Initially when the class was told we were going to be using a virtual world to create an educational game I was intrigued. I was wondering how we were going to make the game educational. I have used Second Life before in another class and was not excited to be using it again. I do not have a negative reaction to the program, I just wanted to learn something that I have not already used. My first impressions were that it was going to be easy to create the game because I have created a game with a similar format before.
Creating the game was a good experience. I was not thrilled about having it be pirate themed, but once the group got started it was interesting. Instead of working alone on the project, we made groups and each had topics to work on in their space of the virtual world. My group worked really well together, we all have a desire to create good quality work in our classes. Everyone worked hard on their parts for the game. Communication was very important to our success in creating the game. Using Acrobat.com we were able to make documents and share our work and ideas with each other in and outside of class. It was a real help when it came to imputing information into the simulation.
There are limitations to using virtual worlds for educational games. One limitation that we discussed in class is the open world where young students can be exposed to adult topics and images. There is a time element to creating these types of games. In a group it took us a while to create the simulation game. If I was a teacher building this on my own in spare time. it would take quite a while longer to create. If the teacher has other people make the game, it could be very costly. Another big limitation of using these worlds for educational games is the accountability that the students are playing the game and actually learning the information. I can see students being more interested in flying around the island than trying to read and learn the information that they need to. Once one person starts to do something else others will probably join in. Since it is a computer game it can be seen as not personable or professional. The students might not take it seriously.
Looking back on the experience, I feel that I have learned more about using virtual worlds for games and why they could be useful. I learned how to use the program from before but I did not learn about how they can be really effective. I learned that from this class. Working with a group that communicates and works well together is an important part of building a game like this. It is also an important part of any group project for that matter. Since the group wanted to create a good final project we put our minds to it and created a good game with interesting content.