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Archive for December, 2007

Jumping into MMORPG’s (A Guide)

A previous post focused on getting one’s feet wet in a basic virtual world. Open ended virtual worlds like There, Active Worlds and Second Life provide free initial memberships and are not overly demanding in terms of computing power. They function well as simulations of real world environments for social, entertainment, educational, and business purposes.

In this entry we’ll look at the process of exploring the theme based “gaming” worlds called MMORPGs (Massive Mulitplayer Online Role Playing Games) or MMOs. These worlds have the largest number of members world wide (15+ million), and while not used as widely for educational purposes, they have a number of potential applications. Among their participants are a significant number of educators who play for fun, challenge and connections with others. It’s not uncommon for real life friends, family members and colleagues to spend time adventuring together in these worlds. They have also been the subject of a number of research studies which investigate their social aspects, virtual economies, cultural dimensions and skills developed in the process of playing.

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At Vanderbilt University a first-year writing course entitled “Worlds of Wordcraft: Narrative Forms in the Digital Classroom” makes use of a variety of media to engage students in the learning process while enhancing their writing skills. Games and virtual worlds that are used in this course include Lord of the Rings Online, Dark Age of Camelot and Neverwinter Nights 2.http://sitemason.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbiltview/articles/2007/11/01/learning-in-a-digital-age.48427

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