LEARNING CONVERSATIONS IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT

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Download free Learning Conversations in World of Warcraft pdf. We examine learning culture in a popular online game, World of Warcraft. We analyze the way players learn this complex game through chat conversation with peers. We describe three kinds of learning: fact finding, devising tactics/strategy, and acquiring game ethos. We investigate learning in the zone of proximal development as specified in cultural-historical activity theory. We examine the emotional tenor of learning conversations, noting their drama, humor, and intimacy.

World of Warcraft is one of the most popular online video games, with 6.5 million active subscribers in North America, Asia, and Europe. Produced by Blizzard Entertainment, it is a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) in which players are connected through the Internet in persistent worlds. Players develop characters that explore, fight, socialize, make money, take up professions, and advance through 60 levels of play. Play is complex, requiring the development of strategy, discovery of thousands of game facts, and subtle choices about character development [see 4, 12, 13 on the complexity of some video games]. Despite this, the manual that comes with the game is a slim 4 x 5 inch volume. No teachers, coaches, or curriculum explain the game. None of the familiar supports of formal education are in evidence—but no one fails World of Warcraft.

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