Persistence in learning occurs when it is real!

Over the holidays, which now seems so long ago, learning in Minecraft didn’t stop. It constantly amazes me when students give their time over the summer break to support the learning of other students, which is what has occurred again this summer. A small group of students have worked together to build a launcher that will allow our students to access our Minecraft server, which is housed externally to our school system, from school. Testing of this has proven rather interesting as it has involved me sitting outside the school in my car to link up to the school intranet, while emailing and Skyping to communicate the issues that appeared.

Testing the Minecraft Launcher.

Testing the Minecraft Launcher.

 

We are still in development phase of our new launcher, yet the solution is so close! The student who is leading this project has learnt heaps about coding and about ensuring that we are doing this legally, not to mention the importance of collaborating with those who understand our system. Initially Proxifier (a proxy tunnelling program) was a key aspect to ensuring that our launcher worked within our system. However, this comes with a significant cost – close to $800 for use on 26 computers- that cannot be covered with a very small budget. So the student is now looking at alternatives to Proxifier. He is looking at Open Source and has checked out what is available hereΒ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_proxifiers.

 

Here is some of the conversation that went on the other night which will give you a sense of how we sort things, and a big thanks to Jo Kay who is always there to support our students in there learning:

“[19/02/2014 10:15:05 pm] Student :3: Well I have found no other proxy tunneling program as good as Proxifier, so I’m rebuilding an open source one to suit our systems. And it’s GPL so I’m legally allowed to
[19/02/2014 10:16:54 pm] Jo Kay: Hrrrm i think daniel is right.. i dont know of an open source version that is as full featured as proxifier …
[19/02/2014 10:17:07 pm] Jo Kay: Comparisons of various options here tho .. might be worth a look http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_proxifiers

[19/02/2014 10:17:21 pm] Donelle Batty: thanks Jo
[19/02/2014 10:18:12 pm] Student :3: Yeah. I’ve found that FreeCap has basically all we need but it’s missing one feature that is needed. A NTLM Login for the proxy. So it uses the current user login. I’m going to put that in now
[19/02/2014 10:19:57 pm] Jo Kay: Sounds like a good solution to try .. and as you said… GPL so you can modify it to your hearts content
[19/02/2014 10:20:40 pm] Jo Kay: Stallman would be proud of you daniel.. lolza πŸ˜‰

[19/02/2014 10:21:05 pm] Student :3: Yeah. May take me a while, I’ve never programming in Pascal before πŸ˜›

Who’s that haha..? :p
[19/02/2014 10:21:27 pm] Jo Kay: Stallman is the guy who wrote the original GPL license..
[19/02/2014 10:21:32 pm] Student :3: Ohh xD
[19/02/2014 10:21:42 pm] Jo Kay: freedom fighter for the interwebz.. copy leftist… all round awesum geeky dude πŸ˜‰
[19/02/2014 10:22:21 pm] Student :3: Ohh okay :p
[19/02/2014 10:23:18 pm] Donelle Batty: very impressed πŸ˜€
[19/02/2014 10:25:23 pm] Student :3: I have to learn to use Delphi D:
I’ll be right though πŸ˜‰
[19/02/2014 10:26:13 pm] Donelle Batty: make sure you get some sleep tonight πŸ˜›
[19/02/2014 10:26:41 pm] Student :3: I’ll try.. :p
[19/02/2014 10:26:49 pm] Jo Kay: Havent had to do much with delphi either.. but http://www.delphibasics.info/ was handy when i had to modify some tools for opensim
[19/02/2014 10:27:01 pm] Jo Kay: and yes.. sleep makes better code …. mmmmm sleeeeeeep…. goooood πŸ˜‰
[19/02/2014 10:27:22 pm] Student:3: Oh thanks πŸ™‚

Mmm now I’m tired :c”

So at the moment the student is learning to program in Delphi. The learning that this student is doing is real, relevant and purposeful. Not to mention it is challenging and self driven. He is engaged! And as a result of his engagement and commitment he will enable other students to be engaged in learning that is at their level and connected to their interests.

How cool is it that a game like Minecraft can provide such a range of learning opportunities for students. At a basic level most of us see play and tinkering from the perspective of placing blocks and mining, providing opportunity for creativity, we then get to the next level where the use of redstone adds another element in developing understanding of circuitry. Yet the tinkering and consequent learning can be even more diverse if we allow our students to have greater control and we choose to step back and allow them to drive the learning. It is then that we see the power of community and connectedness.

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