Monday, November 08, 2010
Massive Gaming; Virtual Reality; Simulations. These are all Alternate Reality Learning. What do these all mean?!
Games are learning environments in that virtual worlds requires us to think about knowing (Douglas et. al 2009). The idea of the game as an institution can help us understand how it functions n a broader social context by providing structure and meaning to the game world and set the parameters for what is possible in the space (Douglas et. al 2009). I consider myself a gamer. I played Nintentdo, Super Nintendo, Sega, and Gameboy all when I was growing up. As I got to be around 13 or so, I kind of stop gaming. I didn't think it was cool anymore and in fact, starting high school, I did not have much time for anything outside of school, sports, band, and volunteering. When I entered IU, I noticed gaming was back on the market. It was very popular among college boys. One game in particular appealed me, Grand Theft Auto which was on PlayStation. It was completely out of my element however it intrigued me. Here I was playing a gaming system that I only saw Freshmen and Sophomore boys play. I literally was a convict who went around stealing cars and changing them so no one would figure me out. I would earn points by beating-up prostitutes and street walkers and steeling whatever cash or jewelry they had when they were laying helplessly in a pool of blood on the sidewalk or even in the street. This was gaming at a different level.
Per Douglas et. al (2009), virtual worlds are persistent, avatar-based social spaces that provide players or participants with the ability to engage in long-term joint coordinated action. The cultures and meanings in these world come from a complex set of interactions among the participants (Douglas et. al 2009). Dr. Toh discussed the Information Technology Service Center in her country of Thailand. They are the leader of e-Learning in Thailand. She is a visiting scholar to IU who is absorbing what she is learning this semester and plans on taking it back to incorporate into her business. In the YouTube: The Current Status of Thailand ICT in Education she herself is communicating with an Avatar to explain the current status of e-learning education in Thailand. Her company does it primarily through gaming, virtual reality, and simulations. Though they work hand-in-hand for her work, they are very different. The learning done by her students are through these alternate reality while incorporating conceptual blending which ties into the idea of the networked imagination (Douglas et. al 2009).
Now the World of Warcraft has taken over. Per Nardi et. al (2007), World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online video games. The play is complex, the player develops a strategy, one discovers the game facts, and one is able to choose their character and its development. One of the most important feature of the game is quest. You name the person, have a goal, get to the goal, and earn a reward (Nardi et. al 2007). Since there is no planed curriculum, (it is spontaneous, erratic, serendipitous, and contextual), learning in conversation is event driven (Nardi et. al 2007). You as a player, a learner, a gamer learns and invents the moral order of the game by coming to understandings about the right way to play (Nardi et. al 2007). Since this is an alternate reality, the overall goal is to examine conversational activity in the zone of proximal development to investigate the nature of learning in World of Warcraft (Nardi et. al 2007).
Gaming is more than just gaming. It is a learning tool that has helped to intrigued those learning a different language or subject through another e-learning tool.
1. Bonnie A. Nardi, Stella Ly, & Justin Harris (2007). Learning conversations in World of Warcraft. forthcoming in Proc. HICSS 2007. Retrieved on June 25, 2010, from http://darrouzet-nardi.net/bonnie/pdf/Nardi-HICSS.pdf
2. Douglas, Thomas and John Seely Brown (2009, January). Why Virtual Worlds Matter. International Journal of Media and Learning, Vol. 1(1).http://www.johnseelybrown.com/needvirtualworlds.pdf