World Of Warcraft as an educational tool may not be a good idea

World of Warcraft Logo

World of Warcraft Logo

A recent Time magazine article (June 2009) states that the future generation of workers can hone its knowledge of culture and teamwork skills by continuing to play World Of Warcraft…

But is this really the best thing for kids?

Haven’t heard of WOW yet? Here’s a link to a video trailer about World of Warcraft to show you.

WOW is a massively multi-player online gaming environment which Blizzard, who produces it, claims to be 10 million users strong. At about $15 a month to play, you do the math…that’s WOW indeed!

In WOW, players work in teams to complete quests and the game measures each team member’s contribution to the team. The one that contributes most get’s to be (or stay) the leader, and other rewards follow proportional to the team member’s level of contribution.

Yep, sounds like the job of the future alright — collaborate and problem solve with others from around the world, and get rewarded for your hard work. Nice.

But do a quick Google Search for World of Warcraft Addict* and you’ll see some alarming items. Divorce over gaming, a WOW detox center, and  parents suing Blizzard for addiction. A youth organization condemns WOW, calls WOW the “crack cocaine of the computer world”.

YouTube sports several videos on the topic — among the serious ones is the one below called World of Warcraft game addiction documentary – Game OVERdose

Is this really the best way for kids to learn teamwork, cooperation, and cultural differences? I’d think more than twice about choosing such environments as tools for learning. I’m thinking there are lots of less controversial ways that can still be meaningful and useful to our youth.

Maybe that should be the next Time magazine article…

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8 Comments

Filed under 21st century skills, educational gaming, educational technology, Uncategorized, World of Warcraft addiction

8 responses to “World Of Warcraft as an educational tool may not be a good idea

  1. One of the problems with WoW is that it stimulates on a wide variety of levels.
    Not only is there immense social interaction and depth, there is a very well defined initial progression and set of goals.
    The reward mechanism is designed to feed back very quickly (Do something easy, get rewarded immediately).
    WoW is not unique in this sense, but with 10 million players, it’s vast and dwarfs most other games in comparison.
    It is a worry, because there are no end points and no “Well done, you win”, just an endless matrix of quests, improvement and adventuring. This is why in some it can lead to severe addiction.
    Some people playing for 15-20 hours a day, if you can believe that.
    Once into the game, it also becomes tougher to get out, as your character becomes more and more powerful, and real life problems become more of an issue.
    Quitting for some is heartbreaking, and relationships are often put under a lot of stress.
    So no, I personally dont think it is the best method for teaching kids about anything.

  2. Holly

    Any benefits a child may realize through WOW are overshadowed if the child becomes addicted to it. It doesn’t even have to be 15-20 hours a day. An involved parent should be able to tell when it’s too much.

    Are the parents who let their kids grow roots in front of the computer screen as much to blame as the addictive nature of the game?

  3. Although I happen to agree that World of Warcraft isn’t the best option for an educational virtual world, I wouldn’t base my argument on a few tabloid headlines. They’re like Bible quotations: If you really want to, you can probably find one to support whatever position you care to adopt.

  4. I`m currently building my own gaming pc so i can play world of warcraft in its full gloring, i have a budget of under £400 but i think i have found the best system for the budget i have, you can check out my progress on my squidoo lens.

  5. Cody McClintock

    Well well well… another site that dis’s video games… you know as a teenager you adults should start to listen to us… we arent always wrong…. if you look at how much fun us kids actually have with our video games… then you would notice how much less crime has been…. there is less crime around the world with us kids on video games… and you all say well we need to stop and try to get kids to understand… UNDERSTAND WAT?…. we arent hurting ne one and we arent doing drugs when we are on video games… instead we are meeting new pple and having fun learning cultures from other children… and to be quite honest… this game teaches you alot… no some things on the game arent real… in fact alot of it isnt… but there is a war in the game and there are humans in the game… think about it… we learn how to communicate how to lead how to survive in the game… so that we can try to learn it on our own in the real world -smacks head- think bout it seriously… dont go and say well your just a kid you wouldnt know wat we went thru… well to be honest no i dont but us kids dont have to go thru wat you guys went thru because we are helping to make the world a better place to live… yes you guys had it rough… but you make it rougher for us by taking away the last hope we have of actually learning… and dont say well thats wat schools are for… becuase your wrong… the schools teach you nothing… in fact the only reason we have teachers is because they need a job to survive… they dont care if we are learning… infact the way us kids learn are from video games… not from adults who think they know us when they dont. i learn everything ik from myself… i taught myself how to survive… and thats wat the rest of us kids are learning… and yes from a “stupid”game… which isnt really stupid… i play it for an hour sometimes a half an hour… because its fun… and it gives me something to do when im bored… if you think about it there are so many games out there that teach you the dif. ideals of life… for instance war games… gta games… driving games… they all have one thing in common… you learn from them in some way.

    • tjkopcha

      Nope, not “dis-ing” video games. Just saying that WOW might not be the best way to teach skills needed to thrive in a professional environment. Like writing skills. The internet slang that proliferates your message may be ok with u n da boyz in WOW, but not really appropriate for most jobs. Sorry.
      But really, the main point of the article is to say that educating our kids with something that is potentially harmful is a bad idea. There are ways to achieve the same ends without the negative consequences. Or the cost.

  6. Diane Main

    Glad you mentioned the poor writing skills. Spelling and punctuation are not optional in the real world if you want to make enough money to feed your gaming habit, d00d.

  7. jamesmcarthy

    WOW and other multiplayer role playing games are a good idea if they are focused and controlled. The negative aspects creep up when control cannot be exerted .
    Online PhD Degree Programs

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