Child’s Play Virtual Identities and Avatars!

What is virtual identity?

Virtual identities can be a picture or graphic that makes up the child’s individuality within virtual environments.      

Avatar, resembles a two or three-dimensional character that is usually animated.

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The animation surpasses physical boundaries of our real world by allowing the child to incorporate physical characteristics such as wings, tail, colored or skin and hair. Your child can create an avatar in the MMORPG he or she can also utilize an array of graphics designed within the program. Children will find there are infinite possibilities when creating their ideal avatar. Infinite possibilities allow the child to let go of physical flaws related to their real life and feel more connected with their virtual selves. This process creates definition and meaning related to their performance and role within the game.

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A little more detail about Metacognition and Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD

Metacognition is your child’s ability to remember previous task or challenges, and then repeat them at another time within the video game.

Metacognition is also your child’s awareness of what he or she is thinking while they are playing a game or performing an action. However, metacognition is comprised of several aspects that your child is unaware of while playing video games. For example, cognition directs the internal processes of learning such as short-term memory, long-term memory,processing speed, and adaptation. This process takes place while your child is playing video games. Your child receives information to his or her short-term memory then assigns meaning to it. Children then transfer these new memories into long- term memories and finally form it into new information related to actions required within the game (Monem, 2014).

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  • The Zone of Proximal Development or ZPD Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist, developed Self-scaffolding in the 1800’s self-scaffolding is your child’s ability to remember new skills then implement those skills in a new situation or environment.



The zone of proximal development is the area between your child’s ability to start a new game without assistance or independent performance and his or her level of performance with support or guidance.

Researchers and theorist have incorporated concepts of scaffolding into the Zone of Proximal Development of ZPD. The concept of ZPD was not designed with games or gamers in mind. However, the concept has allowed new players to learn how to play games and successfully progress within the game. For example, your child may be attempting to complete a level within the game or avoid the death ostudent-776190_1280f his character; this form of self-pace allows your child to build new skills. Even though your child completed the current level, he or she may not be able to return tomorrow and finish it again. In some situations, the child may need to talk aloud in order progress. This form of self-talk allows your child to remember his or her previous actions while moving throughout the game. Researchers have used this same tool to promote new skill concepts into the child’s learning process while remembering a new skill. ZPD has been the premise of connecting children to new skills by allowing the learners to create new ways of advancing within games (Monem, 2014).



Does a virtual identity or avatar allow the gamer to be more successful in the game and learn new skills while playing?

Yes, a recent case study by Monem (2015) explained the process as metacognition, and self-scaffolding. Self-Awareness helps children recognize their abilities and keep track of their advancement within the game. Children rely on their mental processes and knowledge of the game when playing games. This concept allows children to experience positive changes in attitude while developing self-confidence.

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And the Game Goes on!

In conclusion, the zone of proximal development is the functional concept of most MMORPGs today. Metacognition plays a large role in your child’s ability and remembering functional aspects of mobile devices, gaming, and possibly online social interactions. By utilizing technology in the classroom educators, have the opportunity to enhance creativity, self-awareness, and self-confidence. In the next post, I plan to really dive into how technology can affect the classroom. If you have a questions or comments please leave them below would like to hear what your experiences have been while parenting a gamer.




Monem, R. (2015). Metacognition and Self-Scaffolding in MMORPGs: Case Study of an Adolescent Male Gamer. The Qualitative Report, 20(4), 454-465.