Book Review: “A New Culture of Learning” (and World of Warcraft)

The second-to-last most recent book I’ve had to read for my Masters course was called A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change. It was penned by Douglas Thomas and John Seeley Brown. A more interesting fact: it was the first e-book that I actually read on the Kindle App on my iPad! Review aside for a moment, it was really nice to highlight, add notes, and see what other users had highlighted in the book.  It helped me focus more on the big ideas instead of getting bogged down in the details like I usually do.

The “new culture” of learning mostly focused on the internet and how it’s changing our lives.  It’s making learning span across the generations, it’s allowing us to learn and collaborate with people around the world, and it’s also helping us to fill in the gaps (referred to as tacit learning) where traditional classroom instruction doesn’t usually cover.

One of the things that I am finding as I keep reading these types of books are the references to playing World of Warcraft. Full disclosure, yes, I have played WoW for a few years recreationally.  (In fact, it was one of the places where my now-husband and I got to know each other.)  I will agree with the authors of the book that you do have to learn how to control your character and to learn how to make choices on what gear is going to be best for the role you play in the game. However, many references were to ‘raiding’ which is end-game content. Your character needs to be a high level in order to enter in the raid areas. Raiding requires lots of time and a guild/group that actually is big enough to enter. (You need a minimum of 10 and a max of 40 characters.) In the years I have subscribed to the game, I have not been on a raid. One would have to put in a lot of time to get to where they are suggesting the learning takes place!

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I agreed with most of its concepts.  I do wish that there would have been a chapter or at least a section dedicated to how we stay safe online and have to deal with privacy issues. (Also, how to help students with learning about privacy and digital footprints!)

The current course I’m in (Critical Issues in Educational Technology) has a lot more reading than my past courses have had.  Perhaps I’ll do reviews for the other three books I have to read for the rest of the semester, too! Do you have any feedback on these issues? Let’s talk in the comments!

Until next time, keep His song in your heart!

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