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The WoW Factor

Computer games are now being seen as the brave new trend in teaching methods. Imagine – World of Warcraft in the classroom! Now that would be something, or…

World of Warcraft

Gaming (f)or Learning

Virtual warfare, car chase, killing and mutilating are some key words that pop up when we talk about computer games. You have probably been there and felt the thrill of qualifying for the next level of some quest or challenge, or sensed the satisfaction of whacking so many of your enemies that you end up with a new top score. And, truly – it takes some proficiency to get there – strategic planning, coordination, and tactical skills, and of course digital competence.

The value of a computer game is not only measured in blood and dead enemies. In defence of digital gaming one should not forget that there are many simulating games out there that have obvious beneficial motives. Like for example “3rd World Farmer”, a game that simulates the world mechanisms that cause and sustain poverty in 3rd world countries – and that can’t be all bad? The mentioned site lists and ranks computer games and guides the teacher in choosing the correct game, also war games with killing and shooting. They claim that gaming has an evident effect on school results in general.

Virtual Violence vs. Reality

The social benefit of computer gaming is limited to the virtual network you are a part of when you play on-line. It is a disturbing fact that the ones responsible for massive violence, school massacres for example, or July 22nd in Norway, have all been loners who were heavily into violent gaming. Some of the popular games carry names like “Battlefield”, “Gears of War,” “Assassins Creed”, “Dead Island”, and “World of Warcraft” which is played by 12 million on-line. Many kids get addicted and spend more time gaming than anything else. Some of the games will even have a ranking system that rewards the player by how much he plays. Today many kids live more in a virtual world than in the real one and they miss out on socialising with family and friends. But that doesn’t seem to matter; for them fun and entertainment with an instant reward come out a clear winner compared to school work and being with friends.


  1. Form a group and discuss the pros and cons of gaming as school activity.
  2. Check out “dataspilliskolen.no” and see what they say about the issue. Do they launch any objections?
  3. It is interesting that the mentioned site is run by the Norwegian “medietilsynet”. Check medietilsynet.no and find out what their interests are.
  4. Follow some links on “dataspilliskolen.no” and find examples of positively educational games.
  5. You probably know a lot more about computer gaming than your teacher does. Make a presentation of one or some of the games you know well and introduce them to your teacher and the rest of the class.


Interview at least five fellow students to map their online gaming habits (how often, which games, how long...). If they do not play online games, list their reasons for not playing. Finally make a table where you present your findings.

Which games How often How long Reasons for not playing
Student 1
Student 2
Student 3
Student 4
Student 5


Media and the Internet

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