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Friday, 11 November 2011

Teaching Reading through Gaming and Teamwork

For several years now, I  have been hearing stories about how educators  use World of Warcraft for teaching and learning. Recently I decided it was time to take the plunge and give it a try. I was fortunate enough to attend ISTE 2010 where I made a Twitter connection that would prove very inspirational.

The Inspiration for my initial work with WoW came from the fantastic work done by WoW in Schools. If you have ever wanted to know more about how teachers are using WoW to teach students important 21st century skills, this is the place to go.

Anyhow, I need a plan that accounted for several things, the purpose or rationale for using WoW with our students (below), the skills I wanted to teach, the resources we would use, and of course the role of parents in all of this.

The purpose of the unit I came up with is to engage students in reading activities which that draw parallels between online gaming activities and involve an element of teamwork in a virtual world. Through quests, students interact with other players, reflect on their experiences in written form as well as through discussion drawing parallels between their quests and other experiences in-world and their readings. Each of the 10 lessons will include a blog post which will reflect on different aspects of the readings and student gaming experiences.

In planning the unit, I decided to focus on one of our school's Traits and Values, TEAMWORK. It seemed to me that a MMOG was a great way to focus on it. I chose a graphic novel to be the basis of our reading work, The Arctic Incident. Adapted by Eoin Colfer Andrew Donkin (Artemis Fowl Graphic Novel), and downloaded the trial version of WoW. I ordered 10 copies of the graphic novel, wrote a carefully worded letter for our parents, which explains the learning intentions, created a brief quest example video, and approached my school Admin team with a proposal to discuss. At the same time I began preparing lessons, each of which focuses on the following areas: A reading, A game challenge or activity,a discussion and a blog post, My next step was to create a response blog.

In about 2 weeks time I will be in a position to run an information session for the kids, send the letters home to parents and see what responses I can collect.

I haven't been this excited about a new project in a while, or at least a month or two anyway.

Wish me luck!

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