What do games have to teach us?

Why play a MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) in school?

A well designed MMO can provide students with an opportunity to acquire and practice an array of essential 21st century skills and literacies as described in the ISTE standards:

ISTE: The International Society for Educational in Technology

Standards (NETS•S) and Performance Indicators for Students

To play these games, students must collaborate, problem solve, communicate, and stretch their imagination and think creativity. Playing these games in school provides a safe space for them to use interactive social media in a mentored environment where they can learn and practice safe, appropriate and civil online behavior.

Skills Highlight:

  • Digital Citizenship - A New Culture of Learning highlights how participatory media is a vital part of the world in which our children live. It is important to provide mentored opportunities for children to learn & practice citizenship within these online communities. Anne Collier, Co-Chair of Obama's Task Force for Online Safety & Technology Workgroup, advocates the importance of finding ways to work with children using the tools of their world. In fact, it is critical if we are to help them develop the skills necessary to function in a safe, civilized and knowledgeable manner online. Summary of Recommendations found on page 6 of OSTWG Final Report.

  • Collaboration & Problem Solving - Playing MMOGs give students an opportunity to play & work collaboratively as they help each other solve problems and complete quests. Many of the quests are specifically designed to require a group of players to complete the task. This encourages players to move beyond single player mode and negotiate with others on how to work together in order to successfully complete the challenge. In his book, "//Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning//!",Marc Prensky explores an array of things kids learn playing game.
  • Imagination & Creativity - Imagination & creativity are cited as essential objectives for the 21st century student. Both Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind) and Sir Ken Robinson (The Element) have devoted books focused on why creativity will be one of the most important skills to determine success in our quickly changing world. What makes LEGO Universe unique is that it goes beyond simple game questing and encourages users to create, animate and share their own content.
  • Spatial Reasoning - Navigating and building in a 3D virtual space develops spatial reasoning.


Why LEGO Universe?



LEGO's commitment to safety makes it a great choice for kids, parents and schools.

  • Monitors on 24/7
  • Chat filters
  • All user created content must be approved by monitors (approvals very timely)
  • Parent/Guardian must be pre-approved for "Best" friending option
  • Easy to report problems or bad behavior

Learning Design

LEGO has a long established record of developing well designed toys & games for kids of all ages. They bring that same care into the design of this MMOG.

  • Objective: The game has a simple, elegant back story. What could be more exciting than saving creativity? Imagination is the building key to every quest. Nothing an be done without it. Players can always collect imagination by building & smashing - can you imagine anything that an 8 year old loves to do more than build & smash? :D Brilliant!

  • Leveling: Each new skill is introduced with a tutorial and help prompts. As players master each new skill, the game becomes incrementally more complex. Players can obtain more interesting and powerful gear as they level

  • Collaboration: While game players can quest alone, the game is designed to encourage collaboration to successfully complete many of the quests

  • Economy: Managing inventory & money is an integral part of the game. Players win, collect, buy, trade and sell equipment, models and bricks. Players must constantly be making decisions about what to keep, what to let go and how to save or spend their money.

  • Specializing: Joining factions allow players to focus on special interests such as exploring or building.

  • Variety: Each player can create and play up to 4 mini figures allowing them to try and explore different factions

  • Evolution: Although the MMOG has only been around since October 2010, it already has demonstrated a commitment to keeping the game fresh with new worlds, new builds, seasonal games and new challenges. Lego is working on other options such as tools for making machinima (video created using 3D virtual worlds). We hope to see that available to test during this class. Fingers crossed! :

Contact Info

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call:
Marianne Malmstrom
(201) 568-5566 X7800