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Posts with tag teaching

Yes, there are real life lessons to be found in World of Warcraft

If you read Lifehacker, you probably read it for information on getting stuff done in the real world -- which is why it's surprising to see an article about World of Warcraft headlining. But the article makes a good point: there are real life lessons you can learn in virtual life. We've written before about how WoW can be a teaching tool in schools (on more than one occasion), but it can help teach you, too. No, you won't learn calculus by slaying virtual dragons and playing WoW instead of washing the dishes won't get your chores done, but paying attention to the game can teach you some useful life lessons.

So just what lessons can you learn? We won't recount the whole post, but definitely appreciate this point: even things you like can be a grind. We may enjoy WoW, but dailies are only fun for so long before they become tedious -- and the same can hold true for real life, too. The things that we love, when turned into do-every-day job-like tedium can be just as un-fun as things we don't even like. But because we like getting paychecks (or gold or valor or reputation), we persevere. For more, read the post on Lifehacker.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

World of ClassCraft inspires kids to work hard in school

nelf with scroll
Would you have done better in high school physics if it had been gameified? In this BBC report, Mr. Young, a physics teacher in Quebec, Canada, explains that doing just that has made a difference in his own classroom. Mr. Young divides his students into groups of eight, and within each group students are offered the role of a warrior, priest, or mage. Each start out with a few base abilities, and can earn more through the accumulation and expenditure of experience points. How do you earn experience points? By turning in assignments on time, behaving yourself in class, and helping others with their homework.

Each character also has hit points, just like in WoW, and you can lose hit points through poor classroom behavior or missing homework deadlines. If your hit points go to zero, you earn yourself a detention or some other sort of penalty. But your teammates can help you out, too. Warriors, with their large hit point pool, can soak damage, and priests can heal it back. Like this, teams are encouraged to work together and help each other learn the material. Mr. Young calls the whole system "World of ClassCraft" in honor of WoW, which it imitates.

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Filed under: News items

WoW as training ground for scientific method

We've heard about WoW in the news due to addiction and spousal trouble. When scientists chat about the game, they tend to be interested in the dynamics of virtual worlds. Constance Steinkuehler from the University of Wisconsin is approaching WoW and science in a different light.

Constance noticed a specific dynamic when she watched Lineage players approach raiding with a familiar method. They'd form a hypothesis about a boss, test it, gather evidence, and then reform their hypothesis based on that evidence. For those of you following along at home, that's basically the "Scientific Method."

Steinkuehler tested for the use of Scientific Method in WoW by going to the official forums, and studying 2,000 threads. According to the results, 86% of the threads were focused on analyzing the ruleset of the game. The implication is that those posts use some scientific method to understand WoW's rules. (I wonder if "Nerf Rogues!" was included as meaningful content.)

The purpose of this study seems to be to reverse our youth's growing scientific illiteracy by using video games to exemplify scientific pursuits. Since science is often about the method of obtaining facts, and not just facts themselves, teachers might be able to use games to help students "L2Science." Sounds solid to me, but I'm still not sold on the forums being a fertile ground of meaningful content.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Forums

Tank Talk: Building and keeping your tanking corps, Part I

Tank Talk is WoW Insider's new raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.

This week on Tank Talk I'd like to step outside the technical aspects of being a tank and focus more on the psychosocial side of things. In particular I want to look at what happens when a tank is introduced into a tanking corps of a new guild, how to keep current tanks around, and how to deal with all those old tanks that have been in the guild forever.

For lack of a better phrase, I'll call the time from when a tank joining the guild until their eventual status as "god of all things tank" the life span of a tank. And perhaps the most important part of a tanks life is the new part, and it's something that I've been on both sides of the coin – the one doing the inviting, and the one being invited. Each is equally exciting. When joining a new guild I had not only the opportunity to see new content and progress to new heights, but also an opportunity to improve my skill and focus my ability to tank a mean game. And when I became class lead and eventually the guild's leader, I gained an opportunity to help new tanks become acquainted with our style of game play and watch them succeed and excel within the guild.

I like to look at there being mainly fives stages of a tank's life within a guild: Recruitment, Applicant, Raider, Senior Tank, and Mentor. Let's take a look at each of these and see how people in various stages can help usher a new tank into a guild's tanking corpse while keeping the old tanks around and happy. Since this is a long subject, today I'll cover the recruitment and applicant stages in a tank's life, with the raider, senior tank, and mentor stages coming in the second installment tomorrow.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Guilds, Tank Talk

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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