Alternate Reality Learning- educational gaming!

I am not a game person. The only game I really enjoy is probably Wii because it is not about violation and some kind of weird adventure. 🙂  I tried different relatively new online games in college. I hung out with friends there when they requested me to do so. We just sat around the camp fire, and talked about what happened at school. The server/ other hardware issue was always a problem. It took time. But it also created some sort of fresh feeling. Sometimes, because I know some friends’ avetar in the game, I feel knowing them more at school. We also created a group (by using our class name.. haha) and accomplished certain goals in the game.

That is such a wonderful memory! They helped me a lot in the game. I didn’t know how to do A LOT of things. Surprisingly, they were very very patient. 🙂 In short, that was a very unusual experience. After we graduated from the teacher education program, I know some friends keep playing online games as student teachers. And I know one or two of them meet their students (elementary school kids) on the game after class. That was very strange for me and for most of my classmates. It might be very inappropriate in our professor’s viewpoint (he didn’t know).

However, it would be a perfect cool example of integrating technology in teaching to motivate kids today on SECOND LIFE! I wonder what would happen if teachers/ professors in Taiwan started to use it or something similar because a very large number of male high school/ undergraduate students play online games.

I’ve seen my classmates in Informatics at IU demonstrate their avetars on Second Life. It was amazing. I was surprised to know how much connection they can build between this “third place” and the “reality” For instance, friends can hang out on Second Life and watch TV together. They can build their office and place an latest iMac on the desk. They can hold office hours on Second Life, and so on. It was even amazing when I know some teachers teach on Second life.

I think it is very cool. In the future, if I have a chance to try, I will do it ! My questions/concerns so far – (1) how do you get one university to install software on campus computers; (2) for the cognitive psychology point, would information overload when students try to “read” lectures, and textual chat at the same time.

google_livelyP.S. I just played Google Lively. This is like second life but easier to install and walk around. The space seems not connected. http://www.lively.com/catalog/ So far it only supports Windows PCs not Macs. (I was surprised to know Google is going to close this project (link to the google blog). And I wondered why. On the news, they only said they’re going to concentrate on users searching experiences.)

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1 Comment »

  1. Mike said

    Chun-Yi, I’m not a much of a gaming person either, but I do see some advantage to their educational applications. First and foremost is that games can make learning more fun – although I think it’s probably tough to strike the right balance between fun and learning. Also it seems using Second Life and other virtual reality applications is very convenient for students and teachers; anytime, anywhere.

    I too worry about the potential for information overload from reading and chatting simultaneously in some cases.

    One of my most serious concerns about the pervasive nature of gaming and Web 2.0 applications in general is that no one gets out of their desk chair anymore! I remember our guest speaker about Second Life was going on and on about how her kids spent hours on the computer “collaborating” with others. That’s great…but why not go out and play….get some exercise…see people face to face. Why spend hours upon hours in Second Life when you have a First Life!

    Have you ever seen the movie Wall-e? Funny how they portrayed the people of the future…unable to get out of their chairs due to lack of physical exercise.

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