Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Obama and World of Warcraft

By on November 11, 2008

Where were you when?  It’s a question I asked my readers and my classes the day after the election, and you know what answer I heard the most often?  Ironforge.

It’s true. Many of my students were online, playing WOW at the time the announcement was made.  

Now, don’t shake your head and tsk.  I mean, let’s face it, Obama is the president for the 21st century. He (or an aide) even had a Twitter account.  So I guess it shouldn’t surprise any of us that there is a huge population online at any given time.

So while we’ve all read headlines from around the world, many of us missed what happened in the 75th most populous country in the world… World of Warcraft.  There was a great metaphor going on at the time of the announcement that the majority of the world missed.  

While Chicago celebrated and Phoenix heaved a great sigh of disappointment, my student, Nicky, described the following:  

(The following names have been changed to protect the innocent)

So there I was as my dwarven Paladin, Frathnyr, in the middle of the ginormous siege of War-Gulf somethin’somethin’.  The Horde and the Alliance were all in full swing: the Undead, Tauren, Elves, and Gnomes had been fighting in multiple time zones and more than one hemisphere.  The dialogue box on the side was flying with the threats and trash-talk.  

Then, in the corner of the screen:

Widowmkr7: Obama won!

It was, like, this whole community moment.  And then it was as if everyone all over the battlefield, Horde and Alliance, stopped fighting and typed Dance (return).  There were jigs, funky chickens, and mashed potatoes all over the place.  


So, in other words, while most of the world read about what happened across the world, my students and millions of others were actually interacting with people all over the world who all, for one minute, dropped their differences and danced.
















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  1. Mister Teacher
    November 16, 2008

    I have a feeling that every few hours someone types in “My mommy made meatballs for dinner!” and a group of elves and Klingons type in “Dance (enter).”

  2. heather
    November 16, 2008

    I used to teach middle school mock trial and my students would meet up with some UCLA law students on WOW and get advice on their cases. They would come in with jargon and ideas they learned about on while battling side by side in Darnasus, Stormwind, etc…It’s not an insignificant game, to say the least.

    Even I must admit that I’ve been sucked into its clutches. I play about 20 minutes every other night or so, but I like to work in isolation. I don’t talk to anybody, I just slay. My students are dying to know my alias and server. “Don’t I spend enough time with you already?!” I yell.

    Bottom line, however, I like knowing the students’ language and what’s going on. I was always a comic book chick and gamer and, frankly, many of those students don’t have a lot of teachers sharing those commonalities. It somehow gets me some street cred in the classroom to have legitimately loved Atari all those years ago, and to have evolved into an adult who still plays.

    Thanks for the comment. I really enjoy your blog.
    aka Tweenteacher

  3. Pat
    November 17, 2008

    Why can’t the real world be this way. I love having people ask what I was doing when…(whatever major event happened). These students will remember this for a long time.

  4. bookcrazy
    December 8, 2008

    That is so awesome! 🙂

    Yeah, I know this comment is a little late.

    I was watching it/the election results/coverage live on my computer. I also watched Obama’s speech and I have to admit it was a pretty good one.

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