Minecraft brings about so many opportunities

This week has been extremely busy for us. We have seen the start of our Primary School trial. This is going along nicely, and as expected the students in the trial are on our server as I write this post – the learning does not stop when school stops for the weekend! We have had the opportunity to share our minecraft story with around 60 teachers from New South Wales (Australia) through the PLANE TeachMeet that occurred on Wednesday evening – this was awesome and such a wonderful way of learning what others are doing. The Project MISTers did give the Machinima competition a good crack, yet they ran out of time, I am so proud of them the effort they went to showed how much they have grown as young men.

I have received feedback that the Primary School trial is envied by those that have heard about it at other primary schools in Launceston, how awesome would it be to increase this project once the trial is complete. The 6 students we have in the trial were so enthusiastic about the opportunity, along with their teachers, that they had spent time planning the the town that they are building as their first challenge. The grade 9 student who is overseeing the primary students is doing such a wonderful job. He has set up a webs.com where they are involved in a forum and he has placed lots of helpful information there too. The other students in the class have also been helping out over the weekend, great to see them being so supportive.

Here is their first build where they have set up their chests, furnaces and crafting benches to help them with their building, mining and survival.

The TeachMeet that I attended and was invited to share our minecraft journey taught me so much. We were asked to focus on the following (http://plane.edu.au/2012/06/registrations-open-for-teachmeetplane-transforming-your-classroom-with-technology/):

  • How do you use technology to transform your classroom?
  • What do you love using technology for?”
  • What is one activity you could not do without technology?’

The things that were shared ranged from RPG using the Hunger Games in an English setting, the use of apps in digital story telling, Open Sim, the use of wikis and so much more…

The one thing I walked away with is this:

The most transformational part technology has to play  in the classroom is the provision of an audience beyond the classroom.

I am looking forward to the next TeachMeet at PLANE which will be on PLN (Personal Learning Networks).

The Project MISTers faced a huge challenge of getting a machinima ready for the http://sigve.iste.wikispaces.net/EduMachinima+Fest+2012  as they were on holiday at the time they found out. Regardless of this little factor they gave it their best shot. They didn’t meet the deadline but will finish it off to share with you all. The one thing I noticed this time was the increased maturity that they went into this with as they were quick to identify who had the required skills due to the limited time and what obstacles were present due to the holiday issue. Their problem solving skills have improved dramatically. Out of this task came one very significant moment for me. It allowed for some further in-class discussion and the discovery of one student’s passion for machinima. It turns out that this student has just had one of his machinimas uploaded on the Machinima YouTube channel – wow!! Not to mention he has over 3000 subscribers to his own channel. It is incredible what I am learning from my students in our minecraft lessons. I guess this puts the challenge out there for us as educators, connecting with and learning from students is so important now that we are immersing ourselves in areas that are often not our natural preference. The use of technology in the classroom can be a challenge, but it can also be extremely valuable in the educational process on so many levels.

Rm 59 – our mincraft classroom

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