Monday, 27 April 2015

An Inkling.

So I was doing some thinking today (about 4 hours ago) about how to differentiate some of my coursework for my students, particularly the volume of 3D shapes I am currently teaching. However my thoughts ended up on the next topic, algebra. I have used Minecraft as a discussion point, and a data collection tool for algebra. As well as having students recognise the algebra built into the game, from logs to planks to sticks to torches, that is a nice sequence of basic algebra. However, I have a feeling I can use it for more.

In typical 'me' fashion, I cannot stop thinking about this idea. Here are just some of the questions about planning the task that have been running through my head for the last few hours. What if I could teach students to think even more about algebra through the game? What if I could make a 'function machine' within the game for students to explore? What if I got them to create their own 'function machine' to share with their classmates? How much of that 'extra' knowledge will students need, and can I afford the class time for students to learn this before we build our machines? Will they take it upon themselves to learn these new mechanics at home if given the opportunity?

Then there are the actual mechanical questions about the game. Would it be better to use redstone mechanics or command blocks? Dispeners, droppers and water streams? Can I actually build a machine that will allow me to not only multiply or divide the input, but also add or subtract as well and how 'adjustable' will this machine be for giving students different problems to think about? Single player adventure, or multiplayer teamwork?

So all of those questions above are the beginnings of an idea, I am going to try and share this from concept(now) to development to implementation, something I always think I should do when developing lessons for students but never get around to because I cannot stop myself 'doing' long enough at the time to actually write about it. Step one is complete though, I have all these questions flying around, and I expect in the next couple of days I will have a clearer picture about what I want to do, and what is possible within the virtual world itself(development).

Of course I will also share the final product and lesson(implementation) as I always do, that is the easy part. Quick update today, thanks for reading, if you have any further questions you think I should consider while developing this lesson, please leave them in the comments below.

Friday, 17 April 2015

TEDx Video is Live!

Well it has been just over a month, but it was definitely worth the wait. The TEDxRosalindParkED talk I did is now live on the TEDxTalks channel.



I have watched it once, just to see (and to check that I didn't miss anything important from the script I had written), and I am very happy to have had the opportunity to share some of my experiences in relation to the power of MinecraftEdu in my classes and how it can really have an impact on students in this format.

If you have about 13 minutes please watch, and consider sharing some of your own experiences that resonate or that show some of the other powerful ways that it can affect students and their learning either in the comments on that video, or in the comments section below.