Community, Identity, Leadership and Minecraft
I have recently been struck by the commitment that my lead students in minecraft have with regard to their server and those that use it. Consequently I have been thinking about community and identity and its connection to the leadership that the students who run our server display.
The last couple of weeks have provided a few great learning moments about these concepts as we have had a new group of students enter our minecraft community. As you can imagine, just like in the face-to-face world, there is a certain amount of social jostling that goes on while the students find their feet and build their identity within our community. What my lead students have discovered is that the way they display themselves within game is even more important than ever. They have found that they need to ensure that the new students feel safe and comfortable and that things are fair and respectfully handled. In short the lead students have to demonstrate the greatest commitment to our charter:
- Be respectful to others and work with them when required
- Help others that are less experienced
- Not hurt other players on purpose
- Speak appropriately
- Only build on land they have claimed for themselves and negotiate distance from other peoples land
- Be a collaborative team player
- Be supportive and act fairly towards others
This led to a discussion with the lead students about the plug-ins used on the server and whether or not they support the charter and positive development of their identities and the overall community on our server. The plug-in vanish consequently came under scrutiny as a result. This plug-in allowed some members to be invisible and then reveal themselves as they chose. The decision by the lead students was that this plug-in, although somewhat fun, had the potential to destroy the underpinning values and ethics that we hold as important. Especially when there were new members on the server and the potential for it to be used by someone in an unfair manner. The lead students decided that it was more about the impression that could be perceived by new members through having the plug-in and its consequent use that could lead to a lack of trust and a reduced feeling of being safe by those new members that was important to address and support. It has now been removed. It was interesting to watch the discussion around this plug-in and it became evident that the students were also keen to address other behaviours that they have been engaging in, which they view as fun and just “mucking around”. They identified that other students who are not part of the lead group could interpret them as a little concerning regarding fairness, respect and safety. Out of this conversation the lead students came to the conclusion that they needed to be more aware of how their behaviours could be interpreted by others and the flow on impacts this could have on their server due to the positions that they hold.
These students openly discuss tricky issues, they acknowledge that some of the decisions annoy them but the greater good of the program is what is important, rather than individual “muck about” moments. They are developing a wonderful understanding of ethics, morals, values and integrity and how they need to be considered beyond the self when in a leadership position. After all, leadership is not about being in a position it is about the action within the position. The learning that running a Minecraft server is providing these students is incredible. Who would have thought that such deep conversations would have developed around the concept of leadership, community and identity while playing Minecraft…
To see what is happening on our server go to http://minecraftinschool.wordpress.com/