Minecraft is a half-year elective subject at Riverside High School for grade 8,9 and 10 students. It focuses on citizenship, leadership development, community, collaboration, problem solving, creativity and communication. The students manage the server that we run. They monitor behaviour and learning both in the class time and outside of class time, our server is 24/7 hence students are welcome to play anytime. We have a charter set up that has been devised by students to ensure that they understand what is expected and the culture that we develop on the server and in the classroom is based on these shared expectations. It however, goes beyond this; students are learning so many different things. Using Minecraft as a bridge, students can explore almost anything they wish. So far this year the following have been included as part of student designed learning:
- Server management
- PaintShop pro (Video graphics / website graphics)
- Video editing (Recording people’s work)
- Creating and managing websites
Further to this students have learnt about:
- Technical literacy
- Ethical behaviour
- Standards and expectations of modern day society
- Creating an online identity
For and insight into one student’s learning journey with Minecraft from grade 6 to now visit: http://projectmistrhs.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/a_flemings-reflection-on-minecraft-and-my-learning-experience-in-game/
@falconcadet wrote this short piece about our learning in consultation with Ms Batty over Skype on a Sunday evening, school times and walls don’t exist for us anymore. We are changing the way we learn at school ☺
This term has started off at full speed. We have 20 primary students on our server now. They have a survival area that has been set up by our grade 8 students. Next week we start our grade 7 lunch program, with some students from grade 8,9 and 10 helping out. Yesterday we had a visitor from Learning Services North who chatted with the grade 9/10 class to see what they were learning and gaining from minecraft. The interest is building with regard to providing a space that gives students a place to connect and learn in a community that is not bound by the traditional walls of the school and classroom. A place that also removes the barriers that sometime exist for students in the traditional context. Early next month we will have a teacher and students from another primary school visit to explore possibilities. How exciting
Last week I joined the growing group of educators following @EduTweetOz on Twitter. This is a rotation curation account, a growing trend in a range of areas of interest. So what did I do – yes you guessed it, I signed up to ge a guest tweeter! So this week I’m the guest. We have had some great conversations over the last week focussing on Professional Learning, innovative PL, Rubrics, Why Twitter and more visit here to view them all via Storify
My first Storify grew out of a great question from a pre-service teacher about to start her first prac. See below for link
The task I have set myself today is to collate a selection of pictures that show what educators are doing today – could be interesting. NSW has just started back to school today and have PL. There are some great pictures coming through. Go to the twitter account above to see my retweets
Disclaimer – this is the first time I have used Storify, its not that hard. Still lots to learn.
[View the story "Advice for a pre-service teachers 1st prac" on Storify]
@falconcadet, my key tech leader for our schools Minecraft server, has put together some information to help others set up their own servers for educational purposes. @falconcadet works closely with @jokay from @jokaydiaMiners, she is his mentor supporting his understanding of considerations regarding server management from a technical and community perspective. So follow this link to find out how to set up your own school server – Minecraft in School
Recently the ProjectMIST students presented at the TATE/ALEA state conference. The conference was titled Read IT, Write IT and View IT. This week in our school newsletter a student’s perspective on the presentation was highlighted as one of the key moments in our schools week. To read about it go to Riverside High School’s Pendulum. I’m so proud of these students and the continued commitment that they have to their learning and the learning of others.
Welcome to our presentation on Minecraft and how you can use it as a tool to support literacy.
We hope that this session is an enjoyable one for you and one where you learn something new. Minecraft at Riverside High School is very much a student led project. Today we have 4 students present to support you in your learning. When we enter our server you will find that there are a number of grade 8,9 and 10 students ready to help you out also. Some of these students have become particularly excited over the last couple of days and as a result have set up some tutorial areas just for you. Be careful though, some of them have a keen sense of fun…. They are on the server to be your teachers. We have a strong community that enjoys peer to peer learning and social learning. They teach me new things each lesson, just the other day they taught me how to make fireworks. Best day in Minecraft so far!
Thoughts on why you loved lego
Take away sheet
Questions - contact me I’m happy to answer them
New Literacies embedded in Minecraft and animoto version
Colin Gallagher spent some time recently chatting with some of my students about how our server works, we were also joined by Rob Newberry. It was a great session and they asked some wonderful questions. Very proud of my students! Colin has a YouTube Channel that has a collection of interviews with teachers that use Minecraft in the classroom. We also participate in a Google Community called Minecraft in Education that is moderated by Colin. Its a great community where we often discuss pedagogy, issues and ideas
Another exciting day in the mines was had by our 9/10 class today, and even more exciting for me! This year we have deliberately increased the students need to create an online identity beyond the game and engage them in tasks that require consideration with regard to literacy. To do this we have created a ranking system, which I have re-blogged recently from Natbott’s blog, essentially it requires students to blog. I have in the past set students up with individual blogs and given them set tasks to undertake, with wavering success to say the least. Almost to the point where I was more frustrated than excited about the experience. This time is different. I have decided to approach it differently. I am not requiring them to have an individual blog, I am not requiring them to blog. Yet they want too and the momentum is building. The ranking system requires them to provide evidence of what they are doing in-game and this can then be placed on our blog. To start with I have been placing the work on the blog. You might think this to be a little odd, doing something for someone who should be able to do it for themselves, but the students need to want to do if for themselves. They need purpose! After putting up some of their work a couple of wonderful people from my twitter and google+ community responded, not to me but to the student. This was key, it required the student to respond. They had purpose to actively participate in the blog. They realised they had an audience beyond the class. An audience that was then using their work with their students, which was even more exciting. All of a sudden a few students started to sign up to wordpress.com so they could respond. This led to the next step, they need to upload their own content onto the blog. A side note here, I was extremely glad to see their enthusiasm but was starting to get really behind in uploading their work….I needed a solution real fast. The students have not taken any convincing. They have started taking on the roles of editor of our class blog. I discussed with them the importance of proof reading, to which they quickly devised a plan of attack, to ensure that their work was ready for publishing. Now I am finally excited about class blogging as it has a real purpose, it is owned by the students and they are taking over the driver seat. We will incorporate ranking up in-game with the work they do as editors, so this will provide extra incentive. Visit their blog at http://projectmistrhs.wordpress.com/
So how does the ProjectMIST Minecraft server and class work? My students run the server. They determine how our community works through the use of a charter or server expectations. They manage the technical side and determine the learning as a result. I support them by asking questions to ensure they are considering it from an educational standpoint. JoKayis their technical guide, she supports their learning again through well thought out questions. As a result of their needs regarding learning they have set up a ranking system to increase engagement. The core group of student leaders are managing a server that will have a community of about 120 students by July, we have a phased process for students getting onto our server. This helps in supporting our community and how we interact. Our server is whitelisted due to it being an educational tool linked to our school. It runs 24/7 because the students want the other students to have an authentic learning experience, especially with regard to their online identity.
The majority of students are playing Minecraft and they are setting their own projects and need to show the following:
- How they communicate
- How they collaborate
- How they create
- How the problem solve
- How they are creating and maintaining a positive online identity
Our students are now sharing their work on our blog http://projectmistrhs.wordpress.com/
I had a really nice moment yesterday. I was in a local bookstore talking to one of the staff there and as part of the conversation she worked out where I teach. She then enquired if I taught her nephew, which I said “yes he’s in my Minecraft class”. She responded “ah, you’re that lady”. At this point I was was wondering where this conversation might lead. Do I run and hide…do I stand proud and tall…this could be awkward or good. You see there are often mixed feelings in the community about gaming as a result of how non gamers interpret the time spent in the activity and not understanding what benefits can come about due to gaming. Non gamers don’t necessarily have an appreciation of the community, the problem solving and the collaboration involved, let alone the peer to peer learning that it enables and empowers. Anyway I braced myself. I was ready for what might be said, my heart was racing just a little. Then she said it. “I want to thank you for getting my nephew excited about learning. I want to thank you on behalf of myself and my mother. I want to thank you on behalf of my brother, his father. We are so appreciative of your effort and the way he has re-engaged with learning.” WOW! I had to fight back the tears, be aware that I do get a little teary about this sort of stuff. Rarely do we as teachers get feedback like this. It made my day. It made my day because one child had re-engaged with learning and his family could see beyond the game. They understood the impact if a positive community, one that allowed students to learn from each other and stretch themselves as people and learners.