FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CyberSites Inc. Links the Past to the Present
Through the Web
With The Launch of AncientSites and The Virtual Classroom Program,
Ancient History Fans, Students, and Teachers Now Have a Destination
for Their Interests on The Web
New York, NY (August 26, 1997) -- CyberSites Inc., a leading developer of online graphical communities, today announced the launch of its AncientSites Web site (www.ancientsites.com). In addition to being the pre-eminent site for fans of ancient history on the Internet, the site is being launched in conjunction with CyberSites' Virtual Classroom Program - aimed at creating a world-wide learning community focused on history. Participating teachers in 100 schools nationwide will be incorporating AncientSites into their ancient history, Latin, and social studies curriculums this fall. AncientSites was developed by two prominent Columbia University professors, Eden Muir and Rory O'Neill.
"Schools are wired but there's no place to go. There are very few education-oriented sites for teachers to turn to for compelling and entertaining material that teaches kids," said Eden Muir, CEO of CyberSites, "We feel AncientSites.com helps fill that void."
"The challenge is to make something so far removed from students' realm of experience into something immediate and fun. The Virtual Classroom Program and the AncientSites Web site will help me teach students in a safe, graphically compelling environment," said Caroline Miklosovic, a Latin teacher of 5th-12th graders at Davidson Fine Arts in Georgia.
Already home to over 2,500 "citizens" (registered users), AncientSites is a historically accurate and graphically compelling community-based Web site featuring detailed 3D representations of ancient cities such as Athens and Rome. Visitors become a part of ancient worlds by registering as citizens, adopting ancient names and occupations, choosing a virtual neighborhood in which to live, and choosing an appearance from a variety of graphical representations known as avatars.
As they explore, users play 3D graphical adventure games set in an historically accurate context, discuss history in chat rooms and via instant messaging, compete in trivia games based on historical facts, and develop and post individual history-related Web sites. Citizens also earn recognition for their contributions by winning prizes or by being featured on the "Distinguished Citizen's Page". AncientSites will include direct links to CyberSites' S.P.Q.R., the award-winning edutainment game that has been played by 300,000 people worldwide.
"AncientSites and the Virtual Classroom Program are helping us take a very important step towards fulfilling the educational promise of the Web. Our experienced team of architects, educators, software developers, researchers, and design experts collaborated on the creation and development of each environment, providing an unparalleled degree of historical accuracy and detail," said Rory O'Neill, President of CyberSites. "For anyone interested in learning about, teaching or experiencing ancient history, AncientSites provides an entertaining environment that faciliates structured learning and exploration."
Through CyberSites Virtual Classroom Program, teachers tailor the site to their curriculum and focus on a range of topics relating to ancient history. They edit their own bulletin boards, hold chat sessions, post and edit articles, discussions and papers at the site, administer online quizzes and create a running record of class discussion through the Web site. After students register on the site, teachers monitor conversation and control classroom activity, making it a safe, controlled environment.
CyberSites develops compelling online games and "virtual community" Web sites using 3D and state-of-the-art Internet communications technologies such as chat and instant messaging. CyberSites is the creator of AncientSites.com and S.P.Q.R., the award winning classic Web and CD-ROM adventure game. CyberSites' innovative sites have been recognized for excellence by a number of sources including The Family Channel, AOL, MSN, Excite, Magellan, and PC Magazine among others. Based in Manhattan's Silicon Alley, CyberSites was founded in 1994 by Columbia University professors Eden Muir and Rory O'Neill, and Laurent Ohana, managing director of New Media Capital, a New York City investment firm.
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