From World of Warcraft to Saving the World: Educational Game Teaches Ecology, Problem Solving on Alien Planet

Avid gamer Lindsey Tropf was studying to get her Ph.D. in school psychology at the University of Florida when she realized something major — that World of Warcraft and Star Wars Galaxies could actually be used as ideal learning models for educational video games.

Since then, Lindsey founded the edtech startup Immersed Games in an effort to take full advantage of the medium that is online games. Immersed Games created Tyto Online, a World of Warcraft-style educational game about ecology, set in a futuristic universe where the Earth is no longer inhabitable. It is up to the players to learn how to improve ecosystems so that they can someday return to Earth and restore their planet.

In Tyto Online, users create a character and complete quests and activities. Tropf cites an example of one of these tasks: “If I go accept a quest from a scientist, they might be worried that this weird plant might be an invasive species. And so I start collecting evidence to convince them if I think it is, and go into a detective quest like that.”

Like in many traditional video games, users who play Tyto Online move through different levels. Since implementing an early access period for Tyto Online, Tropf and Immersed Games have seen positive responses from both students and parents.

We had Hannah Nyren sit down with Lindsey to discuss Immersed Games, Tyto Online, and her experiences in creating them both. Listen in to learn more about the magic behind educational video games.

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth Hartel

Elizabeth hails from New Jersey and studies journalism at Emerson College, where she works for two publications: a lifestyle magazine and a music magazine. In addition to education, she also enjoys writing about health and fitness and pop culture.