This is sort of a shout out to anyone who might have been thinking about this or who has read up on these ideas else where. I'm happy to say that chances to do research and read are few and far between since Madeline is taking up most of my time (waking and sleeping). If anyone knows of any research in the area of micro societies/values in the classroom and in the video games give me a shout out. Yeah pretty vague request I know.
I've been thinking a bit lately about the artificial society I create in my classroom. The rules that I have established with my students and the freedoms they enjoy when they respect the rules. My micro-society is not a good representation of the community outside my classroom (heck school's) doors but I feel that it is a good start based on the needs of the students and the expectations placed on me by parents.
I haven't used the games the I listed way back in June to teach with but have instead started giving them out to the grade five students at my school for two weeks at a time. They have to promise to come in and talk with me about the game once they have played it and if they get bored they need to discuss that as well.
I've been questioning them on their perceptions on the games 'realness' and how close the game is to what it is meant to represent. A few have had troubles with the lines of reality and fantasy in games like SimCity and Civilizations. They assume that the thin layer of control and perception they have is all that they need when they play the game. Many of these views are artificial and that is easy enough to see with many fantasy games but with the simulation games students seem to trust the content more and aren't as likely to question it. Without feeding them the answer I have been trying to draw out that these are just someone's artificial representations which (like the rules in my classroom) are flawwed. I'm hoping that they can learn things fom the mechanics of the game. More than just the old story in Sim City about Raising Taxes= Angry Citizens. I want them to learn that raising taxes means more in the game but even more still in real life.
I guess that's how the rules work in my classroom. They teach students what is important in class and hopefully those same things transfer out to real life. Especially the no running in the halls rule!