Minecraft – Students teaching teachers :)
It has been very busy for a number of students in the Minecraft class over the last couple of weeks. Students have been able to share their learning with educators in NSW schools in both the private and public system. In doing this they have embarked on an extraordinary journey that at times felt surreal. On Saturday the 20th October I was invited to present at the PLANE Festival of Learning, a conference in Sydney that featured the launch of PLANE (Pathways for Learning, Anywhere anytime – a Network for Educators) for all educators in Australia. At this conference @Natbott42 was also involved in the presentation by showing the teachers around our server and chatting with them over skype from his lounge room in Tasmania. A Sydney student, Nick Patsianas, also helped out with the presentation. Nick has been collaborating with the Riverside High School lead students in Minecraft this year. As a result of what these students have learnt together he has put forward a submission which has been accepted and as a result Minecraft has been unblocked for students in NSW public schools.
On Tuesday this week @Natbott42, @falconcadet , deathwok (Max), Patav (Patrick) and Cazza (Callum) presented at the Australian Independent Schools ICT Integration Conference at St Ignatius College, Riverview (less formally known as Riverview). The session was titled Games Based Learning and started with a more formal session from Michael Beilharz from Knox Grammar. In lead up to this conference the students collaborated on and problem solved a range of issues to ensure that their session ran smoothly. This involved working with 7 Grade 7 students from Riverview as they were our ground support on the day. This was supported by the use of skype chats and IMs along with building a world on the Minecraft server for the NSW teachers. It was wonderful to see these students working toward their end goal, the presentation. They spent many hours designing and building a world that would provide teachers great learning moments, this included examples of redstone circuits, houses, tutorial areas and a skyblock for those prepared for a real challenge. They were kindly supported by Riverview teachers Ian Fairhurst and David Johnson as well as their tech staff. Teacher and ICT integrator at Abbotsleigh School for Girls, Megan Townes, was the lead teacher in our session and she supported our students through setting up our Adobe Connect and Skype communication and problem solved on the day. Behind the scenes she underpinned the group by connecting us all and was integral in devising the program for the session. The wonderful thing about this session was that it gave a great insight into the different ways schools are using Minecraft and a hands on session for teachers, as a result the during the session @townesy77 tweeted “I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a connected, collaborative, social workshop in my life”. On the flip side it gave our students and the Riverview students an authentic learning task, that required collaboration, problems solving, creativity, communication, critical thinking and above all was incredibly innovative and fun. These students are to be congratulated for bravely sharing their personal experiences with regard to what they have learnt through using Minecraft and willingly taking on the notion of teaching teachers.