Was over at Andy Carvin’s Learning Now page and read about a group working to create a MMOLG – a Massively Multiplayer Online Learning Game. MMOGs have been around for awhile . . . but I can’t think of any that focus on “learning” things we teach in school.

The research seems pretty clear that playing games and sims creates all sorts of learning environments but Grokit seems to be creating something different. What that “something” might be isn’t exactly clear.

What the game is and how educational it will be remains to be seen, but venture capitalists are throwing money at them. Something is afoot.

But just the fact that the group is working to use the proven idea of MMOGs to get into the educational market is exciting to me. That fact that money is being thrown at them is even better. Past “educational” games have been so poorly written and clunky that few kids actually played them, let alone learned anything from them. Here’s hoping Grokit is busy creating something that we can put in front of kids and actually use.

Similar things are already out there. One I’m messing with a bit is something called PMOG, the Passively Multiplayer Online Game.

PMOG is an infinite game built on individual network histories, transforming our web surfing into ongoing social play. With a game head-up display in Firefox, players can bomb each other, wage war over web sites, and lead other users on web missions. Ordinary web sites become caches for items and currency. PMOG fuses an MMO into our WWW.

PMOG stands for Passively Multiplayer Online Game. Players play without playing; clicking around the internet turns into experience points and currency.

This unconventional massively multiplayer online game merges your web life with an alternate, hidden reality. The mundane takes on a layer of fantastic achievement. Player behavior generates characters and alliances, triggers interactions in the environment, and earns the player points to spend online beefing up their inventory. Suddenly the internet is not a series of untouchable exhibits, but a hackable, rewarding environment.

Confusing and interesting all at the same time. I like the idea of using the web as the game interface and envision teachers creating tours / trails for their students to follow, with learning built into the sites that they visit.

The world is busy changing! Can the education world be far behind?