Completing Warcraft 3 again – why a good computer game is like a good lesson.

Whilst tidying out my cupboards I found a copy of Warcraft 3 (and accompanying expansion the Frozen Throne).  Most games of this era had not survived my clearing culls, but this game has a soft spot in my heart.  Not only was it one of the best games I played with an excellent story line, but I revisited all the places in the game when I played World of Warcraft for four years.

Completing the game again was like taking a trip down memory lane.  I revisited all the places I had been to in World of Warcraft, many of which held fond memories (in the same way that childhood memories are fond memories). 

So was I prepared to rejoin World of Warcraft after a year of not playing?  Blizzard gave me a free week to entice me back.  Unfortunately as a level 80 character who has completed most of the game, there isn’t much left to do.  Player vs Player action isn’t balanced and isn’t much fun for my hybrid class.  I don’t have the time or inclination to level up my cooking/fishing skills or to go around doing the same kind of things over and over again – too much repetition.
I couldn’t be bothered to level my level 60 and level 70 characters, which would take many times longer than it took to complete Warcraft 3.  Another reason for not completing these tasks is that there is very little story line linking the quests together.  Not like the story arc that runs through the Warcraft3 game.

So what made Warcraft 3 a good game for me?

  • A good story arc to give me a reason to keep playing (it held my interest)
  • A different experience every time you play – not the same one time after time
  • Something that doesn’t take forever to see any progress.

As a teacher I see that these are some of the requirements of a good lesson?  I’m not sure this means I have a future in game design, but perhaps there are still more lessons to be learnt from the computer games industry…

Visiting Beijing – again

A teacher who has the opportunity to visit China is very fortunate.  This was my 3rd visit to China in 18 months which makes me extremely lucky indeed. 

I had applied for TIPD funding for myself and 3 other members of the staff to go on a fact finding visit to Beijing School for the Blind.  I was blown away by the extremely hospitable and generous nature of the staff from our host school who went to great lengths to show us their culture as well as their school. 

Staff from 2 schools

We managed to visit all of the Beijing cultural attractions – the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Beihai Park, the Olympic Village, The Hutongs, Wang Fujin street and so on. 

We also spent a great deal of time in Beijing School for the Blind looking at their lessons, policies and teaching pedagogies.  What amazed me most was the rate of progress over the 12 months since I last visited.  The staff, buildings and teaching were excellent – I’d be more than happy to work there myself.  We also had a a brief tour of two other special schools, both again with dedicated and compassionate staff.

Chinese education is moving forward at a tremendous pace.  Chinese SEN education is moving forward even faster.  At the moment Chinese SEN teachers are learning techniques and strategies from us, but in a few years we could well find that the tables are turned.

If you want to read more about my visit to Beijing School for the Blind click here.