Friday, September 30, 2011

Grades 4 and 5 Arrive

Minecraft for grades 4 and 5 has begun. I'm just going to record what I hear.

How do I build?
Who's building? Go watch him.

Ready. I've got the TNT. Watch this. (and the pure pleasure of destroying and rebuilding)

Can you help me? I forget how to...

(and from everyone a running record describing their decision making as they play)

I just found lava.

What is that?

Hold down the mouse. Go to.... put the wood here ...

Several students suddenly get up and gather around one all chatting in excitement.

It's starting to get dark.

How do I switch between two?

You need to go to options.

You have to update the Java.

Dude you're in ... there's a brick that turns purple.
Maybe it's obsidian
No it goes purple up and down.

You're launching.

One boy gets up to help another make a portal. Everyone leaps up to observe and then try it themselves.

Constant questions, teaching, observing, learning and celebration when someone masters a new technique.

The ebb and flow of natural learning.

I've got a portal. I've got a portal! I'm going through.

I've found a duck taking a bath.
No, that's just a chicken clucking around.
(disgust) He can't even swim!

And one boy who tries computer after computer trying to get into the game. Finally a girl suggests that he's trying to load the wrong version. Success.

Friday, September 23, 2011

And so it begins ... again.

This is our first true day of Minecraft Club. We ended up splitting the club into two sessions: one for grades 6 and 7 and one for grades 4 and 5.  Most students in the club are already Minecrafters and many have their own accounts.  Several, though, are playing on the free version.  While playing almost all players are describing what is happening on their screens while they play. They verbally identify a course of action and even though many voices are speaking at once ... if an interesting plan arises, it is heard because neighbouring students will pause and watch.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back at It!

This summer I took a break from Minecraft, but now that the school year has started, I am back at it. Clearly, my students' return to Minecraft has been eagerly awaited; the one question that I am asked most frequently when walking down the halls of my school is, "When is Minecraft starting?" often by students that I do not even know! 54 students have signed up to date. For a club, those numbers are staggering. I think our original group was 4 and we could play in my classroom. I now may have to run 2 sessions per week to accommodate everyone. Gaming is social though and part of the process is gathering in groups, discussing, problem solving, suggesting - the conversation is as important as the playing and creating. Not everyone needs to be at the keyboard at once. This weekend I am participating in a global classroom for Minecraft. I signed up for two reasons: 1. I would like to learn more about the game 2. This represents a new model of learning: students logging in from around the world to participate in a self-selected class. I believe the event is running out of Australia, but I could be wrong. The event targets adults who wish to learn more about the virtual world in which their children create. This event once again demonstrates the power of twitter. Thank you @MissionVHQ for tweeting it; I would never have known otherwise.