Tuesday, 23 July 2013


I have been having a serious think about how I can automate as much of this Pre-CAL Numeracy map as possible so that it does not become a burden and take too much time to be sustainable throughout the term. I think the process of altering the market prices will be far too involved and suck too much time to be sustainable, so I am taking that off the plans for now. I have explored using command blocks (another big thanks to Shane here for taking the time to be my guinea pig to test things out on, and helping me problem solve) to automate the payment of students.

The plan being that students will head up to the payment area, press a button, the command blocks will 'check' to see who is there are give them their 'payslip' and then mark them as paid. They can then take their payslip to a villager/NPC and trade it for their payment. This of course is still not fully automated, but it is close, the only work I need to do each week is reset the students paid 'tag' so that they can again receive their payslip, and also adjust one of the villager/NPC and copy/paste it over the others. So I will need to adjust how much their specific trade will be worth each week based on the work completed in class.

Yesterday I showed the students through the world, just a quick tour explaining how things work, and giving them a rough idea of how much building materials cost so that they can plan accordingly while building their houses in the creative world. It was interesting to see students doing calculations to work out how much their flooring was going to cost and then changing the material as it was too expensive. I am hoping to get the students more involved in using spreadsheets to help manage their costings. This started yesterday with 2 columns on a Drive spreadsheet, block and number. Then we will add in cost and do some simple calculations within the sheet.

Another thoughtful addition to the world, so that death in game means something, is a penalty system, each death of a student (as they keep their inventory upon death to stop others capitalising on others' demise) will cost the students a certain amount of money. This is achieved through the use of the scoreboard system, but it is not automatic unfortunately. I will need to re-zero the death counter for each student each week and manually subtract money from their pay.

I am also thrashing around the idea of how to manage the students finances, as ideally I want them to be doing it themselves, however there is no easy way for them to pay me, without me spending a lot of my time in-game receiving payments and noting what has been received. Which would be fine if I didn't have a class to teach. So I am thinking that on their payslip they get each week (in real life) I will give them a gross pay, then do the deductions (like a direct debit from a bank account), and then give them their net pay. It will be these numbers that they will need to add into their budgets as well as any extra expenditure.

Edmodo is proving to be an interesting tool to be using. I gave the students a badge last week, and despite being in year 10 (16 years old or so) they are still excited to receive a virtual badge, the majority of students voted for a continuation of badge giving in a poll, with only one student saying they did not care either way. Another big advantage to Edmodo is that I can also easily see who has not shared their budget with me, both through the badge and the mark book, so chasing that up is very easy, this will of course carry on to any assessment item and badge achievement throughout the project.

The next step I guess is to work out a heap of badges that will be available to students, list them down and make it like a set of achievable goals for the students and then of course, give it to the students so that they know what they need to do to receive badges.

I think that is enough for now, thanks for reading, and as always, feel free to leave a comment below.

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