Friday, 1 March 2013

Mathlandia Update 1

Yesterday I happened to be flooded in and could not get out of my driveway, so I took the opportunity to get really stuck into my Maths world, which I have decided should be called Mathlandia (I know nice and original right?)

So I spent quite a few hours working on the scripting of the main character needed for the first activity and getting my head around the dialogue trees in the Custom NPC mod. Once I had that pretty much down I went and built the actual learning task for the students. It took a few hours but the end result I think is pretty cool, I made a lot of use of the fill tool from MinecraftEdu as well as the copy/paste from WorldEdit.

So basically in here there are 6 repeats of 5 stations, so a total of 30 stations for the students to do their experiments in probability, and then right at the end you can see the final test platform with 6 repeats of the experiment.

Then I got talking to Joel Levin (aka The Minecraft Teacher) and he dropped by, commended me on the curriculum but was very quick to say "can I tweak the build." Now I know Joel's maps always look amazing and while the above screenshot was not going to be the final look I probably can not hold a candle to Joel's creativity and artistic vision, so I let him loose and this is what he did with that section of the map.

I am still in awe! So while he was working on that I was using the in-game NBT edit mod to fill all the dispensers, then adding in the signs I needed, as well as a few more NPC's to help the immersion a bit. Then he shot back to the overworld, and requested to change the wizards tower from this.

To this.

Again, WOW! So apart from a few more small tweaks to make, and the instructions for the activity and setting up the quest properly I am ready to go for next week. I plan on recording a tour shortly to explain the activity and what learning I hope the students to achieve so keep an eye on my YouTube channel for that.

On another front I finally found the time to actually make one of my DNA models that was designed in MinecraftEdu, and I am pretty impressed. I showed the students and they are really keen to make one, so now I have to spend all weekend printing parts to make sure that I have enough. I also need to design a stand for it but that might not be done this weekend as I am still super excited to be involved in the Google+ Hangout with MinecraftEdu teachers from around the world as well as another cool almost top secret 'thing' I must do (more info later I promise).

It is interesting how having something like a case on my iPod that I printed is getting kids interested. Each time a student asks if I can print them one, I say "sure, but it is going to cost you 1 lunchtime a week for up to 6 months." And most are actually interested in helping me build a 3D printer and soon the school will be purchasing an Up Plus printer, I just need to get my act together and order it.

Another interesting side effect of having a 3D printer (and one I knew would happen) is that I am trying to teach myself how to design and how to use the design software to do what I want. I am nowhere near advanced but I am getting by. The software I am using at the moment is 123D Design, it is free and available on the mac and I think I am getting pretty close to being able to print a new phone cover for my phone that I created from scratch. I am going to be prototyping parts this weekend while printing the parts for the DNA model and I am very excited to see how I am going in terms of getting the design onto the computer in the right way.

As always thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts or comments please leave them below.

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