[Assessment 1380] Re: Learning and Assessing in Virtual and Real Worlds

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Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt katherine.gotthardt at gmail.com
Fri Aug 1 19:53:19 EDT 2008

Question (as my husband sits here enjoying playing WOW):

How would ESOL and low level readers deal with the texting component of
these games? How would they deal with the intricate instructions and
details? The premises and story lines are often complicated and use melded
vocabulary as well as "gamer lingo." Fantasy characters and made-up words
create some confusing communications. I can tell you, as a native speaker
and reader, I cannot manage these games.

How would you implement MMO's in a classroom with any amount of success?
Are you talking about using them just for advanced students?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:44 AM, George Dziuk
<George.Dziuk at lbb.state.tx.us>wrote:

> As an avid gamer that has played massive multiplayer games (MMOs) for

> almost 10 years now (using a previously mentioned gamed: I've played World

> of Warcraft for 4), I can attest to the many learning opportunities that are

> available from the experience. For example, in almost all cases these games

> absolutely require group interaction to meet in-game challenges. This

> extreme focus on team work is coupled with additional requirements that

> aren't just about how fast you can punch a keyboard, but require a pretty

> significant amount of number crunching to make sure your character's

> equipment is maximizing whatever role that character fills in these

> groups...be it healing your allies, dishing out damage on a creature, or

> bearing the brunt of the creature attacks.


> Rather than spending time addressing the educational benefits, I'd like to

> talk about the challenges to using these games as an educational tool that

> would need to be overcome before they could be successfully employed as a

> medium for learning opportunities on a system-wide scale:


> *1. Technology:* Most PC games today have pretty hefty hardware

> requirements that require expensive video cards, processors and RAM to just

> run them. These PCs, on average, can be quite expensive...not including

> software costs which can run you almost $45 per license with monthly

> subscription fees typically running $15 per month.


> *2. Safety & Security:* Even with filters, the language over public chat

> channels in MMOs can definitely be classified as adult oriented in *many*cases. Additionally, from a safety standpoint, children playing these games

> are exposed to a wide range of people who also play these games coming from

> across the country or, in some cases, around the world. Additionally, there

> are increasing instances of other people using "keyloggers" to acquire the

> log in information of players, log into these people's accounts, sell all of

> their materials and then transfer the ingame money to their own accounts

> which is then subsequently sold for real money through a website. For more

> information on this type of trade just do a search on "Gold Farmers".


> *3. Time Commitment:* MMOs require massive amounts of time which can in

> some cases amount to almost a part time job.


> In order to address the above issues, an interested entity, be it

> government, CBO, local education agency, etc..., would need to work directly

> with the software developer to create a server that would used solely by the

> participating school(s) with very specific access requirements to ensure

> that only students from those schools could play on that server.


> George Dziuk

> Texas Legislative Budget Board

> School Performance Review


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Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt
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