Monday, May 28, 2012

Our Server Has Arrived!

Ethan, Justice Lillian

The three students above hold a special place in my evolution as a teacher. They introduced me to Minecraft. In the fall of 2010 Lillian, Ethan and Justice agreed to teach me how to play and it wasn't long before I had my own account and was hooked. We began attracting others to our group and eventually had to shift to the computer lab because so many learners were interested. Our club, though, had 2 limitations: 

1. We couldn't engage in multiplayer.
2.  Not everyone had an account.

These problems have now been solved thanks to our Ken Spencer Award money and some of my husbands Humber College students.  We now have our own server!  It arrived today to great excitement.

Joel Attrell and Keinan Vella - Humber College students in the Network Support Technician Program
and their prof. Jeremy Brooks 

Keinan explains the components.
Joel gives the students a real world math problem: source the parts and find out the cost of our server.
Include HST.
Our first student logs in!


And then it became the wild west in my room. Shouts, hoots, laughter. Today, those who had their own accounts were able to access, but tonightI will purchase school accounts for our club members. They will be able to access the server any time during the school day from anywhere in the school.

Keinan instructed me on how to manage the server. I learned a great deal and am thrilled to have established this connection between college and elementary students.  More connecting needs to happen. College students have a wealth of expertise and this is a way for them to apply their skills in a meaningful, relevant and real world setting. My students are able to learn directly from highly skilled people. My role has been to facilitate the connection and Keinan and Joel will continue to keep an eye on our server.

What I appreciate about Keinan and Joel is that these are techies who can communicate. They provided clear explanations of complex technology in ways that we could understand. Both are excited about this project and the potential to assist more schools in bringing game based learning to the classroom. 

The server allows 100 players to play with no lag. It has the capacity to go much higher, but that is what we are starting with. It takes 1 second to log on. Info on the configuration of the server can be found on their Educrafting blog: They can also be followed on twitter: @EduCrafting. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Building Our Minecraft Server

We've begun spending our prize money for the Ken Spencer Award. 10 iPad2's have been ordered and the school has piggy backed onto the exceptional discount Apple is offering to educators right now; 20 more have been ordered thanks to the home and school and teachers purchasing for their classrooms.

My husband who teaches information technology at Humber College has connected us to some of his talented students who are building a dedicated Minecraft server for our club. We will be able to have at least 30 players on at a time. Once again, thank you Ken Spencer!  As I type, they are out purchasing equipment. You can follow the build in real time on twitter @educrafting

There has been intense discussion all week from the students in the club who range from grades 3 to 7.   The discussions have been sophisticated and thoughtful.  They've weighed pros and cons of various design options and are extremely curious about how the server will be structured. They've also identified risk factors and implications of decisions that we might make as a group and have begun to hash out conduct guidelines.  A chief concern is who will have administrative rights for the server. These are extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful students and I appreciate their guidance as I am, once again, the level 2 student in the group (well, if I'm being totally honest, level 1).

(cross-posted in The Amaryllis)