Making it easier to use text adventures and Quest in the classroom – ActiveLit

Recently, more and more teachers are starting to use Quest and text adventure games with their classes. Some teachers have used text-based games to inspire children to read; others use it as an introduction to programming; others get their students to create games around a set historical theme.

The main textadventures.co.uk site isn’t particularly optimised for educational groups, however. Some teachers find it a pain to set up user accounts for a whole class full of students, and others would prefer to restrict their classes to playing a pre-set list of games instead of giving their pupils unrestricted access to everything available on the site.

For these reasons, I’m setting up a new site called ActiveLit, which is designed for schools, colleges and youth groups who want to play, create and share text adventure games.

ActiveLit

ActiveLit is currently being built, and I’m aiming to focus the first stage of development on the features which will be most useful to the most people. So, if you are a teacher, or run a group getting children or students to play or create text adventures, please express your interest by filling in the form at activelit.com. You’re not committing to anything at all yet, and I’m not going to spam you – you’ll genuinely help me build the product that best suits you, and you’ll get to be one of the first users.

My current plans for ActiveLit are that it will enable you to…

  1. Create your own private area of the website:
    • Curate a list of games which your group is allowed access to.
    • Allow your group to share games they’ve created only among other group members.
    • Direct your group to a dedicated URL – using activelit.com/your-group-name or via your own subdomain. (This would allow your network to block the main textadventures.co.uk domain, if required)
    • Control who can access your private area by generating accounts automatically.
  2. Get activity reports:
    • Access game transcripts, so you can see who played which games, for how long and how well they did.
    • Export student activity data to other platforms such as Moodle.
  3. Help your students out:
    • Link to worksheets and assignments directly from the website.
    • Toggle editor functionality on and off – give your students a simplified editor view that is tailored to the games you want them to make.
    • Game templates – give your students the bare bones of a game which they can flesh out, instead of starting them all on a blank slate.

If you’re using the Windows desktop version of Quest, there will also be a way to configure it to take its game feed from your private area instead of the main website.

If there’s anything else that would help you with running your text adventure group, please let me know via the comments section on the ActiveLit sign-up form.

Wondering how to use text adventures and Quest in the classroom? Take a look at the Education page – and if you’re using Quest with your group, please let me know and I’ll add it to the examples.

Any questions or anything else I can do to help, please email me alex@textadventures.co.uk.

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