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Gaming, Education and Possibility Spaces

2009 April 16
by Laura Blankenship

I have to say, I think my worlds are colliding this week.  There was a new patch for WoW.  We’ve been discussing gaming for the last few weeks.  Last night, a rerun of the Simpsons episode where Marge becomes obsessed with a game like WoW was on, and then this morning, there’s an article about two business professors who go to the Game Developers Conference.  Since we were discussing the implications of gaming yesterday, I thought this quote was particularly pertinent:

Gaming, serious and casual alike, can promote a culture of empathy. During one of the very first sessions the speaker presented a selection of quotes from young gamers. One young gamer said that gaming made him emotional. He felt hardened by reality but games allowed him to release emotions that would have otherwise remained dormant. Rather than desensitizing our youth, games are allowing students to explore what Will Wright, creator of the Sims franchise and Spore, called the “possibility space.” Every game has a beginning and end but today’s advanced games allows each player to create a unique path while seeing, experiencing, and perhaps even feeling the consequence of their decisions.

The authors go on to discuss what higher education can learn from games.  One of the things they suggest is that higher ed can and should create possibility spaces for students and move away from older curriculum, changing with the needs of their students (as gaming companies do).  It occurred to me that that’s what we’ve tried to do in this class–the whole class is really envisioned as a possibility space.  We’re not always successful, perhaps, but it’s also up to each student to create possibility spaces for themselves, using the content and discussions from this course and others to open up new ideas and opportunities.

Earthland Realms – World of Warcraft also WoW in d… – GMX Video

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