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World of Warcraft in the World of Education

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Let’s face it America. Our children are no longer the top academic performers in the world. Teachers are desperately searching for new ways to keep students motivated to learn, occasionally resorting to unconventional strategies. Some teachers feel online, multiplayer games in education may be an effective, fresh way to teach important academic topics.

It’s probably safe to assume many have heard, and even played, one of America’s most popular online games, World of Warcraft. Would you believe a handful of teachers are generating lesson plan ideas with WoW as the center and even using them in their classrooms? Lucas, a high school teacher, is an avid WoW gamer outside of his education world, but began to make connections to his classroom soon after he began playing. This hands-on, unique approach would make this an effective way to teach students with special needs.

Lucas found a few specific ways to promote learning by playing WoW. One example, which I think is especially clever, is to create a quest including steps, requirements, and dialouge. Teachers could make an entire lesson plan, which meets state writing standards, with this idea. Lucas took his WoW project to another level by putting his ideas in Wiki format, allowing other teachers to contribute their own ideas.

Many other, less popular, multiplayer games exist and can easily be used in the classroom. Edudemic gives an overview and demos of 6 different multiplayer games, which can be used for educational purposes: Skyrim, Civilization V, Fallout 3, Portal 2, Armadillo Run, and Heavy Rain. Academic topics applicable to these games are problem solving, resource management, collaboration, visualization, and project management.

While using these games in the classroom can be controversial, much because of violent content, some teachers are finding them to be useful. They can be creative with numerous online, multiplayer games by implementing them in the best way for their students. Many would agree that most students would be engaged in this new way of learning. However, could this be the push America’s children need to begin moving towards the top?

image via Huasonic

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