Friday, 11 November 2011

MinecraftEdu - The beginning

I was browsing the Minecraft forums over last weekend and saw a post about MinecraftEdu, my first thought was “AWESOME, I have been waiting for something like this to give me the excuse to use this with students.” After a bit of reading I ended up at the website and found that there was a beta test happening. So after a donation and a couple of emails to the developers I managed to get the download links. I could not wait to install it on my computer and have a play.

It has been almost a week since I got my hands on it and I have been very excited by the possibilities. I have made a tutorial map designed to teach teachers how to access the special edu blocks and what they are capable of. I emailed this off to the developers, the poor guy got about 15 emails from me within the space of an hour.

He emailed me back and asked if I would be interested in collaborating on tutorial maps if they host a server. My response was a very quick “YES!!!” In that same email he also asked if I would mind having a look at the translations, as the devs are not native English speakers. Again a quick “yes” but a slightly more nervous one.

So I have come up with a plan that will allow me to use this in a class room, with 20ish students. I have the weekend to build myself a couple of maps, one will be an almost free build map, in which the students will be split into 2 or more groups and will have to build me a 3D model of a human eye, with someone coming in to judge the best model and possibly a prize for the winning group.

The second map will be more about assessing knowledge with a reward to the students who get a certain percentage correct, again this is only a plan in my head, it is nowhere near into practice, I hope I can get it done over the weekend. So the students will each go into a room, maybe in pairs, not sure yet, but in that room will be a series of questions with levers below them to signify the answer they want to give. I am thinking around 10-20 questions with 4 possible answers each about light and how we see it.

With some fancy redstone work I think I can rig up an iron door, or sticky piston secret passage to these levers so that if they get 80% of the answers correct the door will magically open, I think I even have a plan regarding how to stop them from just randomly pulling levers until it opens, but I don’t want to bore you with the redstone wiring plan.

Anyway this was just to get some thoughts down, my first ever blog post, that is visible to the world anyway, and try and track my journey from Minecraft fanatic, to Minecraft teaching fanatic. I may keep you updated over the weekend, but I will most definitely post again after Tuesdays year 9 Science class with my reflections on a lesson doing something I have been trying to think of a way to do for ages.

A great big thanks to the MinecraftEdu team for producing the tool I needed to push my dream into reality.

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