Suffern Middle School in Virtual Worlds

A running account of the process of the proposal, acquisition, development and integration of a virtual presence for education at Suffern Middle School, Suffern, New York, USA.

Suffern Middle School in Virtual Worlds

Where Have I Been ?

Suffern Middle School in Virtual Worlds

Where have I been?

This is the transcript from my keynote presentation at Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference March 2011.  I feel it will fill in the glaring gap present in this blog since last year when Linden Lab announced the closing of Teen Grid. The choice we had was to continue with a company that spoke to supporting education but acted quite opposite, or setting off on a journey of discovery for a New World…

We packed our pixels and left.

As the Worldz Turn – Presentation Transcript

  1. Good  Day  –  Good  Evening  –  thank  you  for  this  opportunity  to  share  with  you  –  My  name  in  the  physical  world  .is  Peggy  Sheehy  and  days  are  spent  serving  students  and  teachers  in  a  public  middle  school  in  New  York.    I  have  been  on  this  incredible  journey  of  learning  in  virtual  worlds  since  2005,  when  I  established  the  first  Middle  School  presence  on  the    Teen  SL  Grid  –Ramapo  Islands.      Over  the  past  6  years  I  have  journeyed  with  over  4000  students    –  and  I  have  been  humbled  by  the  Ome  and  energy  invested  by  the  surrounding  educaOonal  community  –  so  it  is  a  great  honor  to  be  here  –  to  continue  the  conversation  …I’d  also  like  to  remind  you  that  this  presentation  is  available  at: http://www.slideshare.net/PeggySheehy/as-the-worldz-turn
  2. Last  summer  many  people  thought  that  the  sky  was  falling  –  Just  as  k-­‐12  educators  were  staring  to  get  some  semblance  of  acceptance  for  our  use  of  virtual  worlds,  -­‐  the  most  prominent  of  which  was  the  Teen  Grid  of  Second  Life,  Linden  Lab  pulled  the  rug  out  –  threw  us  what  appeared  at  first  to  be  a  lifeline  –  and  then  snipped  it  and  un-­‐tethered  us  to  float  in  a  frothing  sea  of  ambiguity  and  passive  aggressive  mixed  messages-­‐-­‐-­‐  Many  educators  were  forced  to  re-­‐examine  our  commitment  to  using  Second  life  –  or  even  to  the  plausibility  of  using  VWs  in  our  schools—  But  we  are  teachers  –  and  those  of  us  who  had  witnessed  first-­‐hand  –  the  power  of  using  virtual  worlds  for  learning  were  not  about  to  go  backwards!      Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   2
  3. So  as  the  sky  came  crashing  down,  and  the  naysayers  got  to  nod  their  “I  told  you  so’s”    We  had  a  choice  to  make  –  Did  we  go  down  with  the  sinking  ship  –  clinging  Oghtly  to  promises  or  could  we  look  at  this  as  a  HUGE  OPPORTUNITY    Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   3
  4. Rather  than  abandoning  our  Virtual  campuses  altogether  or  facing  a  doubling  of  invoices,  if  there  was  to  be  an  exodus  there  had  to  be  somewhere  for  us  to  move  to.  Just  where  was  the  Virtual  Promised  Land  for  Educators?  My  goal  for  us  today  –  is  not  to  promote  one  soluOon  over  another  –  or  to  tell  you  how  to  best  move  forward  with  these  decisions-­‐  but  rather  to  inspire  you  to  seize  the  opportunity  at  hand  –  to  perhaps  inform  you  of  some  of  the  many  many  options  available  to  us  –  and  to  remind  you  of  the  great  importance  of  the  work  that  we  do  transforming  education  in  authentic  new  spaces  -­‐-­‐-­‐-­‐ CHAPTER  AND  METAVERSE:  h]p://rock-­‐vacirca.blogspot.com/  Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   4
  5. So  far  it  appears  that  many  of  us  have  landed  –  perhaps  rather  precariously  –  but  landed  none  the  less  in  OPENSIM  For  those  of  you  who  are  new  to  all  of  this  (  and  I  count  myself  among  this  group-­‐  so  anyone  who  has  more  up-­‐to  date  informaBon  –  start  putting  it  in  the  chat  PLEASE)    –but  a  really  simple  explanaBon  is-­‐-­‐OpenSimulator,  often  referred  to  as  OpenSim,  is  an  open  source  server  platform  for  hosting  virtual  worlds.  While  it  is  most  recognized  for  compaBbility  with  the  Second  Life  client,  it  is  also  capable  of  hosting  alternative  worlds  with  differing  feature  sets  with  multiple  protocols.  (hOp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenSimulator) Any  of  the  worlds  built  using  Opensim,which  some  even  refer  to  as  “the  Second  Life  open-­‐source  clone”,  will  give  you  the  same  look  and  feel  as  your  current  regions,  and  in  most  cases  even  allow  you  to  use  the  same  viewer.    OpenSim  allows  a  virtual  world  plahorm  that  schools  can  run  for  free  on  their  own  servers  or  can  get  hosted  inexpensively  and  quickly-­‐by  a  growing  number  of  providers.    -­‐the  space  can  be  up  and  running  within  a  day-­‐-­‐  -­‐-­‐which  is  a  large  part  of  the  reason  for  OpenSim’s  appeal.   Open  sim  gives  us  choices-­‐  and  allows  us  to  have  as  much  or  as  little  control  over  our  virtual  campuses  as  we  desire.      More  info:  h]p://opensimulator.org/wiki/Main_Page  1.  Next  Stop:  OpenSim!  THE  Journal.  By  Maria  Korolov  01/11/11  h]p://thejournal.com/arOcles/2011/01/11/next-­‐stop-­‐open-­‐sim.aspx  2.CHAPTER  and  METAVERSE    h]p://rock-­‐vacirca.blogspot.com/  Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   5
  6. As  you  can  imagine  –once  the  Teen  Grid  closing  announcement  was  made  virtual  world  developers  knew  that  this  was  indeed  the  prime  opportunity  to  make  their  case  –  and  during the Second Life Community Convention ( SLCC)  last  year  I  was  approached  by  many  companies–  each  of  them  claiming  that  they  had  it  all  figured  out–  they  knew  what  we  as  educators  needed  and  they  were  ready  to  have  us  sign  on  the  dotted  line…So  with  each  one  of  them,  I  started  with  one  very  direct  question:  1.  Do  you  have  a  teacher  on  staff??  Or  are  you  consuling  with  teachers?     The  vacant  stares  that  met  that  question  were  pretty  much  all  I  had  to  see  ….  3.  Image:  h]p://www.supermantv.net/posters/movies/gone_with_the_wind.htm   6
  7. But  I  was  baffled  by  the  fact  that  these  companies  seemed  to  think  they  had  it  all  figured  out…  And  I  wondered  -­‐-­‐-­‐  if  WE,  the  educators,    were  still  figuring  it  out  -­‐-­‐-­‐  and  WE  were  the  ones  working  with  the  students  and  tackling  the  learning  applications  of  this  brave  new  frontier  -­‐-­‐-­‐  how  did  these  companies  have  it  “all  figured  out”  when  there  wasn’t  even  a  teacher  in  the  equation  ????  Why  is  this  so  important  to  me  –  and  I  believe  it  should  be  to  you??  BECAUSE  The  last  thing  we  want  to  see  happen  –  is  for    “corporate”  entities  to  mold  the  direction  of  our  EDUCATIONAL  spaces    (yet  again)    The  last  thing  we  need  is  to  have  those  who  are  not  even  in  schools  or  working  with  kids  –  start  to  make  decisions  for  us  .. Finally  I  sat  down  with  a  group  of  young  people  who  started  the  conversaOon  very  differently-­‐-­‐  what  they  said  to  me  was:  “We  are  leaders  in  the  field  of  virtual  worlds  and  everything  that  goes  into  creating  them  =  supporting  them  –  we  are  on  the  cutting  edge  of  emerging  new  applications  –  we  are  seasoned  –  experienced  and  about  as  expert  as  you  can  get  –‐-­‐  But  we  NEED  YOUR  HELP  to  figure  out  what  educators  REALLY  NEED-­‐  we  want  to  get  it  right!  These  guys  had  my  attention  –  They  are  PLEIADES  –    Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   7
  8. Founded  in  1999,  The  Team  at  Pleiades  is  dedicated  to  the  use  of  virtual  worlds  and  serious  games  as    learning  plahorms,  and  they  are  working  with  educators  to  ensure  that  these  plahorms  meet  their  needs  and  address  the  unique  challenges  inherent  to  teaching.  Pleiades  is  working  towards  a  world  in  which  learning  is  affordable,  accessible,  personalized,  and  recognized  across  institutionl  lines.    When  I  asked  the  team  for  a  statement  I  could  use  tonight  –  All  of  my  faith  in  their  vision  was  validated  by  their  response  and  I  am  going  to  ask  your  indulgence  in  allowing  me  to  read  it  –  as  I  read  PLEASE  think  about  where  we  are  –
“We  are  approaching  a  turning  point  in  our  mission  to  restore  game-­‐making,  the  spirit  of  a  curious,  boundless  imagination,  to  the  formal  education  of  students.    The  connected,  digital  world,  to  those  born  into  it,  is  not  an  extension  of  the  telephone,  or  of  the  photo  album,  or  of  the  video  game.  It  is  an  extension  of  the  self.      It  is  the  chosen  and  natural  medium  for  expression,  identity,  and  exploration.      To  a  contemporary  students  growth,  online  communities,  resources,  and  games  are  not  irrelevant.    A  school,  however,  that  proscribes  or  clumsily  ignores  them,  is.    As  educators—and  we  count  ourselves  among  you—the  onus  is  on  us,  first  to  earn  the  attention  of  this  generation  of  students,  and  then  to  help  them  flourish  and  replace  us.  It  is  too  easy  to  forget  that  attention  is  only  skeptically  given.  We  earn  it  by  being  elevating,  by  being  inspiring,  and  above  all  by  being  relevant                  We  intend  to  be  a  technological  enabler,  a  point  of  contact,  an  Earth  on  which  a  new  and  great  ecosystem  of  education  will  lurch,  flower,  re-­‐make  itself,  cross-­‐pollinate  and  blossom  into  every  niche  and  form  imaginable  or  not  yet  imaginable.  With  you,  we  are  going  to  advance  into  this  unimaginable  future  knowing  only  that  it  owns  us  more  than  we  own  it,  and  that,  like  our  students,  we  are  at  our  best  when  we  are  fearlessly  improvising.    Our  first  priority  is  less  to  build  infrastructure  up—we  have  been  doing  this  for  years  already—but  to  tear  barriers  down.  The  user  interface  has  been  a  barrier.  The  price  to  play  has  been  a  barrier.  The  restrictions  against  freedom  of  information,  especially  where  these  have  come  from  a  mis-­‐guided  approach  to  creative  rights,  have  been  a  barrier.  Even  the  idea  of  a  single,  immobile  and  immutable  garden  for  all  people  and  all  purposes,  has  been  a  barrier.  The  world  we  want  you  to  live  in  is  inexpensive,  and  permits  free  passage  between  regions  in  a  loosely-­‐coupled,  but  searchable  and  backed-­‐up  metaverse.  It  is  decentralized,  and  permits  grids  to  connect  to  each  other  no  matter  who  owns  them,  on  terms  the  grid  owners  are  free  to  negotiate  and  agree.  It  is  permissive  and  operates  under  the  assumption  that  all  content  is  educational  in  nature  and  in  use.  We  look  forward  to  seeing  where  you,  and  this  generation  of  students,  can  take  us
  1. The    contact  person  is  Sasha  Rudie  <[email protected]>    Who  is  Moo  Money  in  SL.      You  can  visit  many  of  their  builds  right  here  in  SL  –  I  highly  recommend  VIRTUAL  HARLEM-­‐-­‐  Virtual  Harlem  is  accessible  in  Second  Life,  where  it  is affiliated  with  the  University  of  Central  Missouri  and  the  New  York  Public  Library.  BUT  It  is  also  compatible  with  OpenSim,    SO  my  experience  with  Pleiades  has  been  a  really  positive  one  –  they  listen  to  my  needs-­‐  they  respond  in  a  timely  manner  and  when  they  backed  up  and  transferred  all  of  my  content  from  the  teen  grid  –  and  I  mean  all  of  it  –  from  the  terra-­‐forming  to  the  very  last  stray  go  kart  the  kids  left  out-­‐-­‐-­‐  We  are  gathering  resources  together  and  designing  a  USABLE  default  inventory  for  education  as  well  as  looking  to  the  future  for  a  shared  creative  commons  content  library  …
9. But  I  would  be  remiss  in  my  responsibility  today  if  I  were  not  to  mention  some  of  the  other  awesome  options  available  to  us  –  JokaydiaGrid  is  an  education  and  arts  focused  grid  running  on  Open  Sim  –  Managed  by  the  incredibly  dedicated  Jokay  Wollongong,  -­‐  an  international  community  from  Australia,  New  Zealand  the  US  Canada  Peru    and  other  European  countries  are  members.  Jokaydia  regularly  hosts  events  for  educators  and  you  won’t  find  a  harder  working  avatar  anywhere!  Instructions  for  a  free  account  to  explore  Jokaydiagrid  are  available  at  www.jokaydiagrid.com
10.Reaction  Grid,–  who’s  focus  is  educational,  business  and  entertainment  use  of    3D  environments,  has  entities  such  as  Microsoft  and  IBM  on  their  client  roster  –  as  well  as  many  universities  and  K-­‐12  institutions.      John  Lester,  formally  Pathfinder  Linden  is  now  on  board  as  Director  of  Community  Development  at  Reaction  Grid.
But  in  truth,  -­‐-­‐-­‐there  are  hundreds  of  virtual  worlds  available  just  for  for  kids  under  18…  And  New  ones  are  arriving  every  day  –  and  many  of  them  are  specifically  targeting  the  needs  of  educators  in  their  design
So  we  do  have  many  options  –  and  therein  lies  our  dilemma–  Are  we  going  to  once  again  –  jockey  for  posiOon  with  all  of  these  opOons  –  and  end  up  with  many  disjointed  –disconnected  environments  –  OR  are  we  going  to  have  the  VISION  and  COMPASS  to  realize  that  the  ulOmate  soluOon  must  be  one  that  brings  us  together  –  rather  than  separates  us  into  cloistered  communities  – Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php   14
This  brings  us  to  the  The  Promise  of  Hypergridding  and  I  absolutely  believe  that  this  is  a  huge  part  of  our  soluBon  Hypergridding  is  The  virtual  worlds  equivalent  of  the  World  Wide  Web.  When  a  world  is  on  the  hypergrid,  it  means  that  users  can  teleport  in  and  out  from  other  worlds,  similar  to  following  hyperlinks  to  and  from  different  Websites.  ”Hypergridding  is  One  powerful  edge  OpenSimulator  has  over  Second  Life,  -­‐-­‐which  is  to  say  that  OpenSim  users  can  teleport  from  one  world  to  another.(  It  is  technically  possible  to  hypergrid  from  OpenSim  to  Second  Life  –  but  right  now  LL  HAS  NOT  ENABLED  IT  FOR  BUSINESS  REASONS.)      In  practice,  what  this  means  for  K-­‐12  interests  is  that  students  can  take  field  trips  from  their  home  base  to  any  of  hundreds  of  other  virtual  environments  already  running  on  the  plahorm,  including  scienOfic  simulaOons,  museums,  and,  of  course,  other  schools.  For  example,  students  can  teleport  from  their  schools  grid  to  a]end  a  lecture  or  visit  an  exhibit  on  another  grid,  or  hop  over  to  grids  based  in  Italy  or  France,  for  communicaOon  in  the  naOve  language.  Hypergrid  connecOvity  can  be  turned  on  and  off  at  will,  or  limited  to  just  certain  regions  of  a  schools  virtual  world  to  maintain  privacy  and  security.  For  many  educators,  the  hypergrid  is  the  big  promise  of  the  OpenSim  plahorm-­‐-­‐hundreds,  thousands,  and  eventually  millions  of  virtual  worlds,  all  connected  into  a  virtual  universe..    In  fact,  for  anyone  interested  in  checking  this  out,  John  Lester  (Pathfinder)  hosts  weekly  tours  of  different  Opensim  BUILDS  on  the  Hypergrid,  which  he  has  called  the    “Hypergrid  Adventurers  Club.    ”
http://becunningandfulloftricks.com/hypergrid-­‐adventurers-­‐club/
SO    for  now,  at  the  very  least  please  consider  this  a  prerequisite  to  any  choice  you  make  for  your  virtual  campus–  We  must  begin  to  build  the  METAISSANCE  and  we  must  build  it  internationally…
http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2010/10/a-­‐hypergrid-­‐glossary/  h]p://becunningandfullo{ricks.com/hypergrid-­‐adventurers-­‐club/
THE  METAISSANCE  is  not  a  group  –  it  is  not  a  company  –  it  is  not  a  place-­‐  IT  IS  AN  IDEA-­‐  A  VISION  –  a  MINDSET  if  you  will  –  it’s  an  attitude –  that  demands  we  remember  that  any  virtual  community    must  be  part  of  a  larger  global  community  –  we’re  all  in  this  together  –and  together  we  can  take  learning  into  the  future…
Image:  h]p://www.raineandhorne.co.uk/Pages/FranchiseTechnology.aspx
And  we  must  have  a  larger  conversation  than  in  the  past  -­‐-­‐    again  there  are  scores  of  groups  and  organizaOons  out  there  who  are  trying  to  provide  a  forum  for  sharing  our  work-­‐our  ideas,  our  experiences    but  again  most  of  these  initiatives  are  focused  on  a  specific  interest  group  –  be  it  K-­‐12  or  higher  ed  or  developers  or  researchers—and  we  all  need  to  hear  each  other-­‐  learn  from  each  other  and  gain  perspecOve  from  each  other-­‐-­‐
The  Virtual  World  Education  Roundtable  is  one  group  that  gets  this!    They  meet  each  week  to  talk  about  issues  that  concern  ALL  educators  with  regard  to  using  virtual  worlds  as  a  teaching  and  learning  tool.  The  Roundtable  has  been  meeOng  for  3  years  now,    and  they  highly  emphasize  the  importance  of  the  community.    Whether  it  is  a  special  focus  meeOng  where  a  guest  is  the  featured  speaker  or  just  a  general  discussion-­‐  the  meeOngs  take  place  with  everyone  sisng  around  a  big  roundtable  and  anyone  has  a  chance  to  share.    all  are  welcome  –at  the  VW  EducaOon  Roundtable  there  is  always  a  seat  open.  Your  contact  PERSON  in  SL  AJ  Brooks  OR  OLIVIA  HOTSHOT    More  info    http://www.vwer.org
The  Immersive  EducaBon  Inititiative  is  a  non-­‐profit  international  collaboration  of  universities,  colleges,  research  institutes,  consortia  and  companies  that  are  working  together  to  define  and  develop  open  standards,  best  practices,  platforms,  and  communities  of  support  for  virtual  reality  and  game-­‐based  learning  and  training  systems.  Thousands  of  faculty,  teachers,  researchers,  staff,  administrators  and  students  are  members  of  the  Immersive  Education  Initiative.  IED  HAS  officially  launched  its  K-­‐12  Technology  Working  Group  (K12.TWG)  The  Group  is  chartered  to  define,  evolve  and  maintain  a  range  of  immersive  learning  experiences  (virtual  worlds,  learning  games,  simulators  and  mixed/augmented  learning  experiences),  best  practices,  guides,  tutorials  and  communities  of  support  for  primary  and  secondary  education.  http://mediagrid.org/news/2011-­‐02_K12.html
AND  ONE  OF  MY  main  sources  of  up  to  date  relevant  information  is  REZED  -­‐    the  online  hub  for  practioners  using  virtual  worlds,  offering  access  to  the  highest  quality  resources  and  research  in  the  field  to  establish  a  strong  network  of  those  using  virtual  worlds  for  learning.  Powered  by  Global  Kids  there  are  areas  devoted  to  podcasts,  aha  moments,  discussions,  research    and  news  and  it  truly  is  my  first  stop  for  up  to  date  information
Until  the  past  few  years  –  I  cringed  at  the  inclusion  of  “game  worlds”  in  any  discussion  about  virtual  world  education    and  I  think  it  is  important  for  you  to  know  the  back  story  to  this  path  –  When  we  were  pioneering  Virtual  Worlds  for  education  we  not  only  had  to  counter  the  “x-­‐rated”  hype  then  associated  with  Second  Life  –  but  also  the  negaOve  stereotypes  about  video  games-­‐because  the  uninformed  listener  lumped  the  two  together…  Any  of  us  who  have  spent  time  trying  to  explain  to  people  what  a  virtual  world  is  –  has  usually  had  to  explain  the  difference  between  a  virtual  world  and  a  game–  if  fact  when  I  used  to  docent in  Second  Life at ISTE Headquarters –  it  was  the  people  who  arrived  with  gaming  experience  that  were  the  most  perplexed  –  since  there  was  no  game  engine  guiding  their  experience—they  were  truly  at  a  loss  as  to  how  to  begin  living  their  Second  Life-­‐-­‐-­‐  For  years  I  had  to  make  this  distinction  to  audiences  –  and  the  more  I  did  the  more  I  wondered  what  the  similarities  actually  were-­‐
3  YEARS  AGO  THE  CONVERSATION  led  to  a  group  of  SL  avatars  entering  World  of  Warcraft  together  to  explore  this  other  “game  world”  that  was  so  popular-­‐-­‐-­‐and  to  investigate  the  possible  applications  to  learning—to  curricular  design  and  to  student  engagement
SO our GUILD was formed; Catherine Parsons, (Victoria Gloucester in SL) spearheaded the exodus for us.
Cognitive Dissonance (is on the Sisters of Elune server, Alliance)and it was chartered in December 2007 as a group of educators exploring MMORPGs and theirrelationship to education. It has grown to a guild of colleagues and friends exploring theplatform and experiencing the implications and applications to teaching and learning whilehaving fun! Cognitive Dissonance is also an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding twocontradictory ideas simultaneously. It became our name in honor of the conflict in thoughtbetween traditional learning structures and the ubiquitous use of technology in education. Learning to game together, learning about gaming together, and in general learning from oneanother constitute the general domains of scholarship investigated by the group. We work tointroduce new members to the game through meetings, resources, and events, and supportone another from n00b to raiding at 85 through our guild structure and server-based guildalliances. Remembering the concept of “play” being an integral part of learning, we haveestablished an arena to recall it for ourselves and include it within our teaching. A MMORPGguild has become for us an extension of our personal learning networks. We are educators…who play.
SO our GUILD: Cognitive Dissonance (is on the Sisters of Elune server,Alliance) was chartered in December 2007 as a group of educatorsexploring MMORPGs and their relationship to education. It has grownto a guild of colleagues and friends exploring the platform andexperiencing the implications and applications to teaching and learningwhile having fun! Cognitive Dissonance is also an uncomfortablefeeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously. Itbecame our name in honor of the conflict in thought betweentraditional learning structures and the ubiquitous use of technology ineducation. Learning to game together, learning about gaming together, and ingeneral learning from one another constitute the general domains ofscholarship investigated by the group. We work to introduce newmembers to the game through meetings, resources, and events, andsupport one another from n00b to raiding at 85 through our guildstructure and server-based guild alliances. Remembering the conceptof “play” being an integral part of learning, we have established anarena to recall it for ourselves and include it within our teaching. AMMORPG guild has become for us an extension of our personallearning networks. We are educators… who play.
-­‐-­‐What  Is  a  Game?  Weve  all  played  games,  but  because  of  the  wide  variety,  it  can  be  challenging  to  nail  down  what  makes  a  game  a  game.  My  colleague  Sarah  “Intellagirl”  Robbins  –  has  clarified  it  by  identifying  three  basic  characteristics:
“1. A  goal:  Every  game  has  a  win  condition:  the  combinaOon  of  events  and  accomplishments  that  players  need  to  achieve  in  order  to  end  the  game.  In  every  good  game,  the  goal  is  clear,.  Ultimately,  whats  most  important  about  the  goal  is  that  players  care  enough  to  want  to  accomplish  it.  2.Obstacles  having  the  necessary  tools  to  reach  the  goal  should  be  part  of  the  game,  but  difficulties  and  challenges  should  be  part  as  well.  Without  those  obstacles,  winning  wouldnt  mean  much.  There’s  nothing  worse  than  a  game  that’s  too  easy…
3. Collaboration  or  competition:  Games  come  in  two  basic  flavors:  those  in  which  success  comes  by  defeaOng  another  player,  and  those  in  which  winning  is  determined  by  beaOng  the  game  itself.  The  former  can  create  compeOOon  among  players.  The  second  encourages  a  player  to  compete  against  him/herself  or  to  collaborate  with  others    to  beat  the  game.  Why  is  gameplay  important  to  the  virtual  world  community?  ?    The  team  at
Pleaides  sums  it  up  well:    “Gameplay  is  instinctive  and  compelling.  It  provides  perpetual  challenge.  With  virtual  worlds,  right  now,  we  have  an  opportunity  to  go  one  step  further,  into  game-­‐making.  As  a  student  steps  up  to  this  challenge,  he  or  she  must  master  the  concepts  at  hand,  experiment  with  rules,  literally  re-­‐cast  the  concepts  of  mathemaOcs,  or  chemistry,  or  history,  or  literature,  into  the  pieces  of  a  game,  and  then  apply  the  critical  emerging  skills  of  programming,  scripting,  level  design,  information  design,  modelling,  texturing,  animaOng,  and  debugging.  Here,  if  it  is  anywhere,  is  the  epitome  of  the  interdisciplinary,  thematic,  outcome-­‐based  unit  of  educational  advancement.”  (part  of  the  Pleiades  mission  statement)
SO  when  you  take  all  of  these  elements  and  add  students  as  avatars,  an  incredibly   23  rich    3-­‐d  immersive  world  and  a  huge  community  of  players  –  you  have  World  of  Warcraft  and  LET  ME  TELL  YOU  –  You  have  a  powerful    learning  environment-­‐
Azeroth  is  the  name  of  the  world  in  WoW–  and  it  is  an  extremely  complex.  Visiually  beautiful  and  diverse  world.    As  a  new  gamer  I  experienced  the  scaffolded  learning  that  unfolded  as  the  game  TAUGHT  me  how  to  play  it–  but  more  importantly  –  I  was  once  again  put  in  the  role  of  novice-­‐  and  I  remembered  how  it  felt  to  be  reluctant  to  ask  a  quesOon  less  I  look  foolish  –  I  marveled  at  how  I  would  fail  at  a  task  and  be  eager  to  try  it  again  –  and  I  slowly  started  to  unpack  the  elements  of  the  game  design  –  and  understand  why    12  million  people  play    (and  pay  15$  A  MONTH  TO  DO  So)    but  now  the  task  at  hand  was  to  identify  the  learning  principles  and  see  how  I  could  incorporate  them  into  my  instruction  -­‐    and  then  I  thought  about  the  rich  backstory  of  Azeroth  –  the  vocabulary  I  had  encountered  in  game  and  the  problem  solving  and  criOcal  thinking    (no  less  the  map  skills  and  the  Ome  management)  and  rather  than  trying  to  reinvent  the  wheel  (which  in  this  case  was  invented  by  a  1.1  billion  dollar  corporaOon  )  WHY  NOT  “DISCOVER”  THE  LEARNING  INSIDE-­‐  AND  GUIDE  MY  STUDENTS  THROUGH  IT–  IT  WAS  THIS  IDEA  THAT  LAUNCHED…
Learning  With  the  Lich  King  –  Using  World  of  Warcraft  in  School  –  Lucas  Gillispie  (NEWTON  APOGEE  IN  SL)    AND  I  COLLABORATED  IN  AN  AFTER  SCHOOL  PROGRAM    FOR  AT  RISK  STUDENT  POPULATIONS  –    Our  students  collaborated  via  ventrilo  –  VOIP  and  all  of  the  learning  principles  we  had  hoped  would  be  at  work  were  manifested  in  the  students’  level  of  participation,  collaboration  –they  were  reading  and  writing  -­‐    and  working  together  to  solve  complex  problems  –  coordinating  there  efforts  –  learning  to  lead  –  or  to  be  a  member  of  a  team  –  they  formed  a  guild  and  held  elections  for   officers—all  of  this  involved  reading  and  writing  and  communication  –  and  THEY  LOVED  IT!    Image  Credt:  Chalkboard  Image  -­‐  <div  xmlns:cc=”http://creativecommons.org/ns#”  about=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/35034353562@N01/525197419/”><a  rel=”cc:attributionURL”  href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamthebestartist/”>http://www.flickr.com/photos/iamthebestartist/</a>  /  <a  rel=”license”  href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-­‐nc-­‐sa/2.0/”>CC  BY-­‐NC-­‐SA  2.0</a></div>  Lich  King  by  –  Johnboy007007  on  Deviant  Art  -­‐  http://jonboy007007.deviantart.com/
AND  THEN  LAST  SUMMER  –  LUCAS  AND  HIS  LEAD  TEACHER,  Craig  Lawson,    DID  THE  PAINSTAKING  WORK  OF  BULDING  A  Formal  CURRICULUM  AROUND    IT  ALL  –THAT’S  RIGHT  –  A  Common  Core    STANDARD-­‐ALIGNED  ENGLISH  LANGUAGE  ARTS  CURRICULUM  FOR  MIDDLE  SCHOOL  students  –  CREATED  IN  MOODLE  AND    (HOPeFULLY)  SOON  TO  BE  SHARED  WITH  THE  WORLD–    Diane  Lewis  from  Seminole  County  schools  came  on  board,  and  adapted  the  course  to  the  needs  of  her  students-­‐  and  both  she  and  Lucas  will  be  sharing  that  experience    in  presentaOons  here  during  VWBPE
What  is  the  difference  –  what  sets  this  kind  of  learning  experience  apart  from  tradiOonal  learning  -­‐      This  isn’t  a  case  of    “kids  hate  school  –  kids  love  games  –  bring  the  games  into  school  –  but  much  deeper  –  kids  are  invested  in  their  learning  –  they  are  immersed  in  experiential  learning  –  not  only  of  the  mandated  curriculum  –  but  of  the  “hidden  curriculum  –participating  in  fan  fiction  –  receiving  experience  points  and  achievements  in  lieu  of  grades  –  where  the  learning  experience  IS  INCLUSIVE  OF  THE  ASSESSMENT!!!    where  they  have  opportuniOes  for  developing  –  self-­‐esteem  –  social  skills  cultural  awareness  and  EMPATHY  Classroom  Cataclysm  (…or,  what  happens  to  “school”  when  learners  become  heroes.).  By:    Lucas  Gillispie,  Instructional  Technology  Coordinator,  Pender  County  Schools  Founder,  WoWinSchool  Project  (http://wowinschool.pbworks.com)  Original  background  image  by  Blizzard  Entertainment.  Rock  Background  -­‐  h]p://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=85052   27
The  best  way  to  get  involved  is  to  simply  jump  in!    Already  researchers  from  universities,  teachers,  college  students,  and  even  high  school  students  are  getting  involved.    Helga  Brown  from  Elizabeth  City,  NC  has  written  some  incredible  lessons.    We  need  more!    We  need  them  aligned  to  standards.    We  need  folks  to  discuss  logistics,  funding,  and  more!    Since  May,  the  wiki  has  had  over  10,00  visits  came  from  114    countries.    28  registered  authors  contributing,  supporting  research,  funding  ideas,  logistics  info.,  and  most  importantly  lessons.
So,  how  do  you  start  your  own  program?    Here  are  a  few  Tips…      First,  do  your  background  research.    Here  are  some  suggested  TItles…    “Don’t  Bother  Me  Mom  –  I’m  Learning”  by  Marc  Prensky,  “What  Video  Games  Have  to  Teach  Us  About  Learning  and  Literacy”  by  James  Gee,  and  “How  Computer  Games  Help  Children  Learn”  by  David  Williamson  Shaffer.    Also  check  out  the  lengthy  research  list  at:    h]p://wowinschool.pbworks.com/w/page/5268741/SupporOng-­‐Research
If  money  is  a  big  issue,  there  are  perfectly  viable  free  alternatives.    Lord  of  the  Rings  Online  is  a  great  example.
One  option  available  for  younger  students  that  appears  to  be  really  promising  is  Lego  Universe  –  not  only  is  it  an  MMOG  where  the  gameplay  is  social  and  safe  –  but  unlike  many  MMORPGs    there  are  in  game  building  opOons!  Every  player  gets  their  own  piece  of  LEGO  Universe  property!  There  you  can  FreeBuild  anything  you  like—  LEGO  brick  by  lego  brick—  and  bring  your  creations  to  life!    But  most  importantly  when  my  colleague  Marianne  Malmstrom  who  we  all  know  and  love  in  Sl  as  Knowclue  Kidd    contacted  LEGO  –  they  responded  with  great  eagerness  to  WORK  with  her  to  help  align  the  product  with  educational  goals  –  they  have  set  her  up  as  a  pilot  and  they  are  listening  –  LEGO  has  made  education  a  priority-­‐  http://universe.lego.com/en-­‐us/thegame/default.aspx   3
In conclusion, think  about  our  role  as  teachers-­‐-­‐-­‐What  does  all  this  mean  to  us  as  educators?  There  is  general  consensus  that  education  is  in  trouble,    that  skill  and  drill  -­‐  no  child  left  behind,  diminished  recess,  elimination  of  the  arts  programs  …  …   are  all    leaving  many    students  AND  many  teachers  dissatisfied  and  not  having  much  fun.      But  All  of  the  ranting  and  raving  about  education  being  broken  is  not  going  to  fix  it-­‐-­‐however,  the  fact  that  you  are  here  –  logged  in  FROM  ALL  OVER  THE  WORLD-­‐-­‐    demonstrates  that  you  have  a  desire  to  enact  change-­‐  and  the  most  important  change  you  can  make  is  in  your  own  practice,  whether  it  be  in  your  own  classroom….with  your  own  students  or  in  your  design  headquarters—or  just  in  your  thinking  -­‐  by  reintroducing  curiosity,  playfulness,  risk-­‐taking-­‐    and  experimentation  that  embraces  “failure”  as  a  NECESSARY  step  toward  success–  and  beginning  that  re-­‐introduction  by  using  games  and  VWs    is  a  “no -brainer” !
Those  of  us  who  are  involved  in  new  worlds  for  learning  are  the  seeds  of  The  Metaissance  and    if  we  are  exploring  what  are  BEST  PRACTICES  –we  know  that  they  are  still  evolving  –But    Here’s  what  I  DO  KNOW  WITH  EVERY  GRAIN  OF  MY  BEING  When  Students  function  as  avatar  –  immersed  in  experiential situated  learning  –  a  whole  dimension  of  new  affordances  for  learning  take  place.    We  must  be  learners  along  with  our  students  –  we  must  model  the  risk-­‐taking  and  the  curiosity  we  hope  to  inspire  in  them    We  must  be  champions  for  these  kids  –  if  we  don’t  bring  their  learning  into  the  new  age  –  we  are  sadly  failing  them  and  their  futures!
Remember  that  with  all  of  the  trials  and  tribulations  associated  with  radical  change—the  future  simply  overflowing  with  opportunity.  We  are  10  years  into  the  21st  century  –  The  future  is  not  something  way  off  in  the  distance—THE FUTURE IS NOW AND YOUR CLASS IS IN SESSION!.
Images  from:  h]p://www.disney-­‐clipart.com/Chicken-­‐Li]le/Chicken-­‐Li]le-­‐Clipart.php
Please  feel  free  to  contact  me  in  any  world  if  I  can  help  you  in  your  journey!  SKYPE:  maggiemarat  TWITTER:  @peggysheehy  World  of  Warcra{:  Sisters  of  Elune    Server,  Alliance,  Maratsade,  Sheehredd,  Mairet    CogniOve  Dissonance  Guild:  h]p://cogniOvedissonance.guildportal.com  WoWinSchool:  http://wowinschool.pbworks.com/
Ramapo  Islands  Blog:  http://ramapoislands.edublogs.org

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