Video games in the classroom are becoming a popular way to integrate game-based learning into curricula. But Shawn Young of Sherbrooke, Canada has taken it one step further and actually built his own education version of World of Warcraft. He put his own spin on the extremely popular Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) and dubbed it ‘World of Classcraft.’
Shawn emailed Edudemic to alert us to this idea and we’re glad he did. It’s a fantastic idea and lets students benefit from the lessons of World of Warcraft but in a safer, education-friendly environment. The World of Classcraft has gotten quite a bit of buzz over the past few months (mentioned by the BBC!) and Shawn’s site dedicated to the game has seen about 200,000 visitors since launch. There’s definitely some desire out there for this kind of game.
So what is World of Warcraft? It’s basically an immersive video game where you can build up a character, explore towns and other locations, then battle and collaborate with other characters. Except these characters are actual people also playing the same game as you at the same time. So that character you just befriended could be a teenager in Tokyo or a student in Spokane. Either way, you’re interacting with people from around the world in real-time. The game is incredibly well detailed and designed, too. That’s a big reason it’s so popular.
Lucky for you, Shawn is running a Kickstarter campaign right now and describes the game in a bit more detail than I could:
World of Classcraft is a multiplayer, in-school, role-playing game I invented it with my students. Designed to be played in our classroom, each one of them is an adventurer trying to defeat the class and I, the teacher, act as the game master.
The basic mechanics of the game are simple. When a student does well in class, he/she gains experience and unlocks real life powers they can use in the classroom. When they do bad deeds, they lose health and can ultimately die.
In WoC, students form groups and choose a class (mage, warrior or healer); each class has access to specific real-life powers that range from being able to eat in class to having extra time for exams. They gain these powers by doing good deeds. As a team, they face down monsters (homework) and fight boss battles (exams). By being positive, helping each other out or getting good grades, they gain experience points and level up. However, it’s not without risk! Bad deeds entail loss of hit points, from which they can die, suffering horrible consequences (such as the dreaded Saturday-morning detention).
During every class, a random event occurs. These can be beneficial, dangerous or just goofy. The events keep players sharp and make for a bit of quirky fun. See the full rules here.
Playing the game can be pretty complex in a class setting. That’s why I built a rudimentary game engine to help us run the game and fine tune it over time. It manages the use of powers, the attribution of points, the assignment of tragic consequences like death and all the other logistics of the game.
Shawn is running a Kickstarter campaign right now and needs to raise $75,000 in order to be able to develop a second-generation game engine for World of Classcraft. Using the funds, he’ll build a system that lets any teacher leverage the power and enhanced learning environment of the game. He is hoping to launch the new game engine by the end of this year with beta testing taking place as early as the start of the school year around September.
As of this posting, the project has raised $1,283 of its $75,000 goal.
He is also hoping to actually raise MORE than $75,000 as he already has plans for what he’d do with $400,000 in Kickstarter donations. That’s detailed in the below visual: