WoW Expansion Expanding Use of Media

The WoW expansion, released Nov 13, incorporates more cinematics than seen in this game before, in addition to implementing a “build your Garrison” idea that enables the user to use some creative problem solving and strategizing. The cinematics help tell the story and creates a more engaging feel.  As bandwidth is increasing, perhaps a blend of moviemaking, video game playing and sandbox building will begin to mesh more.   So, how does this relate to education?  For one, the technology used could be a more effective way to teach by immersing students  into an environment, incorporating video/machinima and providing problems for students to solve.

A screenshot of a video in the WoW, provides that "up-close, you are there" feeling.

A screenshot of a video in the WoW, provides that “up-close, you are there” feeling.

Video is the next best thing to being there and of course teachers generally use film/video to help teach concepts, but the mix of the two was what is so compelling.  As the character moves about and completes quests a cinematic pops up to help explain, to move the narrative forward, to immerse the player.  If we replace the word “player” with student, this blend of media has the potential to engage a student to the point where there is an emotional connection with a literary or historical character and events as well as with scientific and mathematical concepts.  The Metagame Book Club is currently involved in reading Rise of The Horde and The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell  playing the expansion while reading this book certainly adds an element that increases understanding of the narrative as well as the concepts of the hero’s journey.  On the creative side, students creating cinematics with the use of a game engine or virtual word (machinima) can either document understanding of whatever concepts are being learned, as well as developing their own extensions to the learning.


In the WoW expansion, Players need to make choices that will impact outcomes.

The second feature that is prominent in this WoW expansion, is the building of a “personal” garrison.  I got the feeling of the “wild” west.  Here I was (my toon)  in a dangerous wilderness, with few resources, needing to make friends to build a garrison and survive.  Decisions need to be made and problems need to be solved.  Using this expansion, as is, and simply discussing parallels with various historical exploration periods would likely be an engaging way to teach the subject, rather than the lecture style of the 1900s.

As we continue to see the development of games and immersive environments the potential for impacting the way we teach and learn is obvious.


Immerse Into Mobile Games for Fitness

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 11.07.01 AMVirtual Word interaction can be mobile and active.  Businesses across the country are recognizing that employee fitness contributes to better attendance associated with reduced sick days, reduction in health benefit costs, and an increase in work product.  Mobile applications can contribute to this end.  My work place has started an informal “walking club”, we walk for 15-30 minutes during our lunch hour and track all our steps daily.  One of our Director’s actually holds “walking meetings” scheduling times for staff to walk and discuss instead of sitting around a conference table.

Multiple applications and devices are available to help individuals track their distance, steps, times, calories burned etc.  I find that walking with colleagues provides a network and support group that is motivating and, well, fun.  If you do not have interested individuals around you, you can find them via the games/apps or just connect with distanced friends to get fit together.

Zombies Run appA Game-based application with an element of immersion is Zombies Run.  It is billed as an “audio adventure” in preparing you for a  5K.  I first read about this application in Jane McGonigals’s book Reality is Broken, as she discussed Alternative Reality Games (ARGs).  The objective of this game is to prepare you for a 5 K run and gradually increases your stamina as you level up  with walking and running as zombies chase you.  The runner/walker has “missions” requiring running and walking to save people, deliver emergency supplies and to escape the ever-present zombies.   Between the storyline you listen to your favorite playlist, earbuds are a good idea. The one change I would make to the game is to use the participant’s actual geo-location to make it more immersive (Zombies jumping out around the corner of your home or workplace).   Although the objective of this game is a 5K preparation it is a fine as a fun way to exercise and build stamina.  Completing the game gives a sense of accomplishment, even if you never run in a 5K.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.15.15 PMA number of free or inexpensive gamified applications can be downloaded to your mobile device to make excercise a social and fun experience.  Some are Steps ManiaSTRAVAEarndit (Allows you to redeem earned points for prizes and charities), run keeperiSmoothrun, and Fitocracy. These applications track walking, running swimming and biking distance (check them out to see which does what), exercises, date and time, and then reward achievements based on progress.  Achievements  are scaffolded, guiding the participant to  “level-up” by increasing the duration and frequency of exercise.  The apps all use graphs and leaderboards providing personal data to compete with yourself or with colleagues.  Though less immersive than Zombies Run, they do have a social aspect.  Your fitness friends can be located anywhere in the world and can complete their fitness routine on their timezone while networking with remotely located friends.  Some are designed to track every step you take while others are designed for specific workout sessions and they can all bring a playing feel to your workout.


How Regular Exercise Help You Balance Work and Family

Exercise Boosts Work Productivity



My EduBlogger Picks for 2013

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I find the Edublog site a valid and reliable source for good educational links in a variety of categories. I am honored to have been nominated in the past and  continue to support the site by spreading the news, I … Continue reading


Mobile Minecraft and More

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Monday August 26th at 8:00 PM EST two ISTE special Interest groups SIGVE and SIGML ( special interest groups for virtual environments and mobile learning) will join with VSTE (Virginia Society for Technology in Education) at the VSTE Second Life location to … Continue reading


Protecting Children While Instituting Change

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 As technology advances it seems that school firewalls have become more restrictive in blocking sites and web-based tools.  The latest victim in my district is Google Hangout.  Although I had been using Google Hangout to connect and collaborate with educators … Continue reading


Chicken or Egg Dilemma in Using 3D Immersive Environments for Teaching and Learning

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Innovation requires some risk taking, the accountability movement requires the use of proven practices and data to back it up.  Innovation can help drive progress while accountability ensures a level of success.  How do we reconcile the need to use … Continue reading


EduMachinima Fest for Teachers and Students

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The annual SIGVE EduMachinima Fest is unique in that it is for both students and teachers.  Those who enter their work will have the opportunity to create and share their manipulation of images, sounds, music and words effectively to convey … Continue reading


Failure or Scaffolding to Mastery

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Educators assess  learning  in a variety of ways including observation of behaviors/skill demonstration, artifact production, portfolio development, and testing.  We establish grades, inform parents and students, and record grades in a permanent record.  There is lively debate on assessment (particularly … Continue reading



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During the Summer of 2012, a free MOOC (massive open online courses) was conducted on games for learning. The session was led by Front Range Community College Faculty  who invited educators from around the country to contribute.  Over 400 educators … Continue reading


2013: Engage For Change

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Charles Darwin Change is inevitable and the new year brings the mindset and … Continue reading