Explain Gold Farming to Your Grandmother
Unpacking the Zeitgeist is an amusing post about World of Warcraft (WoW). In it Sci Fi Author Charlie Stross attempts to explain to someone from 1977 how Gnomes dropped from the sky in the shape of a URL advertisement in WoW. He unpacks 30 years of assumed knowledge (what is the internet, what is a PC, why do people play games dressed up as furry animals?). As Raph Koster noted this represents pre-traumatic stress disorder as we contemplate what this means for 2037.
Think of the ingenuity and focus it took to pull this stunt off. The intellect behind it is creative, transgressive, technical, and funny - all at the same time! Where are we teaching these skills in today's classrooms? Talk about your 21st Century Skills.
As a side note I happened to be wandering through Ironforge that day on my toon (Embir - Level 70 Mage on Stonemaul). I was stumped when I happened upon the neat piles of gnomes in front of the bank. It was only later that I realized what I'd seen.
If none of this makes any sense to you I highly recommend that you engage with games and gamers. Blizzard announced today that over 9 million people worldwide are now active subscribers to World of Warcraft. A whole culture has emerged around these gaming communities. Tapping the elements of that culture that tap into 21st Century Skills - and there are a lot of them - would make a huge difference in schools. (This will be the subject of a later post.)
But it can't be learned by reading about it - GO PLAY!