Today was the second day of Minecraft Club. The students were very excited when the entered the room. We had to begin by installing MinecraftEDU on everyone’s computer. I just used one of the extra computers as our server, which was more than capable of handling it without any lag whatsoever. The only problem we had was when it went to sleep and stopped the server.
We used Joel Levin’s Tutorial World. There were some problems with the more advanced students moving too quickly through areas but I was able to stop that by freezing them or teleporting them back to where I needed them.
The building arena was challenging but most came together and eventually made the structures. I was proud to read about several students enjoying the challenge and working together!! Who says you can’t learn from video games?!?!
Over spring break I plan to layout a city/village where they will each have a plot of land to build a house, plant a garden, whatever they want to do within their area. I will allow them to do this in creative mode and we’ll see what happens. The plan is to layout streets and put a sign out in front of each students home along with street signs. I can’t wait to see what happens with this as they learn from one another and think about scaling and designing their home.
The first meeting was a big hit. We started off with introductions and establishing some boundaries for in the game. I heard about lots of things I didn’t even know where possible in this process. Then I introduced students to the blog we would be using (MES Minecraft Club). They all made their first post and judging by the number of page visits jumping from 147 to now over 900 I think their excitement is evident. After blogging I led them to minecraft.net to play a classic demo version just to get some experience with the game if they had not already. They all seemed to have a good handle of it by the end and it was evident who has played before. I can’t wait to see what we can come up with!
The precursor to this assignment, the 2012 Horizon Report K-12, excites me about the future of education. If only we didn’t have to endure all the growing pains and oppositions to change.
I am currently a K-5 computer/technology teacher so I chose to look into the challenge of teaching digital media literacy skills. Many are under the impression that using technology in the classroom is enough to prepare students with the skills and knowledge they will need in their future. Research shows that educators need to “teach about media and technology” rather than with it (Hobbs, 2010). I feel I am guilty of this and I know that very few if any of the elementary teachers in my district are instructing about using technology. With so much available on the internet and the ability for anyone to publish information and content, its vital to teach students to think critically about how they use digital media.
Through this assignment, I am now more aware of my responsibility to prepare my students about media and technology, not just how to use it. I want to teach my students how to think critically and to ask questions about what they consume and to be responsible and respectful in what they create.
Buckingham, D. (2009). The future of media literacy in the digital age: some challenges for policy and practice. Euromeduc, Media Literacy in Europe: Controversies, Challenges and Perspectives, Bruxelas, Euromeduc, 13-24.
Martens, H. (2010). Evaluating media literacy education: Concepts, theories and future directions. The Journal of Media Literacy Education, 2(1).
Hobbs, R. (2010). Digital and media literacy: A plan of action. A White Paper on the Digital and Media Literacy Recommendations of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy. http://www. knightcomm. org/digitaland-media-literacy-a-plan-of-action.
(I’m still having trouble publishing to YouTube. I’ve also tried to use the embed feature from xtranormal but that didn’t work either. For now, here is a link to my animation.)
The software codes are in and I’ve tried a bit of testing. It doesn’t seem like it will run smoothly on the current lab computers. Fortunately we have new Dell Optiplex 3010’s nearly ready to be put in place (hopefully after next week). I’m not sure we will be doing any mining or crafting on our current Dell E series.
I sent home 25 letters to the students I selected and have received 19 yeses so far. As part of the experience I would like to have the students contribute to a club blog. I’ve created a class (club) blog though kidblog.org and created a name for each participant. The plan is to have them blog throughout the experience. The first day we may be doing this while we wait for the new pc’s.
For the first meeting I am also planning on the following:
- Welcoming everyone and showing my excitement and enthusiasm
- Having students introduce themselves since it will be a multi-age/grade group
- Discussing/Establishing rules while in the game
- Going over students expectations, what they want to get out of the group and what they want to do (This may also be their first blog post.)
That’s all I have so far.
I have made my final selections and handed out letters to go home to parents. I’m hoping for positive reactions from parents.
I also submitted the PO to TeacherGaming today, so I should hear back from them by Wednesday. I’m hoping sooner so I can begin loading the software to practice and see what will work best.
WOW!!! As I talked to each of the classes I was overwhelmed by the excitement and desire of so many students to participate. This is going to make the selection process very difficult because it will leave so many disappointed students. I’ve taken many things into consideration when selecting students for the group because I wanted a good mix of students, so I was careful when choosing.
This weekend I am going to finalize the selections and do my final revisions on the parent letter. I’m awaiting the codes from TeacherGaming LLC so I can play the game myself and learn a bit more. I’m already prepared for some students knowing much more than I do, but that should promote a good learning environment.
I was blessed with a two hour delay Wednesday morning and after getting some necessary work done I spent the next two hours “putting together” my Minecraft Club. I went back through the sites I had bookmarked to dig deeper and figure out what I needed to do now that this was becoming reality. The first thing I did was put together a parent letter for students I would select to help pilot the program. The letter explained a bit about the game and the educational value it provided. That same morning I also spent a lot of time reading about other Minecraft clubs and watching videos from Joel Levin AKA The Minecraft Teacher.
Throughout the day on Wednesday I was in contact with our tech coordinator so I could see if it was possible to set up a server and if so, learn what I would need to do. I heard a lot of tech jargon I didn’t really understand, but that being said he is going to set me up with a section of our server with the necessary processing power and ram to work for 25 students. I now have to wait anxiously for the account codes and keys to the software to begin this setup and begin learning more about the game.
I am probably moving too fast, but I want to have at least two solid months to pilot the program before summer break. Depending on how this goes, it could turn in to a summer program.
As mentioned before, upon returning from the Ohio Educational Technology Conference, where I heard and saw many sessions about games and learning, I came home fired up and ready to find ways to apply this research in my school. I soon realized how difficult this would be considering the current staff. I continued to research the idea anyway and came across the game Minecraft.
Now, I’d heard of the game before, but never tried it. After reading about the game and its educational values I decided to try the game myself. As I played the game I knew I had to figure out a way to get this into the school. I put together an informal request to the principal pointing out the value of the game and the idea of starting an after school club and asking if there was money available to make a purchase or if she had any ideas of where I could go to make a request. I got the response from her saying that the club sounded like a great idea and that the money was available so I could just fill out the requisition. I put together the requisition and placed the order for 25 licenses plus the MinecraftEdu custom mod through minecraftedu.com on Tuesday and I’m currently waiting for account codes.
Although this assignment took considerably more time than the previous ones I found it useful in getting back into the mindset of an active researcher/learner. Having been out of school for only a few years I couldn’t believe I had forgotten as much as I did about researching and citing sources. It was good to get back into the swing of locating scholarly research and learning about the many fresh new ways to do so with the advances in technology and the number of publications now found online.
In order to stay relevant to my students and in today’s society and in order to prepare my students for the 21st century I must stay current on today’s technology, educational and otherwise. Growing up a “gamer” and still enjoying a good video game, this research intrigues me. Despite some gray areas such as what to do about topics needing covered for the current format of standardization tests, I see great potential in video games leading to deeper, student centered learning, while promoting many of the skills contributing to their future success.
Finally, throughout my journey in this course I’ve found and subscribed to many useful resources, of which I can now add Google Scholar email alerts. Now, if I only had time to read even a small portion of these!
Link to Wentworth C – Annotated Bib