Well, I tried. I tried to be a gamer, but it was hard! I spent a lot of time scouring mmorpg (massive multi-player online role play gaming) websites and blogs and message boards in an attempt to absorb the culture. Perhaps I should have actually attempted World of Warcraft so my experience could have been more authentic. But I did learn things, and that’s the whole point, right? Pre-role play, I was not a video game person at all. They never appealed to me, and I never understood how people could spend hours each day lost in gaming. Reading the research helped me get a more objective view, and now I really do see value in those all-encompassing online role play games. There’s even a whole line of research dedicated to tracking the mmorpg community. Amazing. A whole world I never really knew existed. It might not be my thing, but it’s also not a waste of time.
Adopting my new persona was a challenge, but it was also liberating to try out new styles of interaction. I think we all maintained a certain level of civility, but I do feel like I “pushed it” a little more than I would in face to face conversation. I probably could have pushed it more, but like I said, it was a challenge being this new person. I do think that students get into this way more than I do, and I definitely see the value of online role-play in an educational context. I especially liked the link “Dr. Synapse” posted about an online forum students at the University of Virginia used to explore and understand a 19th century poem. What a perfect application of online role play to really deepen appreciation for complicated literary work.
In addition to struggling with the whole role play thing, I also struggled coming up with a resource link this week. My brain is a bit fuzzy lately. But I do remember some of my fourth graders making an avatar to represent themselves last year, using Voki. I should have tried it for my own avatar…maybe I still will. I can give Jesse a new look.