mortar schools, and distance schools to certify students.

bazingawaitwhat2 karma

Thanks for the detailed reply, when do you think you'll begin to enrol students and do you think it will be more popular in certain countries?

Having studied some subjects at Pre-U and others at A-Level (and having talked with pupils who have studied IB), my personal experience is that Pre-U is a much more challenging (and far more rewarding) course. It gives a much greater depth of understanding and knowledge than A-level (or IB according to those I've spoken to). (Disclaimer: I've only studied classical languages at Pre-U level, so I don't know about other Pre-U examined subjects).

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hopefully we'll be enrolling students within the next 2 years, however we are still in the very early stages of development. Currently we are just trying to drum up enough people to say, "yes, we would attend a school like this" and share our idea to drum up enough attention to get a good amount of traction. (We have also started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and I'm looking to make a post on r/kickstarter once I can get my head around Reddit itself)

I'm hoping it will be popular in most countries, however we just don't know yet. Hopefully Atlantis gets a lot of attention and we get some solid feedback so we can gauge which countries to launch in first. We know America, Australia, New Zealand and possibly Singapore and Malaysia will be the first countries that the product is released in. This may change depending on popularity. Cheers on the feedback as well! :) Keep them coming :)

Hawk3s2 karma

Hi, any chance you got inspiration from the WoW in schools guy?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi Hawk3s! We actually have never heard of the WoW in schools guy, but he sounds great. We will definitely be sure to check him out!

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Thanks for the tip! They look like awesome reads - I'll check them out ASAP.

urban_tarzan2 karma

I'm curious, do you think you could give a rough overview of a typical "class" in any subject area? What sorts of methods/techniques might you use that would make the online-based setup more effective than a traditional one?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Example - History:

You start by learning about philosophers such as Socrates, with socratic language and socratics method. The virtual class (via webcam) is run just like any other distance based school, with interaction between the teacher and the student (the difference here being several students in one classroom - you can find the concept art on our website). Content being taught is displayed on the screen and the students have the necessary textbooks with them, paperback, tablet etc. After class you have an assignment set: to go to the "history district" (concept only) and search out Socrates amongst all the people. Now, Socrates looks just like his historical appearance so students need to look up what he looks like to find him (almost a "where's wally/waldo situation"). Once you have found him, you must have a conversation with him in socratic form, you may have five different responses to choose from. Once you have achieved this, you gain a item of reward from Socrates which you take back to class to show you have achieved the quest/assessment. A traditional school gives you books and a teacher (who generally doesn't want to be there from my experiences) that usually teaches straight from a textbook without changing their teaching methods to suit each and every student (because, let's face it, that's a lot of effort and it takes too much time, which is why some students feel lost in school or class). Atlantis, however, will give students the ability to learn in the ways they want, and will be able to challenge kids without overloading them and burning them out. For further information, I urge you to read through our website and get back to me with any more questions! I hope I've been able to provide a sufficient answer :)

urban_tarzan2 karma

Sounds interesting. So the general idea is to use conventional teaching methods to introduce a topic, and game-based ones to explore/reinforce it. Do you have educators and such working on how exactly "gamifying" specific curricula would work? It seems like something that requires very precise, well-thought-out design that is unique to each subject area.

Just my opinion, but I really think you should emphasize this aspect of Atlantis. Not only does it give potentially interested parties a clearer picture of exactly what it is your new classroom model is like, but also is, to me at least, a large part of the appeal of an experience like this. I'm guessing the reason this isn't on the website already is that you haven't yet had time to develop it, but a course demo of some sort would really help people understand what is unique and interesting about your idea.

Best of luck to you, this is a really cool concept and I hope you can take it far!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Yes that is the general concept and thanks for the feedback! We do currently have educators working with us, however we are very much in the infancy stage of business and looking to gain traction through campaigns on Indiegogo and social media. We, at the moment, are a relatively small team, but are growing.

Once we have gained a little more traction and funding, we are aiming to have a small demo available which shows a common day at the School of Atlantis. I'll make sure I go over the website and put more emphasis on that. Thanks for the great feedback and support, I'm glad you are on board with the concept :)

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi urban_tarzan, I'll have an answer for you quicksmart! Just answering another at the moment :)

pdawson19832 karma

Will parents/guardians be able to monitor completion?
Will parents/guardians be able to restrict certain subjects such as sexual education or other controversial subjects?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi pdawnson1983, thanks for your questions! Yes, parents/guardians will most definitely be able to monitor completion! Teachers will have direct contact links to parents/guardians in regards to homework and schoolwork and other aspects of the game. We will have a Parent's Communication Area (whether it will be in the game or on the school website is still up for discussion based on usability and such) where parents/guardians can give feedback, and discuss their children's learning with teachers (think Parent/Teacher Conference Nights, but online instead of going to school physically). In regards to restrictions on certain subjects, great question! We want to maintain an environment where every student, teacher, and parent/guardian is comfortable. If a parent/guardian is uncomfortable with, for example, the pace at which sexual education is being taught, there will be systems in place where they can "flag" a subject they think is innapropriate and it will be sent to the review board and blocked from the student's viewing until an agreement can be reached by the school and said parent/guardian. Thanks so much for your insightful question - this has spurred me to make sure to put a "Parent Guide" up on the website shortly!

lagboy2 karma

I was wondering, do you have a testing period going on in the near future, Like with real teachers, If you are do you think you could drop me a PM and invite me to it? I really want to test this out.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Lagboy, once we have a beta up and running, yes we will be holding test groups for students and teachers. We would love you to test out the beta once it's functional and provide us with feedback. Join us on facebook and twitter to stay updated :)

rappedillyen2 karma

What kind of a student-teacher ratio are you planning to have, and how much time will students spend interacting with NPCs compared to your employees?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi rappedillyen, thanks for your comment!

We are aiming to keep class sizes at a ratio of roughly 1:16 to encourage student interaction with their teacher and this will enhance the learning outcomes. Class sizes will ultimately be decided by the number of teachers on staff and students enrolled. The goal is to keep teacher:student ratio to a minimum to promote 1 on 1 learning and for students to feel that their voices are being heard. This will help combat disenchantment as help will be far more accessible to them in comparison to most brick and mortar schools. (As I said, at this point in time this is just what we're aiming for).

Based on similar learning models (Distance Education), students would spend approximately 4 hours face-to-face with their teachers and this would allow an extra 2 hours for interaction within the world during school hours. If students want to spend more time in the world outside of school hours, this would be at their discretion. In regards to NPC attention compared to employee attention, we will arrange classes (if you look through one of my previous answers, I highlight the importance of making it to class, and the penalties that arise from absence) to fit the 4 hour face-to-face model, and however long students want to spend interacting with NPCs is left to their discretion. "Quests" and homework that deal with NPCs will not take long (find the NPC based on historical images, ask them questions, write the answers down in their workbook, proceed to class/next NPC), but it all depends on the student. If they are interested in the historical figure they are interacting with, by all means, they can continue to have a lengthy conversation and research the individual to their heart's content.

I hope you leave us some more great questions! :)

Marc_Vesper2 karma

is this inspired by the OASIS?

if you start messing with the Oculus something incredibly similarcould happen!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Marc_Vesper, thanks for your questions! The School of Atlantis is not inspired by the Oasis, but I'm having a read of it now. I've looked into the Oculus Rift technology (have you seen the parody video Mega64 have posted?), and it's really the stuff of the future, isn't? The technology can take us deeper into games and further the experiences we can have. I think it's great! If we can enrich SoA with the Oculus we can broaden the game and experience tenfold. Thanks again for your comment! I hope you hit us with some more :)

Marc_Vesper2 karma

this is the first time someone's answered my question i love you guys

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Whoohoo! I'm glad to be the first one! Share the love, share the love :)

Marc_Vesper2 karma

hope everything works out! <3

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Thanks so much! Feel free to follow our progress on Facebook, twitter etc. and message us with anymore questions you might have :)

Marc_Vesper2 karma

i will, thanks!

also you could keep this accoubt for later and make a subreddit fot SOA.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

That sounds great! I'll have to familiarise myself with Reddit a lot more, but that's definitely something I'll be looking into doing :)

Marc_Vesper2 karma

message me if you need help, it's an odd site!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Thanks! You can probably expect a PM from me soon, haha!

Patrikx2 karma

Do you see this as an addition or substitute to current schooling?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi Patrikx, thanks for the question! We, the team, believe that current schooling will not be completely replaceable. This is simply because everyone has different preferences and there will still be people who prefer brick and mortar schools and "living the Uni life." We want this school to co-exist with current educational systems for the time being, and for people to see this as an outlet for students who are currently disenchanted with school or have no access to one. Our ultimate goal is to help provide education to everyone in the world! If working with current schooling to achieve this is the answer, then this is the way to go! Again, thanks for the question and feel free to hit me with more :)

J-mak2 karma

Not meaning to throw a criticism towards you, just curious as how sitting exams work? You would never be able to monitor the students completely. Is this an issue if you wanted it to be recognized as a legitimate academic institution?

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Hi J-mak! We've actually been asked this quite recently. Most distance schools run examination stations, generally at a university or local schools where students can be monitored. Another option will be exam packs that are sent to a student where they can approach a local teacher/ school who sign off that the exam was opened and completed in front of them. A number of I.T monitor class rooms are also now available in certain cities. These are all current methods used in distance education. Most distance schools are seen as legitimate, in fact in Australia some of the leading schools are distance education providers. I hope that answers your question and thanks, keep them coming.

50MillionChickens2 karma

Yes, the industry has matured a lot and many schools at secondary and higher education level make use of dedicated local testing centers where students can be proctored.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Right you are, 50MillionChickens! These are the types of facilities we want to have when SOA gets off the ground in the future. Thanks for the comment!

SkepticWolf2 karma

Someone else in this thread mentioned "Ready Player One," a book in which the author sets up something very similar (the protagonist is enrolled in such a school). Ever since I read that book I've had the idea tickling the back of my mind, it's very cool that someone is setting out to actually do it.

You're obviously fairly early in the process here, so my question is probably putting the cart WAY ahead of the horse, but here it is anyway: How can I get involved in this as a teacher?

Rough background; I'm a certified K-12 music teacher with multiple years of experience, but currently not in a teaching job (rough economy). If I had a chance to leave my non-teaching job for something like this I'd jump at the chance. My brain is already spinning with ideas to implement a music curriculum in a (very) unusual logistical format like this. Music (band, chorus, orchestra) is one of the few disciplines that usually require a physical presence to do it effectively, but things like this (link below) are making it a real possibility to have groups performing remotely: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7o7BrlbaDs

You're going to need to develop some kind of music curriculum, as almost every state in the US has at least some kind of music requirement for accreditation. I'd love the chance to help develop some of these methods/programs. I've got a ton of ideas. Let me know :).

Good luck, this is very cool.

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

That link was so very cool, thank you for sharing. To have something like that as part of Atlantis would be magical and right in line with what we are trying to achieve. I am still yet to read 'Ready Player One' but will get to it hopefully this weekend, hopefully haha.

The Atlantis team is always happy to have more people contribute and help make this a reality. Your feedback and assistance is always welcome. In the end it's about the next evolution of education and helping children succeed!

I am about to respond to your email, so will discuss the rest of the conversation then.

Thanks Skepticwolf!

SkepticWolf2 karma

Something else that occurred to me as I slept on the idea:

This whole thing bears a lot of similarity to home-schooling in the sense that it would be a parental choice to avoid the traditional school system. Home-schooling is already very active (at least around where I live), and a lot of those parents are choosing to supplement their home curriculum with online courses. Some Home school curriculum providers even offer their own online classes for subjects parents may not feel capable of teaching themselves.

So the question would be: Are there any plans to interface this project with existing home school programs? Would kids be able to enroll in a couple of specific classes, rather than enrolling "full time" as it were? And if so...would other people be able to enroll on a class by class basis? (like someone mentioned, adults, etc).

Schoolofatlantis2 karma

Yes, this something that can definitely be a possibility! The whole point of the School of Atlantis is to allow students to successfully complete their schooling certification. Whatever feedback we get that will allow students to do this will be something that we will look at implementing. Just like in University/College, there can be part-time students simply looking to achieve credits that will help them get their certificate/diploma/etc. In conclusion to that, yes, as I mentioned previously to another Reddit user, we will have a section of sorts for people (adults, high school dropouts, college students) that would like to enrol on a class by class basis. The ultimate goal is to educate the world! Thanks so much for your thought-provoking question :)

Moose_Hole2 karma

How will people be able to get good grades if they can't copy off the person sitting next to them? Do they have to beat up the nerdy neighbor to get them to take their tests instead?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Students will now have the opportunity to discover the intrinsic strengths that lay within, instead of copying wrong answers off their friends ;). Great questions, keep them coming.

hlkhw2 karma

This sounds awesome and I wish that I could be of some assistance.

I also wonder if you will enable some option for adults to audit courses or perhaps receive credit. For example, I obtained a GED after my sophomore year of high school and am missing the math and english courses that would enable me to test out of college-level remedial courses when pursuing post-secondary education.

I understand the implications of adults attending along with minors, but perhaps a profile designation could be made to limit interaction.

Also, any thoughts on developing this for post-secondary education?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi hlkhw, great question and comments and in response, we are planning to potentially run a separate server for adults wanting to complete their studies. Yes, we are considering the inclusion of post-secondary education and have been in consultation with the Australian University sector to discuss just that:)

Thank you also for the offer of assistance and you can do that just by passing the Atlantis message on to family and friends and by joining us on Facebook and twitter (share, share, share). This will also keep you updated on where we are up to, thanks!

patronen1 karma

Very interesting idea! But are you concerned that your students will have reduced "real-world" social skills and what are you going to do, in order to reduce a the potential negative impact on social skills?

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi patronen, we've actually answered this question previously! Let me copy and paste an answer we provided another user on Reddit. "Hi loukaspetourkas, First of all, thank you very much for your comment! In regards to your question, we, the Atlantis team, believe that online learning is the next step in the evolution of education. The School of Atlantis (if you have time to read through our Indiegogo page or go to www.schoolofatlantis.com) will have real-time qualified teachers through webcam interaction, as well as interaction with other students in virtual "classrooms." Students will also be required to join a sport (or outdoor activity) in their local area as part of their schooling. As well as that, further on into the future of SoA, we will have representatives organising "Sport and Activity Days" several times a year to encourage students to attend and meet their online friends. In conclusion, online learning is not a complete substitute for real life class room interaction, unless there is real life interaction that comes with it - i.e. what we are trying to achieve with the School of Atlantis. Please hit us with more questions! :)"

patronen1 karma

thanks a lot:) maybe you could implement something similar to the IBs CAS system (creativity, action, social), where a part of the curriculum is a set amount of hours spent on activities outside school? IMO taking part in creative and social activities is just as important as sports:D

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi patronen, our Human Resource Manager attended an IB school (Brent international School) and her two cents were exactly that - the CAS system, which we will most definitely be implementing. We may call it something else, if we don't go with the IB system. She (Rika) personally thinks the CAS system is great! (We do too).

patronen2 karma

I attended an IB school as well in Denmark, and the CAS system is IMO what really makes it stand out in a lot of ways and it would be something that could contribute a lot to an online school, and of course a more positive public image if you can get your students to volunteer for social projects:)

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

patronen, I think you hit the nail right on the head! The CAS system is a great tool that we can implement into the School of Atlantis to make sure students are meeting all the requirements to graduate. We will add this to our website as soon as possible to get the word out. Great feedback!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi all, it's great to see the questions and comments rolling in! I can't wait to answer more and continue to discuss the School of Atlantis with all of you. :)

Hateful_Face_Licking1 karma

Watched the video, and thought it was pretty legit. May want to go through and fix the typos in the subtitles and examples if you want your idea to be taken seriously though.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi Hateful_Face_Licking, thanks for the feedback. Could you please point out for me where the typos are? I'm assuming there is just a misunderstanding between Americanised English and English English (please see my reply to OSED4X if you're unsure what I mean). If there are other typos, please let me know so we can fix it! Thanks :)

cizessio1 karma

I very much appreciate how you are changing the idea of education, but I'm not "buying" it. (pun intended) I looked through your website and there's NOTHING at all for me to see; no in-game content, no curriculum for analysis, just a bunch of idealistic goals with no realistic backing. As a video gamer, the most important thing I want to see is the GAMEPLAY. That is the #1 most crucial aspect to lure the audience that the game caters for.

Now onto my questions:

  • How will the gameplay work? For example, what keys will be used to move the avatar character? Is it going to be click-based or WASD based?

  • Will the gameplay, graphics, quests and other concepts mirror other successful MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, TERA, GuildWars, etc. or will it mirror something closer to a browser-based game like Adventure Quest or a Facebook app?

Edit: After researching more into the SOA, it seems to be that the school hasn't been built yet, since your indiegogo campaign team does not have any game developers or anyone with knowledge of game development. This whole thing reeks of "scam." After you collect however much money your indiegogo campaign makes, you ll just say "we didn't reach enough funds, we tried, thanks for the money."

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi cizessio, thanks for your feedback and questions. First of all, thank you for providing your EDIT, seeing as answering your first couple of questions really would only take a point in the right direction (i.e. the website and several of the answers that I have already posted on here for other Reddit users, as it would have highlighted that we are quite obviously in our infancy stage). I'm glad that you have been able to do some extensive research into SoA! I very much condone research, learning and baby steps. These are some of the positive habits we will be trying to instil into our future students. If you had furthered your research just a little bit more, you would have found that I have already discussed these very same fears you have, with another Reddit user. I will copy and paste my answer so that you do not have to put in that extra effort to go and find it.

"I'm wondering if you've seen the Phonebloks video that was circulating the internet a couple of months ago? We were hoping to create a video that was simple and visually pleasing to be shared and liked to raise awareness. The project is very young, true, and we have highlighted that it is in its infancy stage. Like the Phonebloks campaign, though we have a crowdfunding project, our other goal is simply to gather enough end users that put their hands up and say "we want SOA to happen!" With enough attention and publicity, we can attract the right people and companies to (hopefully) make this happen. Yes, we are asking for funding on Indiegogo, simply because to use Kickstarter, a prototype is needed, whilst the former does not need one. (This is highlighted very clearly in the Kickstarter terms and conditions). Until we can get a beta up and running, Indiegogo is the way to go. Why throw money at any crowdfunding project? There are several on the website that need money for a beta, with no definite answer that it will come off or not. We're not unlike those campaigns. We're looking to create software, and so are they. (Great points by the way!) MMORPGs have to gain a sizeable user base to be playable, and that's exactly what we're trying to do: gain the user base. The fundraising comes second to finding people to support us without the monetary value attached to it. The beta version will bring in money to fund the final version simply because it has more validity (I highlighted this in a question below in answer to another Reddit user's question). As well as the prototype needed to use Kickstarter (as mentioned above). The beta will not keep us financially afloat, as it's simply going to be put out to trial and improve upon. Yes, it's true that the money and independence to buy into a beta are in the hands of an audience older than our targeted students, which is why in the perks section (I assume that this is what you're talking about, please correct me if I'm wrong) it is written that you can designate a child to try out the beta and provide feedback. Why should you pay into our campaign? Simply because we want to help change education for the better. The ultimate goal is to put fast, quality education into the hands of those that may otherwise turn away from schooling. We just want to help the world - all we can hope for are people that share our vision. Though this may be a big feat, baby steps are always the way to start. :) If I have missed anything, please let me know! :)"

As an extra added tidbit just for you, upon browsing other popular (and fully funded) Indiegogo campaigns, you will find that there are many other projects that are raising money to create betas. This means that they have no prototypes, and are relying on funding from the community to get their product out there (Facerig, is a popular one that comes to mind - I'm sure you will do some avid research into this)! Just like us, if they happen to try and fail, you won't get your money back and there will be no product. We happen to be no different. Again, thank you for your feedback! Fortunately for us and our movement, your opinion is not shared by the majority of people and users who have given us their feedback. :)

cizessio1 karma

Just like us, if they happen to try and fail, you won't get your money back and there will be no product.

  • No, many are NOT like you. They have videos, gameplay, concept art, so that you can see what is in progress before you contribute. They have game developers or ARE game developers just trying to share their game with the world.
  • You're trying to compare your campaign to others, but that doesn't mean the moral grounds of my claim differs. If a campaign is trying to sell a product that doesn't exist, then it's a scam. If they're a scam, then you're a scam too.

Your intentions can be completely 100% real, and you could prove me wrong by eventually finishing this product. Just the stage that you're at now provides no credibility or safety in contributing.

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi again cizessio, I completely understand your concern and where you're coming from. Thanks for leaving this feedback for me to reply to. If you re-read what I wrote previously about Indiegogo not needing a prototype to launch a project, you will fully understand that this is a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to create a beta. I'm sure that you understand that we cannot provide gameplay without, quite obviously, having a beta first. Of course we're trying to sell a product that doesn't physically exist, otherwise we would be on Kickstarter, because their guidelines need a prototype for you to launch a project with them. We do have a video and concept art which is on the website and Indiegogo page (again, the links are in the text above). Once we have raised the funds for a beta/prototype, we will be launching our project on Kickstarter (unless per chance we have raised enough money on Indiegogo to fully fund this project and hit the ground running). You're correct, we don't have a game developer. We highlight this in the video that I'm sure you have watched. We are raising funds to hire the people that can create the beta. On that note, shout out to any user out there who would like to jump on board and help us to develop SOA! Also, a scam, see: "dishonest scheme," is not what we're running, simply because our ultimate goal at the moment is to create awareness for the project. The monetary value behind this idea comes second, as I have also written above. If people want to get behind this and fund, that's great! If they simply want to like and share, that's just as amazing. We want to get the word out there - which is another reason why I'm on AMA answering all of your questions. Our intentions are 100% real and I'm glad that you've taken this fact into consideration. Hopefully you can watch as our project takes off and be a part of it in the future :)

Sliverhairedman2 karma

Cizessio, New ideas have to start somewhere and evolve, that the team has launched it so early shows they are inviting not only investment funds but also feedback from the gaming & it community and educators as well as people like myself who worry about the inadequacy of many aspects of traditional education

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

You've hit the nail on the head, Sliverhairedman!

Schoolofatlantis1 karma

Hi guys, I'm trying to get to your questions as soon as I can! Please refer to our FAQ for the time being, while I type at the speed of light! http://www.schoolofatlantis.com/facts.html# (The FAQ tab is right next to the FACTS tab)