Minecraft world

Evidence: Video of Minecraft world created

Learning Outcomes:

  • Plan learning opportunities most suitable to the strengths and challenges of a variety of mobile learning and gaming environments
  • Develop skills to optimize learning experiences through personalization based on characteristics, needs, stages of development, current personalized learning mandates, and misconceptions

I was very much a newbie to the world of Minecraft before this assignment. I had heard of it, seen people dress up as characters from it, but never so much as looked at it. For this assignment we had to ‘play’ in the Minecraft world and determine how it could be used in the classroom. In order to figure out how to use it in the classroom, I had to play with it my self and evaluate it with the rubric that Jay, Corina & I built. After all, how can I evaluate a tool for use in the classroom if I could not use it myself?

What I discovered is that Minecraft is a very flexible, creative world that has tremendous applications in the classroom. As you can see on the video, I tested the world for use in Math and Biology. I am especially happy how my labelled ‘cell’ turned out. For visual learners, students who love gaming or creative people, the ability to create three dimensional structures to illustrate concepts (or for example calculate volumes and areas in math) really personalizes the learning experience. Students can work collaboratively or individually, this can be done in the classroom or from a distance. the key word is personalization.

Are there some challenges to having Minecraft assignments? Sure. I work with adults. Not all of them will be interested in this or could afford to buy the program. In the k-12 systems there are also challenges (though MinecraftEdu eliminate a bunch of them!). Overall Minecraft scored very high on the game evaluation rubric. While it is certainly a tool that I would use in the classroom I would likely make it an optional assignment or alternative way of presenting a project. Participating in this assignment really opened my eyes to what games can do in education

Game Based Learning Evaluation

Evidence:

Live form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11O0gh5P5PdBQUrP8lrmtK6xaFA6XCPeF54jD2NuIo0I/viewform

Evaluated Game & Critical Questions documented: OltdGroupAssignment3JayLisaCorina – good

Learning Outcomes:

  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in mobile learning and gaming environments
  • Integration of current cognitive learning and educational gaming theory and examination of current research around best and emerging practices
  • Critically assess and evaluate resources for best practice in online learning

For this project, Corina, Jay & I developed an evaluation form for educational games. This idea is educators could use this form to evaluate the a game that they wished to use in the classroom.

What can happen in the classroom (both face-to-face and online) is unfortunately, educators become excited about some new and shiny tool but don’t stop to critically assess the resource to see if it is appropriate for the learning environment. It is important to evaluate the resource. An easy way that this can be done is through a rubric. If the rubric is designed for a particular learning environment then the educator will be able to compare and assess different resources. As we stated in our overview “the elements we included in our evaluation rubric will ensure that any app we assess for use with students will meet their needs for learning, growth, differentiation, individualization, creativity, and authenticity, as well as safety and academic concerns”.

Our rubric was designed using current theories and emerging practices. One theorist that resonated especially was Jim Gee (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aQAgAjTozk) and we used many of his principles in creating the rubric. The second was Futurelab’s RETAIN model and Four-Dimensional Framework (media.futurelab.org.uk/resources/documents/lit_reviews/Serious-Games_Review.pdf). The RETAIN and 4D framework provided the scaffold for us to create the rubric

Digital Learning Conference

digital footprintI recently had the pleasure of attending the 2015 Digital Learning Conference ()put on by Randy LaBonte (@rlabonte).

Charlene Stewart (a colleague & OLTD cohort member) attended with me. We were also fortunate enough to see two other instructors Mary O’Neill (@maryjoneill) and Avi Luxenburg (@aluxenburg) and several other OLTD students. It was wonderful to meet so many people that I had only connected with online. It definitely felt like meeting with old friends.

The keynote speaker Dave Cormier (@davecormier) spoke to us of Rhizomatic learning. Learning like Rhizome plants, does not come from nothing but is rather part of a large, complex, underground root system that is the sum of our being. It is a new way to look at the idea that student are not empty vessels but have experience & knowledge and are linked to a wide community. Curriculum is not the content of the course but is other people and your connection to them. My favourite Quotes: Learning for uncertainty in the age of abundance & Divergent thinking is much more important than convergent thinking.

My theme for the conference was community building. So I attended a fabulous lecture by Avi and another by Avi and Mary on building community. For all the details, check out this site: https://sites.google.com/site/aluxenburg/. Some key thoughts (in images):

4D learning wordleJo Axe & Samantha Wood from Royal Roads presented all about tools for student engagement. They shared this wonderful resource with a list of terrific digital tools: http://set.royalroads.ca/technology-tools (really, check it out).

The presentation that Charlene and I did went fabulously well. I am very proud of us that we presented at a conference FOR THE FIRST TIME. Our topic was Mind Mapping – Harnessing the power of student collaboration (link below)

Other Links: