Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mathlandia Quest 2 Attempt 1

Well today marks the day which quest 2 in Mathlandia, about perimeter and area, was first tested and run with students. I would not call it a roaring success, but it was definitely a success. I need to go through the footage I recorded to completely wrap my head around it, but I also need to make some alterations to the design before I run it for the second class tomorrow. Here are my first thoughts, however I warn you, they have not been clarified or thought much about, these are probably more feelings from todays lesson.

The Pros

  • The tasks I set scaffolded the students very well to complete the overall task at the end.
  • There were a heap of 'teachable' moments to utilise.
  • Students were mostly focussed on the tasks.
  • Most students completed the task within the 90 minutes, those that didn't were very close.
  • Very little teacher interaction was needed in-game once the students started.

The Cons
  • The use of custom NPC's and the /clear command caused a few problems.
  • Students still did not read the instructions. (more on this later in the post)
  • Some students were interfering with others
  • Some students could complete the first few tasks without doing the 'activity' (not sure this is a con)
  • The 'checking' system I implemented with the custom NPC's was pretty easy to work around. (I have ideas here to do with ComputerCraft, but I need to learn some lua first)
  • Some students used the teleport to spawn to avoid losing the quest items.
That is pretty much my current feeling, so now the alterations I need to make tonight before I run it again tomorrow are mostly 'simple' redstone contraptions to make it so that only 1 student at a time can talk to the NPC that uses the /clear command. This will prevent the major issue from today of the NPC clearing student inventories that it should not be. I am not sure how, but I need the NPC's to target the player interacting with them when using the /clear command. Currently I am using this command /clear @p which clears the inventory of the nearest player. So if a student is standing closer than the student who is supposed to have their inventory cleared than the closest student gets their inventory wiped. (An update to the latest MinecraftEdu version may give me more options here, as in the version I am using (0.9847) the /give command from NPC's and command blocks does not work, but I think that is fixed in the 1.5.1 version.)

The other major concern is that students still did not read the instructions, I think this is a problem based on the students 'need' to get into the activity as soon as possible. After feedback from community members on the first quest video I had instructions in NPC dialogue and also on a piece of paper at their computer. This did not seem to fix the issue, perhaps I did not stress enough the need to read the instructions with this class. For tomorrows class I will try to stress it a bit more and see what the result is.

I think that ends up my current 'brain dump'. Thanks for reading, there will probably be another post tomorrow after I run the activity with my class and the in-game footage will also be published soon. Feel free to leave a comment below with any ideas or suggestions you may have for future quests.

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