I had a massive brain wave the other night, to the point that I couldn't sleep, on a way to improve the neurotransmitter map, not just visually, trying to tie in both teacher directed learning and 'adventure' map style learning. I think I need to thank 'miggttor' on youtube for some of the inspiration. The great man did some video responses to my videos, the first I have received, where he showed me the power and application of another mod called worldedit and how easily you can build structures in a map with that.
But more importantly for me he discussed how he saw maps in Minecraft being educational, one thing sticks out in my memory, if you have time go check out his videos, at one point in his video he showed the internals of a mitochondria, it was just a hollow cylinder, but then he began to provide me with a picture of a maze inside that the students need to navigate, and that maze shows them as they go how folded the cristae of the mitochondria are. At the end of this maze was the 'prize' which I think in this case might be information that the students need for a scavenger hunt.
So the new neurotransmitter map will have a better version of the 'synapse' and several 'test chambers' where the students can explore the life of a neurotransmitter under teacher direction. Once the teacher has finished this section there will be a 'museum' of some description with displays and models that the students can explore and learn from. I am hoping to have this map ready in the next couple of weeks, which means the cell build is on hold for a while, until I evaluate where I want to go with it given the discussions I have been having with other teachers about game based learning.
On a collaborative note, I have finally decided to attempt to have a 24/7 MinecraftEdu server for teachers who have the mod to come and learn some of the tools, and also to collaborate on some map builds if they want. I will update you with the server address once I have done some more testing. I do however have a map running at the moment that I would like some beta testers to run through.
It is a map (hopefully) designed to help teachers learn about the custom blocks and build tools available to them in the Edu mod. So I need testers of varying abilities, a big thanks goes out to @Tonnse for helping me to build it, and to @MinecraftForMac for being my first beta tester. If you are interested, you must have the Edu mod, drop me a line in the comments or dm me on twitter and we will go from there. [EDIT: The admin at my school has put a temporary hold on these plans, I am not able to open it up fully, but still happy to have beta testers come and test the map. Sorry]
As always thanks for reading, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and keep an eye on my youtube channel for more classroom videos and a tour of the 'teacher map' on my server.