As part of my researches into the use of gaming in the classroom, I found myself in a large darkened room at NECC being taken into the wonderful World of Warcraft by Leslie Fisher. Some may know of my own ventures into the use of the Myst game in the Primary classroom, so it is a field which is of interest to me, as I guess it is for others.
Once you enter the World you create your avatar and what type of character you are with your characteristics ( mostly though not exclusively violent!).
Once settled in you can choose to accept a 'Quest' - questing gives them experience. In the World it takes you an enormous amount of time to reach the higher levels ( now 80 levels in all, and growing all of the time!) however you do have to break the questing down into small steps.
You need to go to the getting started guide you need to research the game this is a higher level skill that pupils have to achieve, so the higher level kids will soak up this like a sponge. The game will also improve pupils spelling skills and has an etiquette all of it's own, strangely not tolerating poor behaviour or bad spelling, while accepting random violence!.
There are many online sites around the world helping newbies to come to grips with their 'new world' although you will have to use your critical skills to source the best information. There are forum groups eg thottbot.com for information forums on questing and all things 'Warcraft'.
Social interaction- it doesn't matter who the individuals online as none knows who you are - very like 2life. Also there is complete equality online disability does not exist in an online environment
Bad language and being impolite are not tolerated nor is poor spelling.
You can buy or sell to people along the way thus earning money. You get rewarded for progressing in the game. You can also make things as you go along.
This game is totally immersive and will allow kids to develop their spatial awareness skills.
there are professions for characters from level1 it takes 15,000hours to reach level 70. Once you purchase the game you have to pay a regular monthly fee *see below from Wikepedia
* These rather garbled notes were taken during Lesley's presentation, in the darkened room, my feelings on the WoW, it's a great looking environment and gives great feedback to the player/players who are online........ its use in an educational setting is less clear cut - we heard tales of youngsters globally who are playing the game (at home) I am not sure that school authorities would see past the violent reputation of these games, it does have some educational value however it is unlikely that you will see it in a classroom near you anytime soon!