Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The World (of Warcraft) Is Not Enough
Reading the articles for this week raised a "chicken or the egg" question for me. Are we dragging eduction kicking and screaming into the world of games and gaming or are we dragging the world of games and gaming into education? It seems like either direction would yield valid arguments as educators pose objections to bringing games into the classroom, fearing a disconnect between the game and content, amongst other things. While on the flip side, the gamers might find games in educational settings as forced rather than fun. This is how my drawing for this week came to be: showing a juggling act between the game, the use of it to bridge our world and "theirs", and the usefulness as an educational technology.
The use of QA readily allows for players to interact within and outside of the virtual environment with the game being a go-between medium. It also allows for and encourages interpersonal interaction within the game with both players and NPCs. The use of player homepages involves a shareability of user experiences and achievements which not only showcases users' "work" but can also serve as a poster of possible experiences that users can take part in while playing the game. Additionally, the fact that a user has to register both with QA and with an organization (such as Boys and Girls Club, or a school) makes the system secure enough for safe educational use.
This juggling of the 3 areas that make a game like QA a success is the fact that the game, the use as an educational tool, and the bridging between the real world and the virtual world work in a synergistic to promote the continuation of the process, much like nuclear fusion would be a self sustaining process of ongoing energy. To keep the process going it will be interesting to see how the QA world adapts and develops to changing phenomena within our world. As a side thought, and of particular interest (to me that is), was the incidence of female players within QA. The fact that roughly half of the players are female and that they have contributed to around half the activity within the QA environment speaks volumes to the viability of QA as a persistent learning object. However, one thing I am curious about is whether the interest in QA by female participants has increased their interest or willingness to participate in other gaming experiences or whether it has made them more critical consumers of games in general.
Oh, and if you hadn't noticed the title, it's a ripoff of a James Bond movie title (and subsequently a Garbage track).