Monday, 13 October 2014

Blend Elfie, Blend!!

So, welcome to a new post. I was going to post regularly about my current project, I was even going to include you in all in the planning stages. Which means I have been procrastinating about the whole thing, including writing a blog post to update you. Which is interesting, but not interesting enough to write any more about.

So where am I with the project? I am thrashing around ideas at the moment mostly, but I came to a somewhat amazing realisation last night, hence the blog post today. So I have been trying to work out activities in game to help students understand the concepts I want to cover, and last night I asked myself a very important question. Why? Not why am I doing this project, not why do I want to use Minecraft to help my students, but why do I need an in-game activity to cover each concept?

Now this might seem silly, but I was genuinely scratching my head trying to figure out engaging, worthwhile activities that covered the concepts. However the realisation I came to is that I don't need an  in-game activity for each concept. I can have out of game activities for some concepts, and offer in-game rewards for these 'real world' tasks.

So my new plan.. BLEND!!! I want in-game options and out of game options for my students to explore, I want students to be able to choose their rewards, hopefully in-game ones, but I am considering real world rewards also.

So time to share what actual planning has been done thus far. Not much, but I have 3 key activity types I want to include, ECAAS (multiple choice quiz areas), estimation station and exploration activities. So the ECAAS is pretty straight forward and I might keep this for topic review quizzes and rewards associated with that kind of review.

The estimation station activities will be about building, or perhaps purchasing items (considering it is a unit about money) and delivering them somewhere. As far as the exploration activities go, I am not entirely sure how to get this tied in, but I do want some random bonus loot areas that students can find and get rewarded for being proficient in a particular topic. With my hope being that they will find the area, go and do some learning about it and then complete the area, which means I think I will have to make it a one attempt per student system. To prevent them just random guessing until they get it correct, or repeating the task and getting too many rewards from one area, and not covering more concepts.

So what sorts of rewards am I planning? Well I am throwing the idea around of having a reward room, where particular doors open for students who have completed certain activities. These rewards I think should vary from basic survival tools/food to diamond equipment to basic building supplies to 'hard to get' building blocks and maybe even some potions. It really depends on which direction the students take. Of course the rewards could just be in-game cash for students to purchase what they want, but that means that they are going to have to 'know' how to play.

So since I know that many students in this class do not play Minecraft (hopefully they will after this project) I am thinking I can 'lead' them through the beginnings of play by choosing appropriate rewards that will encourage them to explore the survival side of Minecraft and hopefully enjoy their time in-game more because of it.

Hopefully the updates here will become more regular, I will stop procrastinating, and will share more details about my planning and building process as the next few weeks unfold. Thanks, as always, for reading, and feel free to leave a comment below.