Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Learning with Farmville

Recently, the craze in the staff room is virtual "Farming"! Yes, back to Facebook. Thanks to this Farming craze where we are all 'upgraded' as farmers (er... I guess land owners).

It's considered as an online community, a mass multi-player game (MMPG) without violence (I guess... so far, have not come across any of them yet).

What is it about?
It's about generating revenue from a piece of land when one registers. There, one could grow a range of crops (depending on the level one moves up to). Then we can harvest and sell the products. Occasionally, we could also generate revenue by visiting and helping out in others' farms, too! We could also give presents to friends/neighbours and hoping they would do the same too! It's another means to increase to our assets.

Of course, it also simulate the reality whereby plants will grow overtime (yes, the size of the leaves change; the fruits appear when it's ready!). Of course, the farm also comes with animals like cows and chickens where we could get the milk and eggs.

Here's the views of my 2 farms:

The Experience & the Learning
Only after having a point to go into it, then would through the various encounters, gain varied experience - it's really experiential learning!

  • It's about empathy. We could now (hopefully) able to better empathsize what the students have gone through - though many a time, we would be better to tell them that we understand and start dishing out advices that are seemingly workable. However, it's only after one has gone through, we would be able to talk from the perspective of the student!
  • The experience of lost, challenge, gain and hope!

The initial experience was not that great, afterall - lost almost every single cent (which I jokingly declared to the rest that I was a bankrupted farmer) for not knowing (or I should say, being not bother to follow) the rules of the games.

The rule is rather simple - plant and be on time for harvest! else, one is bound to lose money if all the crops withered!

That' also means planning... else, like what I did initially - to recove the lost $ - was not far-sighted - chose to plant strawberries that are ready within 4 hours - however, because I planted them at random times... I ended up monitoring it over the weekend in order to harvest them in time to recover my lost! Hey, that's time-consuming when not well planned out.

Ah! That's when the addiction begins... when one has to "monitor" the crops so closely that one tends to toggle between screens to look it! Well, well, definitely there's better way to do this - that is, to synchronise the planting time! hahaha... Well, well, well... see the symptoms of Game Addiction?

Look at a page from the "market" - look at the $ and time take to harvest... get it? Yes. It's really about planning to generate more revenue & planning to do less work (er... visiting) to gain more! Hahaha...

Without talking about revenue - just to coordinate the timing, can we apply mathematics to the planning? Yes, yes, yes... HCF, LCM... oh! when to 'report' to the farm for harvest? Hahaha.... Of course, the next thing is really to plan what to plan... so that to do less earn more...

Another aspect of this game is really about Game Addiction, Time Management of Individuals! Yes, it requires real good planning in order to manage all these without wasting much time - perhaps one of the things is to get students to experience and recommend how one could "play" efficiently.
Stretch a little bit more, it also touches on responsibility - yes, when one has to be responsible of what's he/she plants and not to waste resources - leaving the greens to wither!
Of course, the game has this mechanism built in - to earn coins, one could go around to helping others to clear the weed, to chase the crows away, etc... On one look, it's cultivating attitudes/values - of being helpful and considerate... and go to the extent of giving gifts to neigbours, to exchange for opportunities to earn more coins! Ah! Where's the problem? It's the intent, the motivation behind the act! It's extrinsically driven... and it's because one wants to benefit from the action! So, something to think about... Should students learn that to be extrinsically driven/motivated is the right way?

No comments: