Ilse's weblog of random thoughts

Spore to the rescue

Darwin is a hot topic this year in education, but how do you interest children for his evolution theory? Jeroen Venderickx, from the Natural History Museum in Brussels, uses the free Creature Creator part of the game ‘Spore‘ to make student groups who visit the museum experience first hand how evolution works. His method proves to be very succesful, as classes are currently on a waiting list for this interactive museum visit.

In ‘Spore’, one can create and guide a creature through different steps of evolution.  In the museum, children are asked to create a creature that can keep safe against flying predatures. It’s inteersting to see how they each use different solutions, like putting spikes on the back of their creature, or giving it eyes that look up to the sky. This way, they actively think about evolution.

Another fine example of how (commercial) games can be very educational!


Big brother is watching WoW… and you!

Once again, World of Warcaft has proven to be useful beyond all expectations. After the recent articles about using the data from WoW servers to predict the spreading of diseases, there is now news about Blizzard helping the FBI to track terrorists. So be careful what you type in the chat channels ingame, cause big Blizzard seems to be watching every word you say.

This learned a teenager the hard way, after he allegedly wanted to test the claims that chatting about wanting to blow up a plane will allert the police, even in an online game like WoW.  His threats were monitored by Blizzard and reported to the local police authorities, who soon showed up on the young man’s doorstep to investigate his bold statements further. The investigation has even been turned over to the FBI, and the teenager faces federal charges.

So next time one of the npc’s wants you to perform a bombing mission over Hellfire Peninsula, do not brag to plainly in the channels about your victims and kills. Cause it can all be used against you 😉