Last year was largely an experimental year. There were so many unknowns going into the WoWinSchool Project that our overall attitude was “Let’s see what this looks like,” and some aspects of the program were largely informal. That’s not to say that we didn’t learn a great deal and that the participating students didn’t benefit from the program (and we from them). Going in, we were unsure of even the simplest things like, “What happens when there’s a patch?” and “Will the network and firewall handle it?”
Those early hurdles are behind us and I’m very pleased to announce that we’re ratcheting the program up a notch for the coming year. In the 2010-2011 school year, both Cape Fear Middle and Suffern Middle will offer a World of Warcraft-based language arts elective during the regular school day. Development has begun on the course, the syllabus, and implementation plan. So far, here’s what we’re thinking:
- Though taking place during the regular day, the course will be hybrid, built online using the Moodle LMS. This grants us the opportunity to be largely paperless (a good model for other classes!) and it makes the course granular and easily shared.
- The course will involve a parallel reading assignment for students, probably a novel. Cape Fear Middle will likely use Tolkien’s The Hobbit.
- We are trying hard to get away from focusing on grades and are rather granting students XP (experience points) and levels for completing assignments. Developing appropriate rubrics and scaling is a challenge.
- The course will have an overall theme, probably based on “The Hero’s Journey.”
- The course will be aligned to national/state standards and will supplement students’ regular language arts instruction.
- Our goal is to thoroughly “mash-up” course and in-world experiences.
We have a tremendous amount of work to do to prepare and are excited about where we’re going.
Those are going to be some lucky kids. I wish my school had done anything half as interesting and innovative. Good show, guys!
Sounds like a lot of work and a great deal of fun. Hope it goes well and if you need to bounce ideas, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Hi! I am working on my dissertation (Education, Instructional Design for Online learning) involving using the Wow achievement system to help Asperger Syndrome learners. I have 8 80s currently, and got inspired to use Wow in my dissertation as I leveled my toons.
It is great to see others who are realizing the potential of using learning tools like WoW. Have you written any papers that I can use in my dissertation?
Isn’t it amazing what aspects of the game “jump out” at you as you’re studying instructional design? That’s very similar to my experiences. All the lights started turning on as I made connections between the instructional design process and the way the game (and game designers) support a player’s advancement in the game. (Take note, instructional designers!!)
My thesis was on gaming, and is available on the site, however, you’re likely to find many more resources on the project wiki in the Supporting Research section.
The wiki can be found at: http://wowinschool.pbworks.com
Best of luck on your dissertation. Be sure to share once you’ve completed it!
This is incredible! What a novel idea. I am only a few hours down the road in South Carolina and I’d LOVE to start a program here at my middle school. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the year 🙂
I’m amazed by the innovation involved in using the level-granting component of recruit-a-friend as a “reward” for completing assignments. What an ingenious idea!
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