Meeting ISTE NETs – Using World of Warcraft

Blood Elf Paladin

World of Warcraft is an online massive multiplayer game with a free 10 day trail. Here’s how to align it with ISTE NETs and meet your own standards/outcomes – though assessment. This is for those teachers who ‘get’ the Web2.0 concepts of participation, collaboration and shared reality. It’s not a post about whether games are a good idea – they are.

Here is a simple look at how to develop a game based learning project – using World or Warcraft. There’s more to developing a robust project, but this should give you some idea of how to blend games into your ICT powered classrooms. (13-16 year olds).

Design a project that meets 2 outcomes and 4 ISTE’s NETs.  6 outcomes, 5 hours of game-play and about 10 hours or other work around it. — 15 hours over 2/3 weeks. This is using game based learning – so you have to plan well ahead — have a number of activities that are not obviously connected, and tasks that students must achieve which in part require using Warcraft. The students are then able to choose how to set about it. You will immediately notice that hands will raise with questions – as students are so used to being given the steps and spoon fed the content – that they will be disorientated. That is not Warcraft, that is the shift to inquiry based learning practice. Don’t hand out the answers … make them grind them out.

We start with the end in mind. Which are the outcomes/standards we want — and how are we going to assess it? It is critical to be able to align ISTEs standards with activities in games and standards/outcomes. This to me is where most teachers fall over. Their ICT repertoire is so small, they simply cannot do it with Web2.0, let alone games. Someone has to lead and help build these things — just as someone used to write the ‘teachers text book’. Let’s not assume that all teachers stepped outside ‘off the shelf’ lesson planning in the first instance – and games are a further step removed from Web2.0 — and it is MOTIVATION that games bring in abundant quantities.

Remember Warcraft is the activity not the outcome or the assessment. Students would have to sign up for their 10 day trial – and do so in a timeline that will allow them to complete the project – so it’s not going to be end endless grind-fest. You are going to design your project to allow them to choose when to play, and when to do the other things you are asking for. This means you will not be in a linear classroom, and will have to deal with the idea of not actually ‘teaching’ at all, but helping them –  ask good questions.

If you don’t play WoW, then some of this might be a bit brain-missing to you– but trust me, it’s basic stuff.

Level 1-10 type activity associated with the free-trail. On the left is the ISTE Standard, the middle is with WoW activity and over on the right is a rough idea of how I might align those with some additional classroom activities (meeting the curriculum outcome). In that last column, you can also add a activity — write a narrative, create a blog, use a spreadsheet … this is the assessment you need. You have to be clear about what activity in project is going to allow the outcome to be reached – and how it will be evidenced and assessed – both for ISTE and your curriculum. In doing this you can create blogs, wikis, art, role-plays, narrative, movies, music — Warcraft is the motivator. You are not assessing how well they play or level.

In Australia, out ICT outcomes are so low, most pre-schoolers would pass — and teachers skills are so low that they’d fail the year 10 computing skills test in spectacular style.

Game based learning — is not about what you learn by playing a game – but how the game can be use to to foster inquiry skills, critical thinking and evidence student learning – in part though exploration, error and play. Many people seem to think game based learning is the Magic School Bus type of CD-Rom and can be easily ‘gamed’ by students. We see this in may online children’s edu-flash games. They are just boring. game. These things are very instructional, but very linear. They don’t allow for unexpected outcomes. Today, social games are teaching kids more ICT skills that you can shake runed-sword at.

If you want kids to go nuts with ICT, then find a motivator … and start thinking about designing your own projects – Ms Frizzle is not going to cut it.

‘Grats to Mr8 – who attained Level 80 this weekend!