CIRCA:Childress, M. and Braswell, R. "Using massively multiplayer online role-playing games for online learning"


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Childress, M., & Braswell, R. (2006). Using massively multiplayer online role-playing games for online learning. Distance Education, 27(2), 187-196.
Reviewed By Michael Burden

Childress and Braswell, in their article "Using massively multiplayer online role-playing games for online learning" (2006), claim that massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as Second Life enable rich cooperative learning environments for students. The authors support this claim first by using feedback from their project in which class members using Second Life formed a closer-knit sense of community; and secondly by proposing ideas on how co-operative learning techniques can be used in such a virtual space. Their purpose is to promote the use of MMORPGS as a cooperative educational tool. They write in an inviting manner to an audience of educators with some computing experience.

Although the examples given in the article are drawn from Second Life the authors extend the results to the whole genre of MMORPGs. They focus on how MMMORPGs can simulate real interactions, in settings constructed with a pedagogic purpose. The ability of online tools to go beyond what is possible in real life is occasionally hinted but not explored.

By emphasizing the potential of MMORPGs the authors hope to build a critical mass of educators using these tools. Their expectation is that the experiences and experiments of a large crowd of users will eventually create that very potential. They also predict that improvements in technology will enable realistic presentation and interaction with programmatic pedagogic agents but don't address whether this will affect the ultimate role of the online educators they hope to recruit.

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