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Dia de los Muertos and Classroom Living

by exquisite.corpse on Oct 29, 2012 at 02:05 AM}
In dev ed there are often a lot of emotions and sometimes emotional outbursts that prevent students from maximum learning: the stigma, the struggles, the discouragement of how many classes students have to take before they reach college level.
Any way, I had a student lose control of her emotions and disrupt class. I asked her to leave, and she did, but returned to ambush me, thus again disrupting my class and the class after hers as well. It reminded me of a couple of really sick managers I used to work for -- everything was about how she "felt" and she was the kind of student that could go from bully to victim quicker than an X class BMW can go to 30 mph. After our meeting (where she mostly cried and railed, again reminiscent of toxic managers), the next class had students gearing up for a Second Life avatar creation/orientation so we'd be ready to hit the many virtual festivities in Second Life this week provided via the expertise and courtesy of the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum, curated by Melissa Carrillo. The students were rushing up for our post-class activity, and Ms Disruption and her dramatic agonizing were pushed aside. How lovely it was to see the enthusiastic students take over the energy of the class, and stay about an hour after class helping each other create avatars and move in Second Life without my asking them to do so.
One student had to "blindly" create an avatar as she couldn't see the "circle" of choices. I said I also had a male avatar just to see if people treated me differently, something not possible in real life. When it was revealed she actually got a "cute girl with a smaller waist" she and the rest of the after-glow class were thrilled. I only had to mention that you could send friend requests, and off all the students went to friend each other (Facebook made this a verb!) They were excited to see each other in the Smithsonian space, and figure out how to personalize their avatars with little guidance from me. The struggles with Ms Morose were forgotten when one student said, "WOW. This is really cool. The students who didn't want to do this are really missing out." We'll be in Dia de los Muertos activities this week Oct 31-Nov 2. Hope to see some of you bards & artisans there as well.


I'm always glad to read about positive classroom experiences. Thanks for sharing!
I am trying to offer a game-based course to "dev ed" students this semester in my school. The difference is that, instead of playing virtual games in the class, we are building portfolios and students are awarded XP for their actions that will fill the portfolios with good stuff. Thought I fear it may be a bit of what the one fellow called "BLAP" gaming, I think it's a good thing with this kind of student...very engaging. Can this dramatic student of yours be part of the Second Life event or is she and I just missed that detail?
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