21st Century Rules – No Spamming in Text Chat

iburst1Last week, I had to discipline a couple of students in my classroom for some behavior that goes against the rules in the virtual world Quest Atlantis. Quest Atlantis (QA) is an international learning and teaching project that uses a 3D multi-user environment to immerse children, ages 9-15, in educational tasks. QA combines strategies used in the commercial gaming environment with lessons from educational research on learning and motivation. The acronym IBURST is used to help students remember the rules in QA. QA is not only helping my students achieve curricular goals but it is showing them how to behave in a safe and responsible manner in a virtual environment, something that will be essential as we move into the 21st century.

The students in question repeatedly typed the letter “U” into a line of text chat. This had the effect of stretching out public chat so that scrolling was required in order to see what was being said. Several students asked them to stop and they did not. This situation gave me an opportunity to teach what I believe is the most important IBURST rule and also the most important rule that I have in my classroom…Respect Everyone. I had them write the IBURST rules 29 times (I love prime numbers) and also construct and send letters of apology to the text chat victims. My hope is that they learned an important lesson about appropriate behavior in an on-line environment.

Imagine if everyone in Second Life, WoW and other virtual places followed the IBURST rules…wouldn’t those places be even better than they are now?

agamenonisOn a personal note, last night I had the privilege of watching my nephew Wyley play in the state championship basketball game which they won. He was their starting point guard and a real team leader for the Charles M. Russell High School basketball team. I was his coach in middle school and even then, there were times he could navigate himself and the ball through people like they were standing still. He did that several times last night…It was like he was floating. I was there when he was born and have watched both he and his brother Zach grow into incredibly talented, kind, and responsible young men. My brother, Mike, and his wife Becky must feel very good about their two children. Go Rustlers!!!

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2 Responses to “21st Century Rules – No Spamming in Text Chat”

  1. Hey, Jeff,
    No, you were not too hard on them, imho; though I will say that younger children don’t really “get” the impact of spam chat until they run into it, either as a recipient or by engaging in it experimentally. I agree with you that it is a very teachable moment: One of my students generated a warning email from a QA chat monitor not a day after I’d opened up the worlds to him–after dealing with it in discussion with all four of my 4th grade classes, we have not had a single recurrance of the infraction. The shared environment is soooo valuable that the kids learn to value it, and how to show they do. Keep up the good work: we need to get our classes together soon! Scheduled event?

  2. Deangroom Says:

    So there are no hell yeahs in QA? I love the old school consequence. And great to show the school community that it serious learning. Cheers. Dean.

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