Here’s how one high school teacher uses Lord of the Rings Online in her English class

What do you say that we all go and enroll at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics?

Hear me out here: It’s at this school that Dr. Helana E. Brigman, an English instructor, is using Lord of the Rings Online to help teach Tolkien to her class. She intends to take players on a two-week intensive journey into the game: “Each morning we will create our own fellowship and work our way through the game’s epic book quests on low-level starting characters (all Hobbits). In the afternoon, we will roam Middle-earth on our choice of characters, and I will introduce you to deeds, crafting, and hobbies.”

Best class ever? We think so!

And while we’re on the subject of this gaming community, Winterstock V is happening this weekend and will be broadcast over LOTRO’s official Twitch stream. The four-day player event involves a schedule of dozens of bands performing concerts on the Landroval server.

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outbound_flight
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outbound_flight

Hope they make good use of the Scholar’s Hall in Bree! SSG added it in for just this reason.

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Sam Emerson

One thing this article forgets to mention is that this is part of the school’s annual “J-term”. during this time, teachers offer fun courses for their students to attend. hope this clears up some of the confusion.

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GumpsGang

Great job Dr. Brigman! You are a positive force in our LOTRO community!

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GumpsGang

Great job Dr. Brigman! Keep up the great work!

There are a lot of positive comment here (and a few underinformed … blogs).

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BalsBigBrother

The teacher mentioned here streams on twitch under AgentBrigman. I would suggest that the folks who have doubts go watch one of her streams and see what she actually does in a lesson rather than assume you know based on your preconceived ideas.

At the very least you will be dismissing it with some actual facts begin you :-)

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Melissa McDonald

I would have made an A in that class :D

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Angel

Wow I can’t believe how many people are down on this idea? Games can be a great way to teach provided the teacher stays on task.

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Armsbend

You know what’s better than games to teach people? The books you are teaching about. In what part of Tolkein does any kid – rich, poor, sharp or dull – need an aide in understanding? It is juvenile with pre-teen concepts at best. Light versus dark. Good versus evil. Nature versus the industrial age. Hell, I’d be pissed that a teacher chose Tolkien over Le Morte de Arthur anyway.

Not everything needs an aide to intensify what is already there. Let people develop their own ideas and fantasy without having to put a coloring book over it saying THIS IS GANDALF.

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Koshelkin

It’s also a slow-burning story with dense writing, sophisticated english and… I’d like to see you bringing a class of minors getting through the first book of LotR. It’s a fantastic triology and Tolkien’s literary style is exemplary but kids are kids and audio-visual environments are much more engaging for them(and they are also better suited for education).

The better question is if Tolkien’s work is important or influential enough to be used as a subject in High School classes.

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Armsbend

I don’t know. I read that book so early and on my own and not once did I feel overwhelmed by the English. I always found it very accessible. Certainly more than Dickens which we all had to read at that time. I couldn’t have been older than 12 or so. Granted I was always in the highest reading classes and was a good student but still – I believe in raising kids up by challenging them.

*shrug*

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Koshelkin

First you need to get their attention and then you might get their interest. I think it’s a playful way to introduce kids to Tolkien and some of them might pick it up after the classes. I doubt they will take the time to go through the whole story.

The teacher could still give out some handouts to broaden the perspective, initiate a discussion about the experience and, ultimately, some homework(essays, protocols) to actually challenge the kids.

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Rolan Storm

Granted I was always in the highest reading classes and was a good student…
Yup. Not everyone are, right?

…I believe in raising kids up by challenging them.
Yeah. I’d even say it works.

Still, they are kids. Kids like to play. And binding classic lessons to gaming is good idea. Education are not supposed to be watered down always, but in some cases games – online or not – help.

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Armsbend

I feel in something as easy at Lord of the Rings it is a detriment. In my school my class skipped Tolkien completely but the lowest levels did do the Hobbit. Because it is very simple minded and easy to understand. Imo, you don’t need a game to have kids get into what amounts to a comic without pictures.

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Rolan Storm

I got it. Your level of education and intellect protest, right? My point is something sticks way better when it’s gaming.

I do not see Dickens you mentioned or Tolstoy Koshelkin did educated this way. But I still remember Metal Gear story because it was my first game that had story.

I do not think you are wrong, I’m just saying maybe there are ocasion when this approach is a good thing? That’s my opinion.

latorn
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latorn

Your comments lead me to believe you haven’t worked with many kids of this generation before…

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Melissa McDonald

I don’t think your average reader knows Tolkien-used words like “weregild”.

It’s language from an earlier time – not just a previous generation.

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Armsbend

Every novel should have some word or concept that you look up the meaning to. That’s the entire point. I didn’t say Tolkien was dumb – it isn’t. But it isn’t smart either.

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Melissa McDonald

You’re so wrong it’s breathtaking. Tolkien was a genius-level linguist. He invented, and then composed poetry in, several made-up languages that were not only grammatically correct and viable, they rhymed in their native tongues, and he provided English translations that were beautiful poetry, accurate translations, and also, rhymed in English. C’mon, man, this is one instance where your high-toned attitude is so lofty it can’t see the trees for the forest.

Duey Bear
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Duey Bear

More classic books could use accurate game adaptation for this more visceral experience.

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Koshelkin

Hmm. Tolstoi’s War and Peace, the MMO. <.<

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Rolan Storm

:D That was funny.

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Paragon Lost

Very, very cool.

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KatsPurr

This sounds AWESOME!