Friday, March 18, 2011

Week 11--Is it really there?

Learning Conversations in the World of Warcraft, Bonnie Nardi, 2007
This article uses an extremely popular online game to analyze how people learn to use these complex areas to discover how to move in the game world.  They go through three different kinds of learning, such as fact-finding, devising tactics, and acquisition.  They teach these strategies using Zone of Proximal Development.  Using each other in fact-finding missions helps teach others around you what the best and fastest way to move forward in the game is, such as how to sell items, how to fight, and who to pair with. Others are also eager to help their teammates because of the type of game—the stronger you team, the more your character is worth.  This falls into the devising tactics and acquisition categories. 
This article is used to show that teachers can show things such as team work and battle history in a game such as WoW.  They can use these types of games to move their students into thinking outside the box to learn to battle for their best interest and find information that will be best used in your situation—like researching a paper. 
Why Virtual Worlds Matter, Doug Thomas
Creating a 3-D space in which to create a culture all your own is an enticing idea to many teachers because it allows them to build what they want their students to see without ever leaving their actual classroom or computer lab.  It is a space that allows students to more freely express themselves without having to worry about what their peers particularly think, or maybe even join a world that is outside their own zone of comfort and realm of experience.
“To that end, we believe that these games are, at base, learning environments” (Thomas 2009).
“The visual component of virtual worlds has re-defined the landscape of online interaction away from text and toward a more complex visual medium which provides a sense of place, space, and physiological embodiment” (Thomas, 2009).
In both of these articles, the authors are trying to convince the reader that a good way to teach students is to place them into a virtual world that is less intimidating than real life.  While I have yet to experience any of these virtual worlds, it has been intriguing to read about.  It even inspired me to set up my own Second Life account to explore around and see what all the virtual life is about.  It is hard for me to explore without other knowledge, so combing the learning criteria in the first article with the experiences in the second would be the perfect scenario for me. 

1 comment:

  1. Like you, I have never experienced virtual worlds or simulations in learning before. However, while I was reading articles and tidbits, I also felt that I would like to create my Second Life account and experience the virtual world. ☺ I appreciate the fact that virtual worlds have no limitation of space, resources, or identities allowing students to experience whatever they want to in a safe place. Students can have very unique learning experiences that they cannot easily have in a every day life.