Tuesday, 29 November 2011


My mind is blown. I just walked out of a double year 9 Science class wondering what exactly happened. I was not sure my 21 question map was going to go very well but after the amount of time and effort I had put in to getting it ready to go I was not going to chicken out. After some initial 'how do we do this' and 'I don't understand' comments from the kids it ran very smoothly. Most of the kids were working solidly for over an hour before getting somewhat frustrated, but most managed to get through all of the questions in that time.

There were some glitches that needed to be fixed on the fly with the redstone, I think having that much redstone in one area caused some update issues. I also had to complete some of the work on the last couple of rooms while the kids were in the first few rooms. So it was a very hectic lesson for me, but I really think the kids enjoyed it.

I asked the students yesterday to come up with 3 questions each, that were multiple choice with four options. I then used the questions in the map today, so they had to read some information, come up with relevant questions from the information and then give them to me. There was a large variety of questions and they were worded in 'kid speak' so there were no real understanding issues.

So they had to learn something yesterday and then apply that knowledge today to get through the rooms. I also asked if they would like to build the rollercoaster at the end of the map and they thought that would be a great idea, so there was my carrot to get to the end.

It took about 3 and a half hours just to get the questions into the map, and then another 2 or so hours to make the answers line up with the redstone wiring, so is this a sustainable amount of work, no, but it was a very interesting experience today. I am a bit torn, in a normal class, with those 21 questions on a piece of paper, they would have been done within half an hour maximum, but would they have got the same learning experience out if it? So what extra did they get for the extra half hour working through it.....

As the kids were working through the questions they were asking eachother for help, so collaboration, something that they are not always good at was definitely there. They were definitely more involved in the learning experience. There was almost a sense of pride in themselves when they got the door to open to get to the next room. I also think because the questions were in a different order for all of them, they could be an 'expert' on a question they had done, but others had not, so even those who do not always offer answers to others in class could do so in this space without repercussions.

I did shut down the internal text chat early on in the lesson as they were getting a bit silly, and I meant to open it up again later for them, but I got so busy helping them through the rooms and confirming the redstone was right that I forgot. So that is a quick, or perhaps not so quick, summary of what happened in class today.

I have been thinking about how much time has been spent on this map, and I think it is around 24-30 hours building the map, then the 6ish hours putting the questions in. I have an idea of how to speed this process of putting questions in but I don't have the programming know-how to get it done. If any of you out there reading do have a bit of knowledge of programming let me know, and I will explain what my thoughts are and you can tell me whether it is even possible.

I have recovered my voice, so I am planning on doing some more recording of tutorials tonight, and re-recording the laggy ones, so keep an eye on my youtube channel.

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