Thursday, August 5, 2010

Twitter Book Club: S. Craig Watkins (2009) The Young & The Digital - Chapter 5

Watkins spends a considerable amount of time in this chapter discussing virtual worlds like Second Life and MMORPGS like World of Warcraft. He says that while Facebook or Myspace users are not likely to consider their time online as engagement in a "third space" that users of virtual worlds are. He also goes to great length to describe how WoW users will spend considerable time logged on playing the game while SL users rarely stick around. This is evident in how vacant SL appears. While I completely agree with this and have noticed this in my own research on virtual worlds I think this is a little misleading about the potential user-created virtual worlds like SL or Active Worlds have for education. Educators reading this book ought to read it with the understanding that this is more about social observation than it is about educational application. WoW is highly immersive because of the elements in the game that are designed to engage users while with virtual worlds like SL the user has to bring their own reason for engagement. Teachers using virtual worlds in their classroom can and should provide these rules for engagement for their students.

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