A Whole New World

For a few years now, I had been petitioning to have a Minecraft club…but the admin (at that time was hesitant) and at that time, it wasn’t a battle I needed to fight — so I remained patient.

When admin changed, I decided to bring up the subject again — and admin said for me to write up a proposal and it would be considered — and I received a “go ahead” and started to make some plans.

At first, I had thought we would use the ipads and purchase the Minecraft PE app and we would all learn together.

But then, after attending a session at a local conference — my admin and I decided to pursue the Minecraft EDU environment.

It was decided to charge a fee for the club that would pay for the licensing, the server, and also start a fund for our robotics unit.    We would host the club on Tuesday for 15 students and Thursday for 15 students and sent out the registration forms.  And the clubs filled up quickly.  (this was in December)

Over Christmas break, I got lost in Minecraft and, thankfully, my IT got lost in it as well — so, I wasn’t wandering alone.  And I also joined the Google Group on Minecraft — (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/minecraft-teachers) and spend A  LOT of time at the Minecraft EDU wiki (http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Main_Page)

After wandering a bit through some of the “lands” of minecraft — I decided that the first week of the club, we would wander through the TUTORIAL world (Created by: Joel Levin, Matt Adams, Stephen Elford) which provided a teachers “guide” which I found very helpful:  http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Tutorial_World

SIDENOTE:  I had printed out the Minecraft Mouse Guide, thinking perhaps one or two students might need it — but in fact, all the kids  needed it because NONE had every played minecraft on a computer.

And the first week of CLUB went great.   It took the students about 30 minutes to wander through the tutorial.  I was able to transport to students if they needed help — or transport them to other students.   Tuesday’s club was busy and loud — Thursday’s club was more quiet but still very busy.   We ended the day with an excitement of anticipation for the next week — which was good since I am still such a newbie at this.

For the second week of club, I went into the tutorial world again and created a scavenger hunt for the students at the lighthouse.   I placed RED BANNERS (for TUESDAY) and BLUE BANNERS (for THURSDAY) and then hid chests near the banners with different supplies.   1.fwOver 40 chests were hidden — so I got in some good practice of right mouse/left mouse clicking, adding inventory, saving games, creating caves, flying (still something that makes me dizzy) and more.

Tuesday’s Class LOVED this — and after the scavenger hunt (which took 25 minutes) they had free build time.   Thursday’s class is today — so we will see how it goes.

For Week 3 and 4 — students will be in the SNOWY WORLD which I am creating into settlements.   Each student will be given a plot of land with 2 chests — one will have generic items (which all groups will have) and 1 will have specific items which they can give or barter with.  I am looking forward to seeing how this works.  2.fw

And then week 5 — still working on details.   I was thinking of making a BREAKOUTMinecraftEDU experience — but still not sure exactly what that would entail.  Plus, though my learning curve is moving quick quickly — sometimes my goals are loftier than my skills.   I will probably talk with kids on week 4 for their suggestions.

I had no idea that this would be such fun — but also such learning —
there is construction, collaboration, lots of creativity.  I am seeing quiet students step into leadership roles and off task students suddenly 100% on task.   I am blessed that on Tuesday, my elementary principal is coming in to help and on Thursday, my superintendent is helping.

No idea what will happen next year with Microsoft acquiring Minecraft EDU (http://education.minecraft.net/announce011916/) — but that won’t affect us this year so I won’t worry much.

I would LOVE to hear what you are doing with Minecraft — especially Minecraft EDU — so  please share.

OR if you have some tips or tricks for me, that would be helpful as well.

Jen

 

 

4 comments

  1. Brent Coley says:

    Love how you took a risk to learn about Minecraft and start this club. Wish I had time to join. 🙂 You’re awesome, Jen! Your students are so blessed to have you.

  2. Linda says:

    Hi Jen,
    Just wondering…What are the students learning? I am not criticizing here: I really have no idea what they are working on. You said they are taking leadership roles… how so? What does it look like? Are they solving puzzles?

    Thanks!

    • Jennifer says:

      Hi Linda
      We have set up several scenarios that provide the students the opportunity to problem solve. When I say “they are taking leadership roles”, I mean that they are not just responding to teacher driven activities with teacher driven results. Basically, I give very diluted instruction and then they work together to figure things out and help each other as they problem solve.
      In some of the scenarios, they are given some tools that they need but they have to mine (or trade) with others to find additional tools or supplies. Another example: Before they were given animals, they had to show that they could care for the animals (such as food and shelter). Since it was only our first minecraft club and I only had the students for 1 hour each week — we certainly did not delve as deep into minecraft learning as I would next time. I would love for the students to plan out, design, and create our campus and make it mathematically accurate…..but that will be for another day.
      Thank you for your comment.
      I apologize for the time lapse before my response.
      Jen

  3. Trine Falbe says:

    Hey Jen, awesome to hear that you’ve picked up Minecraft in your classroom!
    My colleague at Creatubbles, Jason, wrote a piece about how top educators are embracing Minecraft and how he successfully engaged his own 650 students in Minecraft when he was a teacher. The article is here https://goo.gl/DTjdQs – I thought it might be of interest to you.
    Good luck with it all!

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