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The Zoombinis Are Back!

Not too long ago, Zoombinis enjoyed the good life. Though they all looked slightly different:  different eyes, noses, hair, feet ... Such differences meant nothing to the Zoombinis. And so they lived happily on Zoombini Isle making small, useful products, which were prized the world over. The Zoombinis had a sense of fulfillment and inner peace, not to mention healthy bank accounts. Then one day, who should show up but The Bloats …

If you grew up in the 90’s and 00’s, this prologue might seem all too familiar.  The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis, originally developed by the Technical Educational Research Center (TERC) and first released by Brøderbund Software in 1996, had us using logic, problem solving skills, and data analysis in order to get these little blue guys to their new home of Zoombiniton.  Time has changed for the Zoombinis in the past couple of decades and due to a wildly popular Kickstarter (raising over $100,000 for the project) and a new wave of developers, this classic favorite has finally been updated and released for iOS and Android!

TERC has partnered with FableVision Studios and The Learning Games Network to relaunch the original game for the tablets and touchscreens of the 21st century.  Not only is this launch likely to thrill educators looking to improve their students’ deductive reasoning skills, but it will also be an essential component of a larger research project within the nonprofit to improve classroom teaching.  On August 3rd, days before the relaunch, the National Science Foundation announced that it has awarded TERC with a three-year, $1.9 million research grant to study how students develop implicit knowledge of computational thinking with Zoombinis gameplay. 

TERC Director of Technology David Libby is confident that the new interface will please old and new fans alike.  "We always knew Zoombinis was something special - both as just a fun game and for its educational value - and over the years fans and parents of children playing the game in old computer labs kept asking when there might be an updated version," Libby told Education World, "With the coming of tablets we wanted to even more, as Zoombinis is perfect for a touch interface. After getting the rights back and with the rebirth in educational gaming, the time was right."

TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities.

Click HERE for more information about TERC!

Click HERE to download and learn more about the Zoombinis! 

We welcome Zoombinis lesson plans or other creative ideas you may have. Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Contributor

Lambert is a certified English Language Arts teacher and teacher trainer in Connecticut.

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Written by Keith Lambert, Education World Contributor. 

Lambert is a certified English Language Arts teacher and teacher trainer in Connecticut.

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