Grade 8 students’ perspective on their learning in Minecraft

A welcome area being created for Westbury Primary School - they're about to join our server :)

A welcome area being created for Westbury Primary School – they’re about to join our server 🙂

School reports are about to go out to our students next week and this sparked an interesting discussion in my Grade 8 Minecraft class with regard to a need they felt was being missed – that of helping educate their parents about the learning that goes on in their Minecraft class. In the past I have been able to comment about the learning of students in this subject as part of the mid year report. This year our school has decided that written comment will only be made for full year subjects, this means that no comment is made for students doing Minecraft as it is a half year subject. As a class we discussed this and it became clear that students wanted their parents to be aware of what they were learning. So the students decided that we should run a number of articles in our school Pendulum, our weekly newsletter to the school community. Here is what we have published in that environment:

Article 1. Minecraft – what are we learning?   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:

  • History
  • Art
  • Culture
  • Language
  • 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 (10) 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 ☺

  Article 2.

Minecraft

Last week we had Roger Stack, the Senior Advisor for Digital Media and Engagement Marketing Services of the Dept of Education, visit our class. He has been a great supporter of the work we have been doing and wanted to see it in action. As a result of his visit he wrote a quick blog post stating:

 “It struck me how difficult it was to comprehend the extent and depth of learning that was taking place even though I was standing there. The department of education strives to put “learners first, connected and inspired“… I was witnessing much more. I saw learners as teachers, leading and inspiring others – globally!”

If you visit http://taspoly.blogspot.com.au/2013/06/exposing-minecraft-learning.html you also get to see a PowerPoint that he has put together to help describe the things we are doing and learning.  

Article 3. (this one will appear next week)

Minecraft

The grade 8 students have been learning a considerable amount in Minecraft this year and they wanted you, the broader community of Riverside High School, to have an idea of what they have learnt through the process of playing Minecraft. The following dot points are comments made by the students:

  • This year in Minecraft I’ve learnt about leadership responsibilities,  I’m currently taking on important roles in the overall community of Minecraft and the learning associated with it.
  • I’m learning better communication skills with other people online and using that communication to build the vision we see for our community project.
  • I have learnt basic 3D structuring and architecture, and the way to properly talk to other people online through chat and Skype.
  • I have learnt a lot more about how important it is to communicate well and understand others and how far someone will go before they say “No”.  And I’ve learnt when they say no you have to be respectful of their decision and cooperate to the best of your abilities.
  • This year I have learnt how to communicate and cooperate with others as well as learning how to talk to other people online and off. This has really helped me in my learning beyond Minecraft.
  • I’ve learnt that before you can proceed with your idea, you need to plan it out and that being precise is important if you want things to work correctly. I’ve also learnt that you need to communicate with others if you’re in need of help.
  • This year I learnt to communicate through the internet, typing, cooperating and working together with other people online. It is easier to solve problems for a puzzle and get creative.
  • I have learnt to work cooperatively with people I wouldn’t usually work with. I have become more creative and learnt more about teamwork and to help friends out. Minecraft has also been extremely fun.
  • Minecraft is more than a video game. It’s a great way to get friends together and enjoy spending time together. A way to get the creativity flowing. I don’t see why this is overlooked so much. This year in Minecraft class I’ve learnt to spend time with people I enjoy hanging out with as well as do my schoolwork.

Grade 8 Minecraft class.

2 Comments

  1. Bhavneet says:

    Thanks for sharing. This has come at a perfect time for us. We were having the same discussion yesterday and I have shared your reflections with other staff.

  2. dbatty1 says:

    I’m glad that we could help 🙂 Supporting the development of understanding in the wider school community is not an easy task. It is so important that we support their learning too. Building understanding of the learning that occurs is so important, both in the classroom and beyond – I get so excited about going to my Minecraft class as I learn just as much as the students, we learn together. This has been such a powerful part of my learning as a teacher and has changed my teaching practice considerably.

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