Monday, September 10, 2007


Students in Tech writing talked about the use of virtual worlds in technical fields; we ended class with a visit to IBM's codestation Labyrinth.

My kids have these tapes - you remember them....the Magic School Bus? Well, Sharpie Boy has an addiction to the Busasaurus tape. We have watched it at least 568 times (exactly). Fortunately, his fearless accomplice, Giddy-Up Man, is currently addicted to Smallville, and we ALL know how cute Bo Duke is at any age.

Sadly, you can not watch both Smallville and Busasaurus at the exact same time. Even though we have multiple DVD players, everyone has to be in the exact same room. Generally, this is the same room I am in.

So, as I was stopping WW3 in my living room today, I was thinking about manners in virtual worlds. I am amazed by how many people do things in SL that they would never ever ever do in real life. For example, in real life, no one would ever walk into your classroom and start chatting about your shoes. Now, I only wear sandals or hiking boots, so maybe they WOULD talk about my shoes if they were at all interesting, but I doubt they would do it in my classroom. In real life, no one gets bent outta shape when you say, "sorry, I gotta run - I have class in 3 seconds." In virtual worlds, some folks think you are blowing them off when you say that. As a person with 6 classes inworld and 176 students, I can honestly say that if I say "I'm in class" or "I'm with students" - It is very likely true. It doesn't mean that the person isn't important; it just means that we have to catch up at a different time. Finally, no one would run up to me at the start of a class, tell me 10000 important things and then say, ok, gotta run. I have no way to focus on that kind of information. Email or a notecard is WAY WAY WAY better :-)

Anywho. In stopping the fight over Busasaurus and Smallville, I had some sort of epiphany. I am not sure what...but something...something creeping up and saying that in addition to everything else my students need to learn in SL, they need to learn manners. Manners are transcendent.

As we remember the vicitims of 9-11, please visit Liam Kanno's memorial inworld (search for 911 Memorial). May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in Peace and rise in Glory.

1 comment:

AJ said...


Thanks for posting this, I think you've hit the nail right on the head regarding manners in SL. I think, to some extent, this is also true in RL more and more. Or, perhaps, living in Northeastern New Jersey, where we have too many people in too close a space, it is just here that people are pushing each others to limits.

Also, thank you for your thoughts on 9/11. There are many of us who live each day with the vivid nightmare that was 6 years ago. I lost friends, I wondered for hours about others who I could not find, and each time I drive into Manhattan, I think about what might be next.

I remember watching the smoke plume up from my office window. I have a dear friend who watched from my hometown just across the river from Manhattan as the North Tower collapsed. Each day I drive past the ribbons on fences left by people who stood and stared in amazement.

Those who gave their lives, bravely, intentionally or not, help those of us to live with the loss and fear that is terrorism. But still I go into New York City, and still I count my blessings each day, and for this, the terrorists have already lost.