Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Late Night Reflections.

It is 10:30pm and about 45 minutes ago I took of on a plane from Melbourne heading to Darwin for a few days. I am so excited, I am heading up there to train some teachers in MinecraftEdu. My first experience of training teachers in Minecraft. This whole journey for me has been a series of 'firsts' and I hope that they continue.

When I began this journey, and perhaps more importantly sharing my journey online I honestly never expected it to get to this stage, on some level I probably hoped for it, but to be honest I started sharing my journey online here on this blog as a way of getting my thoughts down and clarifying them, and also as a way to get feedback and ideas from other people out there. Forcing myself to take the time to write my thoughts down has been a great way to reflect on what happens in my classes (and in my head during them).

Youtube is a different thing entirely, I started that as a resource to show other teachers how my classes run, and at my last check the first neurotransmitter video is up over 16000 views. Alongside this I have over 200 subscribers, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be producing videos that people would actually want to watch, I just wanted to have them in an online space (for free) so that I could get at them from anywhere and point other teachers to them if they were interested.

So initially my motivation was very selfish, but I really value the feedback and support I get from those watching my videos and reading this blog. I think being able to share my thoughts and journey has made this all the more powerful and effective in my classes.

I still remember the first time a youtube user going by the name of Miggtorr sent a video response to one of my videos, he wanted to show me about Worldedit, and he did a great tutorial, specifically geared towards what I was creating and also he shared some awesome ideas about how to make the map an 'adventure' with goals and targets for students to reach while learning. I had never been so shocked, someone was not only interested in what I was doing but wanted to help. I cannot wait until the personal edition is released to the public and I can invite him onto my server to work with him. Of course this never would have happened if I was keeping my journey to myself.

So as well as my first training experience coming up, I also have my first conference visit as a presenter. I had never really contemplated presenting something at a conference until I wanted to share with other like minded educators the power of MinecraftEdu in engaging students and making learning (and teaching) much more fun. The scary thing was that when I tried to book into my session I was unable to because it was booked out, I had to email the organisers and request that they assign me that session, or those attending would not have a presenter.

Another exciting 'first' that has happened recently is that I have had a couple of articles published. One in the "Australian Teacher Magazine" (link) and another arrived at my school today in the ICTEV magazine (link). I got a 2 page article on my journey of using MinecraftEdu to engage students in a different kind of lesson. Alongside this I have also done my first email interview with a journalist and am really looking forward to reading his article when it comes out.

So where to now? Well now that I have bored you with my current flow of thoughts I will complete my training in Darwin (expect some thoughts to flow from that onto here), present at my first conference and then get back into my classes with gusto. I have plans to let my Year 7 Science classes roam my 3D cell tour as we study cells over the next couple of weeks.

I also plan to have some fancy redstone machinery in my senior student version of the animal cell to get students to make mRNA, be tRNA and make protein. I have a prototype for the mRNA machine working, but am struggling with the protein machine because it relies on being able to move 3 blocks at once to represent codons, I am close but am still encountering some redstone glitches that are frustrating me.

I am also trying to nail down the teacher that took over my year 7 Humanities class to discuss the opportunities for using MinecraftEdu in her classes to help the students learn history, or display their knowledge of ancient civilisations.

As always thanks for taking the time to read this, and feel free to leave a comment below.

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