Flat Classroom Students Want to Share Xbox Live ID’s

Sometimes things take us in a direction we cannot predict. When Elizabeth Helfant‘s Flat Classroom Project kids asked if they could share Xbox Live ID's with the other members of flat classroom it left us with our mouths agape.

And then…. why not?

If they can play with strangers, why not with “virtual classmates” and aren't these the kind of connections — social one's that make things stronger?

I'm still a little bit agast… or should I say Flat.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Alec Couros October 15, 2007 - 11:44 pm

I think that’s great as this is just tapping into the communication protocols in the culture of the children, just like you and I would follow each other on twitter, or read each other’s blogs. This is authentic and should be encouraged.

Steve October 16, 2007 - 12:01 am

I can understand the concern, you won’t be able to oversee those interactions at all. What if something goes horribly wrong?

But you’re dead on with your comment about strangers. Most of the time, they play with complete strangers. Often they’ll group up with strangers for a few hours, add them to the friends list and play with them on a regular basis. If they can do that with random strangers, then why not with virtual classmates indeed!

If you do anything special for it, I would forewarn parents that they will be doing so, and that conversations that occur there will NOT be supervised by the school, so the school cannot be held accountable for what occurs there and blahblahblah. You get the idea.

Heh, if they need a mentor there, have them ping me or Warlick’s son :)

Actually, maybe THEY can mentor ME! I could use some help so I don’t keep getting my hide tanned…

Anonymous October 16, 2007 - 2:47 pm

As someone who has experience with XBOX gamertags, I know that who you shrae your ID’s with should be monitored and this is one way to do that. It would give students the opportunity to interact with others in a safe way. You never know who you are going to meet online!

jason October 16, 2007 - 4:23 pm

Actually, I’d add to Steve’s comment and if you do tell parents that you’d doing this, you should also alert them to the fact that XBOX Live has Parental Controls built in that can allow parents to limit what their kids have access to. For instance, parents can force friend invitations to be reviewed by them, they can limit voice interactions to only friends, etc. More information is available at the xboxlive site:

I realize this is a little off topic, but it’s something I have a real problem with. If as a parent you buy your child a toy without an understanding of how it works or the capabilities it provides, you’re not doing your job. The Live service provides parents with many ways to keep their kids safer; just like a lock, they only work when you use them.

Steve, if you need some help (for instance, maybe you’d like someone to play Halo 3 with) you can send me a friend request. My tag is ‘three eyed crow’ minus the quotes.

Vicki, if you’d like more information about XBox Live, the community, and how it works please let me know. I’d be happy to share my knowledge.

Vicki A. Davis October 16, 2007 - 4:26 pm

Steve– I think those are great points!

Jason– YES! I’d love to develop some sort of “template” information to give parents when we send the note home. I’ll go see if I can find your blog to connect.

This is something parents should be educated about. It is also something that is great to link up students.

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