Many parents of middle schoolers may have noticed the amount of time their children spend on the internet playing "Runescape." It evidently is the latest thing.
Runescape is a multiplayer internet game where people play against each other by trying to get ahead in an imaginary world. Participants, borrow, trade and barter in an imaginary universe that is basically a giant global economy in cyberspace. They have to deal with unethical players as well as ethical players. If they enter unprotected areas (known as "the wild" according to my son) they can have their goods stolen. ("That's why I never go there," he told me. ) As they get more money and goods they are able to sell them to improve their weapons so they can protect themselves against bigger "monsters" which is evidently how they achieve higher ratings. While there is some violence it isn't your typical "shoot-em-up" graphically violent video game.
The irony is that students will likely remember more about economic interdependence through Runescape then they will by reading and testing on the chapter on "American Capitalism."
It isn't all good though. Sometimes my 12 year old won't even go outside for hours on end. Eyes are glazed. He forgets to eat. Chores? What chores?
A recent commenter on the first post wondered what the impact of all this is on teachers.
Current brain research is proving that students today seemed to be "wired" differently. They are growing up in a visually intense, highly stimulating world. Their need for novelty, fun, and interaction appears to be much higher than previous generations. I think it means as educators we need to provide much more variety in instructional methodologies than we currently do.
That's my take on it.
The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.
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