Decided to have a look at the BBCs new social network environment for kids Adventure Rock today on my day off. However, my efforts to login were dashed because, as the CBBC website reminded me, I am too old to go to Adventure Rock - it's for people younger than me! I fully understand and appreciate the reasons for this but if people in education are to have a look at this type of resource to evaluate it as a learning tool and to consider how it might be applied to enhance teaching and learning in schools then maybe some kind of compromise with the BBC could be arranged? That would be helpful.
I'm really interested in exploring this world particularly in view of what Prof.David Gauntlet and Lizzie Jackson found in their research about Adventure Rock that was presented at the Children in Virtual Worlds Conference last week.
A related BBC article offered this quote from Professor Gauntlett:
"...what children liked about virtual worlds was the chance to create content such as music, cartoons and video and the tools that measured their standing in the world compared to others...virtual worlds can be a powerful, engaging and interactive alternative to more passive media...they really do have good ideas to contribute and they are very good critical friends."
I was interested in how they classified the different 'types' of player that they found in the trial of Adventure Rock. Do you recognise yourself here?
- Interested in - Following a quest, solving a mystery, going on a journey, being outdoors
- Likely to be - The more confident children, no age or gender difference
- Characteristics - Examines the detail, curious and communicative, imaginative engagement with the mystery
- Interested in - Ranking, social position within the environment
- Likely to be - Both younger and older children; only some gender bias (boys slightly more than girls)
- Characteristics - Competitive, concerned with ranking and exhibiting that ranking to others
- Interested in - Presenting themselves to the world
- Likely to be - Both genders, possibly more older children
- Characteristics - Boys and girls wanted to 'make their mark on their avatar' and perhaps have their own face on there; older girls wanted to dress her up and have a make-up studio in Adventure Rock. Both boys and girls wanted to express themselves through the formation of a home/base.
- Interested in - Death and destruction, violence and superpowers
- Likely to be - Male, slight bias towards older boys
- Characteristics- In Adventure Rock frustrated that they did not have the means of expressing themselves other than beating the crocodiles
- Interested in - Accumulating anything of perceived value within the system
- Likely to be - Older boys and girls
- Characteristics - Collects pages and coins. Wanted Adventure Rock to have shops, enable gift-giving, establish and economic system and have somewhere to put things
- Interested in - Creating new lands, new elements to the environment, populationg the environment
- Likely to be - Younger childrenn (imagined worlds without any rules) and older children (imagined world with rules and systems-houses, schools, shops, transport,economy)
- Characteristics - In Adventure Rock frustrated that they did not have a means to express themselves
- Interested in- Giving everyone the benefit of their knowledge and experience
- Likely to be - Expert in the games, the environment, the geography of the system
- Characteristics - Spent more than three hours at a time playing/exploring Adventure Rock. An interest in how the game works.
- Interested in - Looking after their avatar and pets
- Likely to be - Younger boys and girls and older girls
- Characteristics- Wanted to meet and play with others. Wanted to teach their avatar to swim and somewhere for their avatar to sleep. Wanted pets to look after.
It would have been helpful to have these basic descriptions of the 8 models fleshed out a little but I'm sure that they can give us food for thought. In terms of teaching and learning I wonder how different children are in the real world from the way they are in the virtual world. Do they exhibit the same traits? Are they more confident or less inhibited about becoming a fighter or a nurturer in the virtual world? Also, should we and if so, how can we as teachers begin to use this character trait description/definition list to help us develop aspects of children's virtual world personality i.e can we encourage older boys to become nurturers? Mind you if they have the Nintendog experience then they might grow up that way inclined...