Unsurprisingly in this connected world, all of my children have spent hours interacting with all sorts of media - computers, game consoles, iDevices of one kind or another. My youngest has spent the most time interacting with virtual worlds such as Gears of War and Halo. As a parent, I worried about how much time was spent in front of a screen. That fear was somewhat mitigated by a rather interesting development. He acquired an interest in history and an amazing ability to remember historical information - thank you, "Medieval Total War." Hmmm... I may need to rethink.
He came home from college tonight and at dinner, I told him about my class. I described SL and my novice efforts in the virtual world. He gave me a big smile, "That's Awesome!" he said. I told him I had "leveled up." Unlike me, he immediately connected with what I had just said... a big hand shoots up and it's a high five for Mom.
The discussion turned to a more serious note as we discussed why educators would be interested in VW. He talked about the game play as an exercise in collaboration and strategy (in addition to the fun!). One of his games puts him in random groups and he and his teammates work as a team to accomplish their goal (i.e. take over territory). Like any VW or RW, there are strategies for achievement. I couldn't help thinking their strategies and collaborative work were like any group project in a the physical sense.
In years past, teachers have led the way. We have found the books, opened the doors, created opportunities - it's what we do but in this, the concept of gaming as a valid teaching tool, it appears to be a case of "and a child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)." He was busy learning while I was busy thinking he was playing. I can accept that but I still want him to get outside now and then. I am a mom, after all.