Tuesday, 19 June 2018

A Different Kind of Teaching

If you have been following recent posts, you would know that I am working with teachers from a couple of schools to build their capacity to run, and in one particular case yesterday, build their own lessons in Minecraft: Education Edition. I spent a couple of hours with this particular teacher yesterday, after last weeks class that I ran, he had some ideas of what he wanted to create and what he wanted students to be doing in their first lesson with him.

In that couple of hours we went through building by hand, and using commands like /fill and /clone to speed that process up. He used /setworldspawn to bring students into the world within his confined area, so that he could give them instructions before they started the task. I don't think he needed it for this lesson, but we also went through the various uses of the /tp command, to teleport all students to him, to teleport one student to him, and how to teleport one student to another student. I have to say his skills at movement and building/breaking blocks increased dramatically within just that short amount of time.

At the end of the time, he had a lesson that he was comfortable running, that he had created, and that he knew exactly what he wanted students to do in. So we want from a fairly fresh beginner to a self made, comfortable lesson in about 2 hours. Which may be more indicative of his willingness to persevere than anything else, but still that is a nice 'statistic' to have as I try to bring more teachers on board.

He was planning on running that lesson with his class earlier today, so I touched base with him to see how it went. It was certainly a positive experience for him, and I am very happy to know it went well. I put these out on twitter earlier today, but these two quotes stand out for me as significant things for a teacher to be saying after only a couple of hours in Minecraft with his students.

"It is offering great engagement and great discussion when we look through the world together."

"The creative aspect allows a lot of individuality, which I feel the students enjoy."

I was looking at the screenshots he sent me, and remarking at how individual the towers are already, let alone the symmetrical design that will come when they come back to the activity. To be honest, I am very surprised at the absolute differences in the designs of the towers, just the block choice alone is such an individual thing, follow that through to shape and other design characteristics, and this has opened a different perspective for me already on what it is to build a 'tower' in Minecraft.

I am regretting not being in the classroom today, but I am also very conscious of the fact that I cannot be in every lesson every time. So to say I am pleased with my first 'supported from afar' lesson designed and created by someone else.... actually can I even call it my lesson in this case?

Anyway, I am pretty darn happy that it all went well, and that the activity went as the teacher expected it to. Below are a few of the screenshots from the student work, and when completed, the plan is to put these in their maths book and digital portfolio later. In case you were interested, this lesson is about symmetry, and the students first had to create their tower, and then put a design on/in it that had at least 1 or 2 lines of symmetry. You can see some students have started their designs and hopefully you can also see the lines of symmetry in their design.

As always if you got to the end, thanks for reading, and feel free to leave a comment below.

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