Guilds as Professional Learning Networks

I’ve been quiet for a while now.  At work, we’re focused more and more on settling into and finishing off the Sakai migration.  I’ve been put on the video team, working on creating videos to be housed on various professors’ online courses.  I’ve also been working on quite a bit of accessibility issues–learning more about captioning software programs so that I can train others to use them.  It’s been fun learning all this new stuff, but I haven’t forgotten about my passion.  Jaguarland may be history but virtual worlds and gaming in education remain close to my heart–I’m just having to explore these options on my own time.

Through last year’s Virtual Worlds–Best Practices in Education conference, I was lucky enough to fall into a group of educators who are fascinated by Quest-Based and Game-Based learning–specifically  how to use off the shelf gaming in the classroom.  This may seem like a stretch to many–and I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t try to bootstrap it onto any course without making sure that it would be a worthwhile tool–but there have been enough people working on this that there’s already quite the collection of quests/lessons that have been directly tied to core curriculum standards.  All of this can be found at the WoW in School site.

But even without actually using gaming in a classroom of my own, I’ve found that I’ve gotten some amazing advice/guidance/support from the group I play with in various games and in Second Life.  Our main home is on the World of Warcraft Sisters of Elune server.  There are two educators guilds on the server.  Cognitive Dissonance is the one on the Alliance side and boasts (as of this writing ) over 600 members.  Innevitable Betrayal is the Horde guild–it’s smaller and at a lower level but growing quickly as more and more interest gets drummed up.  Because of the worldwide nature of the internet, I can log into WoW at almost any time of the day and I’ll be connected with educators who are playing.  I can ask questions, not just about the game, but also for advice about specific issues in training/teaching.  There are also weekly online meetings using Twitter and Google Hangout on Air to keep everyone connected.  Members of the group can be as involved as they want to be.

It Takes a Guild is a video series put on by members of the guild to showcase how various members are using gaming in their classes.

There’s also a Games Mooc starting up again shortly–this is the third iteration of the Mooc and this time the theme is “Apps, AR, and ARGs”.

Think you might be interested in learning more about how to use gaming or virtual/alternative reality in the classroom?  You can join in for free and dip your toes in being a part of a guild.

Hope to see you there!


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