Types 100 WPM and is MMORG-proficient

August 27, 2012 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

By Karen Hawkins

 

OK, so “types 100 wpm” might actually be dating me a bit. But I was very interested to read, in the article on “the instructional power of games,” that a guildmaster in World of Warcraft needs the same skills as a manager for a Fortune 100 company. I don’t necessarily disagree with the list of skills; that’s fine. But having those skills in the context of a game, where you are playing a role that, let’s face it, is a lot less complex than the person you really are, is very different from having those skills in person. And yes, practicing them in the game is good, and you may be able to make the cognitive leap of using those skills in real life. But one reason that 17 year old MMORG aficionados don’t run multinational corporations is that their moms make them log off and do their homework (one would hope) and when they get frustrated, they might tell the other players to $#%@ and go grab a Mountain Dew (which doesn’t work in the business world, trust me). Full disclosure: I will be presenting next Tuesday with my group on the use of educational computer games, so it’s not like I don’t believe that games can be useful. I am a recent convert, and (IMO) a healthy skeptic. But I do think that there is one secret ingredient that wasn’t discussed in this article that might make the transference from game skills to life skills a lot more meaningful. Metacognition. Which is just a fancy way of saying I think it’s important to have students reflect on not just what they learned, but how they learned it, and how they can use the “how” as well as the “what” in other situations. Which brings me to the Suzie Boss Edutopia piece on “high-tech reflection.” I thought her list of questions near the end was excellent, especially “how do you know you learned it?” The not-so-Bank-Street answer: “Because I got a 98 on the test!” But seriously: we also need to know how we can push kids further to help them understand what skills we think they’re learning, and why they’re important. Yes, games are fun and engaging, but they are fun and engaging because you’re using your head. If you weren’t, the game would be boring. It’s appealing to let kids think they’re “getting away with something” by using games in class, whether for math skills or for a virtual exploration of history. But when they really do apply for that job with the Fortune 100 company, they need to be able to say what it is that they can do. How did that game help them become a strategic thinker? A good negotiator? A thoughtful teammate? Can they tell you about that? Helping them see how they’re learning, and how they can think about it and articulate it, is also really important. Then you can put “MMORG-proficient” on your resume and have it really mean something.

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