Hail Travelers…May Elune grant you time to rest and renew whilst you learn about our Hero’s Journey!
Although education has finally noticed gaming and virtual worlds, this attention has been divided into two very different perspectives. Some see engagement, concentration and collaboration, while others see isolation, social dysfunction and addiction. And most recently, the “Gamification Bandwagon” has come to town–layering another level of hype and confusion onto the topic that only serves to provide some corporate interests with an easy sell–while marginalizing the powerful impact these tools have in the hands of skilled educators.
The recent explosion of ubiquitous, mobile technology has afforded possibilities for us to harness this powerful pedagogy and allow for authentic agency in learning! Education can’t afford to stand still but must continue to evolve and adapt to the needs of its learners. Yet, often it is the educators who have difficulty seeing the relevance of games to their curriculum and the ideas and attitudes one associates with “play” are clearly disconnected from those we associate with “learning”. What games can help us to create is a rich, dynamic and challenging learning environment, tapping into a resource that has cultural resonance for our students.
What Lucas, Craig and I set out to do was to ease the way for teachers by creating a curriculum that would stand up in any “court of common core law” that embraced the magnificent design elements of World of Warcraft (WoW). We started with WoW because we had played it to an extent that we were intimately familiar with every quest-line, challenge, boss fight, profession, achievement and–well, let’s just say we knew the game well and were able to identify the learning opportunities available within. Once we offered the program to students and witnessed the remarkable results, we wanted to get it out there–and into as many classrooms as possible. We knew though, that unless there was a “gamer teacher” involved, WoWinSchool was probably not a viable option for many schools. So Lucas and Craig started with an 8th grade ELA curriculum, complete with rubrics, teacher’s guide, etc. and we started speaking all over the world to share the wealth we had unearthed. This past year I created a 6th-grade humanities curriculum and as you explore the side-bar of the wiki you will discover that others have contributed math lessons, science lessons, a course in economics and the list continues to grow. These teachers have taken the curriculum and tailored it to their specific goals and other massively multi-player games have been added to the list of options such as LOTRO and Guild Wars 2.
So Traveler, are you ready to give it a try? The best place to begin? Start at the WoWinSchool Wiki Once you have spent some time with the wiki then return here with any questions or suggestions (we strive to remain teachable). Please don’t hesitate to jump into a discussion or simply lurk if stealth is more your style… There is a free trial version of WoW, and while it is extremely limited, it is sufficient enough for a player to grasp the magnitude of the game. Go ahead…visit the wiki—watch the movies—-read of the accolades and awards we’ve received and then PLAY THE GAME! You know you want to—just play. You have my permission. Trust me, I’m a professional.