World of Warcraft (commonly known as WoW) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game with over 9 million people playing. Luckily I ended up in this session run by Leslie Fisher, and was thrilled to be introduced to the game and how it is played.
What’s World of Warcraft about? Believe it or not, it can be about
“working with enemies” to create positive learning! This immersive environment seems most impressive. The interactive nature of WOW capitalizes on the positive and negative features of each of the characters. Each character adds to the group blend, and ways of working together to manage the competitive environment. As each character has particular features which allows them to only undertake certain activities the whole notion of blend, collaboration, and effective participation comes into ‘play’. You do what you can do with your character – the aim being to do it well.
I think the ‘in game’ environment of WoW is beautiful – recreating the actual way that natural environments work within the mulitmedia environment. It is clear that the game is immersed in action, and the action is all goal-based. The point of it all is the capacity for students to learn key skills through gaming:- planning; conversation and coordination. To participate in a Quest well is to involve yourself in forming partnerships. Frankly, this is the most exciting form of collaboration I have seen! This is cool! This is perfect for all students, but particularly for the boys in my school. Keep playing (and learning) till you reach your objective! This is certainly the dream goal of all education!
Students are doing a lot of research, and engaging in collaboration and analysis in depth to achieve success. Those who research well will be ‘friended’ by keen learners. Also languages skills are supported, and team building is supported at all levels. Good typing and good sentence structure is vital to improve the competitive ability of each character. Good research, good typing, good language and good social interaction are what is needed to do well in this game. Players need to be able to communicate effectively and socially to accomplish tasks.
Gaming in WOW can help with can help with
• Mapping, direction, etc.
• acting, role-playing
• handicapped students
• global interaction.
Just like the real world, characters specialize in a profession, and can then make items that will benefit others. Those with unique items and accomplishments usually garner more attention.
A question from a teacher in a Quaker school about ‘killing’ raised the issue of where students can go for a similar experience without the violence. Though I haven’t played it, I think Quest Atlantis would fill the bill.
Clearly this game is addictive, but it is fun, challenging and great for learning skills. Kids just don’t realise they are learning because they are having fun!!
Getting into WOW? Look for Lesley at Server: Alleria Guild: Emerald dream Characers: lesliegolf, Fairway and Bogey.
So what do I think of all this? WOW. But the reality is that lots of schools aren’t going to get into this because of the monthly cost per person, and because of the kill kill kill that would not work at all in some schools.