A vice-principal came into my classroom today. My students were working on a unit called “Ingolstadt” in a muve called Quest Atlantis. She watched them for a few minutes and said, “Man, are they ever ENGAGED”. I have a friend that calls virtual games like this and the activities they contain, “Behaviorist Pedagogy“. I, on the other hand, prefer labeling them as Experiential learning. I am not certain which of us is more correct. Perhaps we are equally correct, but I do know a couple of things for sure. My students are engaged, learn self-direction, and have fun when they are in Quest Atlantis. They are learning to interact, communicate, and collaborate with others in an on-line, teacher-monitored, safe environment. They are investigating Social Commitments and how to treat others respectfully. All the while being invested in a standards based curriculum. The more I see kids work with Quest Atlantis, and as I become increasingly efficient at teaching with it, the more I believe that MUVE’s like it definitely hold a very strong place in the future of education. If you would like to see a video about Quest Atlantis described by its creator, you can click HERE or just watch it below.
Sasha Barab Video
On a personal note, my son is one of my students when I teach school on this side of town. He was ill today and had to stay home. The computer in my kitchen has Quest Atlantis and Skype loaded on it. During my last class of the day, I skyped home and my son was able to attend my class and talk with his classmates as they worked their way through the Ingolstadt mission in Quest Atlantis. My son, a seventh grader at one of the middles schools where I teach is at an age where I think he does not appreciate me as much as he did when he was younger. However, I think he liked the fact that I was able to help him come to school on a day he was too sick to make it past our kitchen computer.