Friday, 31 January 2014

I Wonder….

It is always a bit scary when I wonder things, because once I start wondering I cannot stop until I come to some sort of resolution. So my current 'wondering' centres around Mathlandia, poor Mathlandia was neglected in the latter half of last year because the Pre-CAL Numeracy Project took up all of my time. This year I want to up the ante with Mathlandia.

I already have quite a bit of content in Mathlandia, and also separate to it ready to combine. However I really want to make the map as standalone as possible, as well as giving the students time to enjoy the rewards of completing the learning quests in the game. So I am seriously contemplating running a server that will be accessible to my students when they are outside of school, as well as having the ability to work in the world during class time.

Now this is something I have wanted to do for a while, but have been holding off due to time constraints, and the 'fear' of managing a server for 20 odd 13-14 year olds as well as licensing concerns. So I am in the process of weighing the pros and cons of running a dedicated Mathlandia server that students can use inside and outside of the school.

My main reason for even considering this is that I do not, as I found last year, have time to run a play session during lunch time. So to give the students ownership of the world and the ability to use the rewards they receive I need another option. My biggest concern is the time it may take to manage the server and deal with any issues that happen outside of class. The main problem is, if I run a 24/7 server for students, then it is my job to 'supervise' the students in that space 24/7. Now I could run the server at specific times, but that relies on me being available to turn the server on and off at the appropriate times.

One 'plan' I came up with this morning was that I could have a set time that I was available one the server for students to turn in quest items and get their rewards if they happen to do some of the quests outside of school and that there is my main wondering. Will students actually do the quests outside of class to get the rewards? I am sure there will be griefing, and am prepared to deal with that. Rolling backups of the server are not too hard to do, and I always have the ability to 'lock' students out of the server (I think, individually or as a whole).

Ok enough blabbering for now. I will keep considering my options, run it by my admin to work out whether they are happy for me to even attempt it as there may be concerns with it. I will also have to send letters to parents explaining what the students are doing and the reasoning behind it. I am leaning towards doing it if the stars align as this will probably be my main MinecraftEdu focus for the coming school year. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.


  1. If you get the technical stuff all worked out, there's no reason you'd have to jump straight to 24/7 is there? What if you started promoting a special MinecraftEdu night or weekend where the server will be running? You could use that a test period and then decide where to go from there.

    1. A very relevant comment Michael, although having had a quick chat to the students about it yesterday, they are not really that 'inspired' so it may not be something that they want. I will still be doing in class sessions, and hopefully they will get inspired after our probability quest and we can move from there.