We will analyze the use of games, specifically World of Warcraft, as a tool for education. Can we and should we use it. If yes, why? If not, why not?
Yes, games can be used as a tool for education. Games are basically a scaffolded, constructivist, active, and experiential learning environment. However, games are not always appropriate for every subject or every topic. It is very important to choose the right game that fits your learning objectives best. It is also a tool you do not want to overuse either. It is a constant balancing act by asking yourself if this particular topic is going to be more effective using a game or by some other means. Teachers should also understand games take a lot of time to plan in order for it to be an effective learning tool. The lesson has to have a very specific focus with lots of guidance. When I say guidance, I mean students need to be monitored and reminded why they are in the game in the first place.
I was reading an article (World of Warcraft Finds Its Way Into Class http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/03/world-of-warcraft-finds-its-way-into-class/), and I really liked how they discussed how games constantly test students because they have to master something before they can move on. As I stated earlier integrating games takes a lot of time, and it is event in this article. The teacher has to design quests with particular leaning objectives in mind. I also enjoyed reading this article because what Sheehy says is true about games. Students are passionate about the game so they are passionate in their writing. In addition to putting more effort into their schoolwork, students are also building up their collaborative skills.
While I was reading World of Warcraft Finds Its Way Into Class, I kept following link after link and found lots of great ideas on how to integrate a game into the classroom. Here are the links:
Reflections on Play, Pedagogy, and World of Warcraft http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/reflections-play-pedagogy-and-world-warcraft
World of Warcraft in School
In Reflections on Play, Pedagogy, and World of Warcraft, they studied culture, gender, identity, and citizenship, language, and culture. They had different activities based on the learning outcomes they wanted. I went on to read it in depth, and I am thoroughly amazed at how “easily” it was integrated into the curriculum. I always saw video games and curriculum as two separate entities despite my efforts to think of ways to fuse them together. However, these articles opened up my eyes to how easy it is to fuse games and education together. I think I had difficulty seeing it before because I was so use to just playing games for fun, but after stepping back, I realize that education is built into these games. We just have to know what we are looking for and utilize it in the best way possible.