OK so an update on MinecraftEdu and my Year 8 Maths idea. MinecraftEdu now comes with Forge, at least the latest very test version does, and I am so excited by the possibilities this offers. Having explored just a couple of the mods available to add to the server now my mind is exploding with ideas.
I am 'thinking' constantly about a way to bring the Custom NPCs mod and MystCraft (after a reply to my previous post about my Maths ideas) and I think I would like to try to make my Maths world a game inside a game. So there would be quests, rewards and of course learning along the way.
I probably should explain what I think these two mods do (in my very brief exploration so far) and then I can try to explain how I am going to use this to make my maths world a massive game.
Custom NPC's: I will be able to add computer controlled characters, with specific scripts and items to trade with students. These characters can also deliver quests to students and then reward students for completing the quest.
MystCraft: This adds books that can be used to create and travel to an almost infinite number of different worlds or dimensions (25565 I think). These worlds can be customised in various ways through colour of the sky, clouds and the void, the general biomes available in that world and their size, the weather and light levels. In other words I have the ability to tailor 'new worlds' to look and feel different for the students.
So my basic idea is to get the NPCs to give the students quests to complete in one of the many MystCraft worlds I create, and it is in these worlds where my activities will be placed, rather than in the 'overworld'.
This will mean that students will travel to these other worlds, complete the quests (learning tasks) come back to the villager with the items that complete the quest and then get rewarded in various ways. The rewards may be special blocks to build with, tools, food or pretty much anything that the students need/want in the overworld for building their house/playing Minecraft.
Now this means that I am going to have to give the students time to just play Minecraft, to make them want to complete the quests and get the rewards they need to take ownership of the world. So my plan is to have a year 8 Minecraft lunch (or 2 for the 2 different classes if the other teacher wants to come on board) for a few weeks prior to the first quest.
So the students will have been playing (I know not all might but I will come to that shortly) and have a base set up and 'need' some things to keep moving forward and if I pay the right sort of attention while the students are playing I should be able to tailor the quest rewards accordingly and make the rewards even more rewarding so that students want to complete the quest to get the rewards. (that is a terrible sentence but you get the idea)
So now for the issues, what about those students who don't want to play Minecraft during lunch, or that don't care about the rewards. No ideas here yet, I wont know how many wont want to play until I let them know what is happening, I taught these students last year for Science and I know they like to play Minecraft so I am hoping if I tell them that this world will be theirs and they can play it 'anytime' I open the room for them, they will take ownership and come on board.
As for the quest rewards, I am not sure whether I can have multiple students doing the same quest from the same NPC yet, and I am not sure I can have different rewards for different students (I think not unless I want to intervene and give out rewards, which I am loathe to do, as I hope that students will want to re-do quests in their own time to get more rewards).
So very early planning days for this and I am not sure when the more stable version of MinecraftEdu will be out but I am going to base my plans on this and use the very unstable version to start creating my world to see if this is actually a viable idea. Thanks for reading this 'brain dump' of ideas and feel free to add your comments below.