Sunday, 25 March 2012

Pregame Nerves.

OK it has been a fairly long time since my last post. I have been very busy, 2 family weddings over the last 2 weeks and having reports due have meant that there has not been very much time for keeping you guys in the loop. Don't worry though, I have still been using MinecraftEdu in my classes and building the Neurotransmitter 2.0 map.

The reason I have pregame nerves is because tomorrow is the first time I have invited someone into my physical classroom to observe what happens in one of these classes. To see what learning can happen when using Minecraft, and to decide whether I can have the money I need to buy the licenses for the school computers (I have been using some test licenses from the Edu crew). The visitors I have coming in are my principal and assistant principal, but they also want a video recording, of the physical classroom, not just the video I normally record from in the game.

No don't get me wrong, I am a very strong believer that this program is well worth the money, and I think that perhaps if they say I can't have the money, I will be asking for permission to gather donations or fundraise so that we can continue using this great educational tool in our classes (I honestly don't think it will come to that). The map that they are coming to see is the new neurotransmitter map. I have some screenshots here for you, as I have not shown you any of my builds for a while.

 These are the 6 'test chambers' where I will demonstrate how neurotransmitter work by making the student be a neurotransmitter themselves. Each test will add to their understanding of what neurotransmitters do and how they do it.
 This shows the platform where the students can explore some of the other concepts to do with nerve cells, synapses and the action potential. The purple stripe is a sort of visual demonstration of how the electrical impulse travels along the axon.
 These 2 chambers explain why neurotransmitters must be broken down.
This hall shows the students how the ions are involved in generating the action potential, and also that there must be a cooldown time for the neuron to 'reset' its charge.

All of these are untested, tomorrow as I have mentioned is the big test. After students have been subjected to being a neurotransmitter and have also explored my demonstrations I am going to give them time to plan (and hopefully build) a nerve cell that they can walk through, or any other model explaining a concept or idea to do with nerve cells or the nervous system, I might make some suggestions, like a negative feedback loop.

I have also given the students a pre-test to determine what they already know, so I am going to be asking them for real feedback and also gathering some data from a post-test to see how much of the information that I am trying to teach them they have retained. OK enough about that, onto another topic.

I must say that there are some awesome blogs popping up on the internet written by teachers using Minecraft in their classes, I find it very interesting reading how other teachers are incorporating this game. If you have not already checked out the links I have to other blogs, please do. One thing I really like is seeing how to use it in other subjects, as I have an English teacher eager to join me in using this in our school, but she and I were both struggling to see how it works, and to find the time to sit down and nut it out. Thanks to this blog, which you can always find on the blog links to the right, the path we have ahead of creating Minecraft English is much clearer for both of us.

OK time to get to more work, as always thanks for reading and feel free to comment.

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