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Posts with tag education

15 Minutes of Fame: TEDx speaker on overcoming anorexia with WoW

Continuing our look at young people successfully folding World of Warcraft into their successfully unfolding lives, this week we interview another student for whom WoW has made a big impression. "I saw your Breakfast Topic post How has WoW made your life better?, and well, a few weeks back I had the opportunity to give a TEDx talk about how playing World of Warcraft helped my fight anorexia and a crappy education system," wrote Erik Martin, aka Klaes of Emerald Dream (US).

Talk about All The Things ... Also a game designer who has even worked on projects for the federal government, Erik has rallied from anorexia to go on to advocate for student agency and motivation in education. With a confidence bolstered in Azeroth, he's assembling his own experiences and aspirations into a big-picture view large enough not only to fill his own sails but to help others push off from safe harbor.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoWinSchool project nabs Gamification Summit 2013 award

WoWinSchool project nabs Gamification Summit award
Everything they learned, they learned from World of Warcraft -- or in this case, everything they taught. Congratulations are in order for WoW players and educators Lucas Gillispie and Peggy Sheehy, whose WoWinSchool program has earned a GAward for Best Use of Engagement Techniques in Education at the Gamification Summit 2013 taking place now in San Francisco. The award recognizes the effective use engagement techniques such as loyalty, gamification, and behavioral science in programs, apps, projects, campaigns, and companies.

"WoW in School: The Hero's Journey" is a full-year language arts course for middle school students. While the program was initially targeted for "at-risk" youths, Gillispie and Sheehy quickly saw that the approach was a hit with learners of all abilities and backgrounds.

Don't we wish our own teachers had been so open-minded and current? See how Gillispie and Sheehy win the hearts and minds of their young students in our in-depth interviews with the dynamic educators, Learn to game to game to learn and WoW goes to English class.

Filed under: News items

Real-life librarians hit the Ironforge stacks

Library professionals converge in Ironforge library to talk gaming
For so many World of Warcraft players, the game is all about connections. It was connections (a glowing recommendation from gaming industry insider, WoW player, and previous interviewee Liz Danforth) that led us to contact Australian librarian Ellen Forsyth for an interview (not coincidentally connecting even more dots, WoW-playing educators and innovators Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillispie, in the process). And it's connections that Forsyth draws for a living in her work as a professional librarian who both studies and advocates for gaming in the public libraries -- that's right, gaming for the people!

"Libraries, games, reading, content creation, stories and a few other things as well" -- that's how Forsyth's Twitter profile characterizes her interests, a fairly delectable concoction for the typical WoW Insider reader. We played the WoW card to tempt Forsyth into chatting with us about the regular academic symposia she moderates in Azeroth (the Ironforge library, to be exact), the growing influence of games as a public library resource, and the sweeping imaginative and technological vistas opening up as more and more readers discover the parallel worlds of gaming -- and of course, World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Full-body WoW with motion-sensing software

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

The boss is enraging at 7% health and you're locked on target, hunched over your keyboard in a white-knuckled frenzy to squeeze every last drop of DPS from your avatar. Finally, the beast succumbs to your assault, and you sit back, exquisitely aware of the tension crumpling your neck and shoulders and radiating into your fingertips. As you pull in a deep, shuddering breath of relief, you wonder if perhaps it might be more natural to simply stand in front of your screen and show the computer, using gestures similar to those of your character, what to do.

Now, you can.

Dr. Skip Rizzo, associate director at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies, is head of a research project that's applying the same kind of technology used in the Xbox Kinect to the World of Warcraft. The aim of the project, however, is not so much to turn games like WoW into virtual tarantellas of movement and gesture but to make games more accessible to disabled players and to open new avenues for rehabilitation, therapy and even education. The project's Flexible Action and Articulated Skeleton Toolkit (FAAST) middleware integrates full-body control with games and virtual reality applications, using tools like PrimeSensor and the Kinect on the OpenNI framework.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW goes to English class

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Remember when we interviewed the two teachers who were injecting motivation, teamwork, and pride into at-risk students via an after-school World of Warcraft program? Educators Lucas Gillispie and Peggy Sheehy are still at it -- and this time, they've scooted the gaming back squarely into school hours with an elective language arts enrichment class for 15 middle school students.

"Our kids are embarking on a Hero's Journey as they compare their own experiences in World of Warcraft to those of Bilbo Baggins in Tolkien's The Hobbit," explains Gillispie. "They're engaging in creative projects as well, such as live tweeting the events leading to Cataclysm from NPC's points-of-view (see #wowinschool hashtag). They're creating digital propaganda posters related to in-world events, writing riddles to share with players on their server, and learning leadership through their student guild."

Sounds great in theory -- but we wondered what the kids themselves thought about the program. So we asked three of them, all new to the World of Warcraft, what they think about the game itself, what they feel they're getting out of the class, and whether or not the experience has given them any new perspectives on gaming.

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Filed under: Druid, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW, Casually: Playing WoW with your teen

Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Last year, I talked about playing with preschoolers and reading-age children. Several months later, I'd like to continue the series by tackling the topic of teens. I'm now tempted to talk in tantalizing alliteration, but I really can't keep it up. Anyway...

Teens provide a completely different challenge than the young children we've discussed before. Teens are already extremely competent readers, experience Trade Chat-like talk in school on a regular basis and have the coordination skills required to fully play the game. So they don't need the coddling and constant supervision, but that doesn't mean that the benefits of parents playing with teens aren't just as valuable.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW, Casually

15 Minutes of Fame: Learn to game, to game to learn


15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Fun is a great motivator for learning – but you knew that, didn't you, World of Warcraft player? Think of all the math you've used poring over DPS charts and gear stats, all the reading you've done deciphering terse quest instructions ... the research you've put in to decode what you need to know and then where to find it ... the tactical analyses you've ground out figuring out how to get that last boss to fall ...

Peggy Sheehy and Lucas Gillispie came to our attention in the comments of a previous 15 Minutes of Fame about a player who teaches a college course inside the World of Warcraft. "My middle school will be starting with an after-school club (always the gateway)," wrote Peggy, "but others joining us will be implementing it with the 'at-risk' student population, the 'gifted' student group, as well as mainstream classes for specific content-area projects." This is no upstart project; Peggy established the first middle school on the Teen Grid in Second Life three years ago, while Lucas has established an online wiki where educators all over the world can collaborate on a standard-aligned curriculum for using WoW in the schools.

As Darkmaster Gandling would say, "School is in session!" 15 Minutes of Fame pulled up a chair to chat with Peggy and Lucas on using WoW as a platform for teaching.

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Filed under: Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

World of Warcraft college course has to be next

Out on the internet today the story that UC Berkeley is offering a course in StarCraft is spreading like wildfire. Joystiq covered the news today, and you can also find an extensive Digg on the subject. The course description partially reads: "What may look like complex topics are just ways we want you to think more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing."

So... who wants to take bets on how long until there is a World of Warcraft course?

If they're offering a StarCraft course aimed at "thinking more deeply about the game to derive a greater satisfaction from playing," imagine what a World of Warcraft course could do for that. Taking down raid bosses with 24 other people is quite satisfying, especially if it's the first kill. The communication and leadership skills necessary to successfully run raids are akin to running a small business, and the mathematics and statistics behind the true upper echelons of play require a solid understanding of calculus.

That would be a course I'd be interested in. Not that I wouldn't sign up for a StarCraft course in a heartbeat, mind you.

Filed under: News items

World of Warcraft as a teaching tool

Most of us were kids at one point. A portion of us probably played computer or video games even as kids. Thus, I'm sure that at least a good handful of us, when told by our parents to turn off the computer and go do homework, eat dinner, or get some fresh air, tried to counter with something like this: "But Mom, games are educational! They give you hand-eye coordination and map reading skills!"

Now, all these years later, it seems we may finally be getting some backup from teachers and educators. Livescience.com recently highlighted some educators who are using World of Warcraft or lauding it for its educational values.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, News items

Librarians who play World of Warcraft

Apparently the great WoW Ladies LJ community is full of librarians (who knew?), and they've pointed to this interesting article about a panel that includes a short presentation about World of Warcraft, and how libraries can benefit from providing resources about the game. Their numbers are a little off, in terms of players and how much they pay per month, but their reasoning is right on-- there are lots of reading resources online about the game (*ahem*, that's us!), and sites like WoWWiki and even GameFAQs (fine, laugh if you want) can be perfect for getting people who don't usually do much writing to try putting their thoughts into words on a page.

I'm usually iffy on using games for education, because usually the people trying to do it don't have the first clue about what games really are. But something like this-- asking a beginning writer to use their game knowledge to make a guide or analyze gameplay-- seems much more well-founded and beneficial. And if all these librarians are part of the nine million people who play WoW, then this definitely seems like a great idea-- use common ground to help teach reading and learning skills.

Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean WoW Insider should be bookmarked on every library computer (although, now that it's been mentioned...). But it's cool to see librarians using their knowledge of Azeroth to help teach real-world skills.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends

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