Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Minecraft has been an 'opener'

So earlier today I read this article (https://medium.com/message/the-secret-of-minecraft-97dfacb05a3c) it popped up on my twitter stream and I had a few spare minutes, and as with most things that are to do with Minecraft I will have a look when I get time. I enjoyed reading it, and some parts raised some interesting lines of thought.

"'Game' doesn't even do it justice. What we're really talking abut here is a generative, networked system laced throughout with secrets."

"Imagine yourself a child, in possession of the secret knowledge."

"To play, you must seek information elsewhere."

Given my recent line of thinking in terms of how I can make my lessons in Minecraft more fluid, more engaging, more open and more fun I think these three quotes started something in my head today.

How do these, along with my thirst for making the learning more game like and hence more engaging, tie in with education?

Imagine you had 'secret' knowledge that you could share with the other students in your class to help them on their journey….

What if we had a system within the game that required students to seek out knowledge from elsewhere and only by doing so could they engage in the 'game'? What affect would this have on students.

How can I make a project within Minecraft that was 'laced' with secrets for students to investigate.

What if I could do this outside of Minecraft? Imagine the powerful learning going on in my classes if I could somehow use these ideas/ideals to generate learning activities within every class.

The real question: HOW DO I DO THIS?

Yet again, I am now readjusting my plans for an upcoming Minecraft activity. So it is all in limbo, I now need to have a serious think about how I can utilise 'secret' knowledge, and the thirst to be the person to find that knowledge and share it with others. This is stepping even farther from 'traditional' teaching methods, something which, of course, is going to take me out of my comfort zone.

So why is Minecraft an opener? For me it has opened many virtual doors and windows. From the collaborative relationships I now have around the globe, centred not only around Minecraft in education, but also playing the game to travelling and sharing a journey as I have never done before.

In doing these things it has opened my teaching methodologies to untold possibilities, and these possibilities (I hope) are beginning to transfer out of Minecraft and that virtual world into 'real' life and my teaching in general. It really has shifted a great deal of my thinking about education, how to best engage students, how to use games in classrooms and also about how to share. Something that I don't think teachers in general do enough, is believe that the journey they are on is worth sharing.

I never did prior to this, everything I did in my classes was 'in' my classes, between my students and me, but sharing what I have been doing in some of my classes over the last 3 years has given me a new perspective on what is worth sharing. Everyone has strengths to add to a discussion, everyone is at a different stage of their journey. I think there is real value in sharing the things you try, whether they turn out amazing, or they make you go home, curl up in a ball and try to forget them. So if you take one thing from this post today:

Share a journey, you might be surprised at what comes from a simple, "Hey I tried this today, this is what happened."

Thanks for reading and feel free to make a comment below, even better share something you tried today, include how it went, what you would change if you were to ever repeat it, you might find it rewarding.

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