Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Today, the class reached the "governance" stage: two of the young men wrote on a piece of paper in pencil proclamation that they were the rulers of the city and that they were going to be in charge. They ceremoniously taped their proclamation the black board at the front of the classroom. There immediatley arose a clamour from another student -- a young woman -- who loudly voiced her opinion that "they can't just do that!" This alerted others who were going about their business. "Can they just do that?"

My explanation was that no one had made any laws, there was no government in place. The two class mates had gotten together and made something happen. Now, they had to consider one of Harrington's two "Prime Directives": No crime may be instigated. Was there a crime instigated? To decide, I advised them to take a look the history of how governments came into being. One member of the class immediately respnded: "Divine Right!"

I hope their social studies teachers take note.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Starting the Buzz

Last week, just before Thanksgiving, the most recent class seemed to have reached a plateau -- they had some print outs of pictures of their buildings, and began pen and pencil lists of retail store inventories, service business equipment, some furniture, some rudimentary job descriptions. They didn't automatically word process descriptions, nor had they automatically entered into the realm of the "scenario".

A "scenario" is the term I use to describe the "story" behind the object: How did you decide on that building? What kind of person would you hire for that job, and what would you pay them? Benefits? The scenario is the descriptive narrative that rounds out the inventory of objects that constitute the virtual existence of a participant in a virtual world. The more real the details of the scenario, the more roundedness, the more value in the experience.

The value of research...talking up the choices of details, this began a buzz in the class -- the students were making inquiries and choices that made sense to them, that were of value to them. Instead of waiting around for the last bell to sound and go home to turkey and tv, they were making plans for the future.