Last week I shared a blog post from the Microsoft Australia Education Team about the difference accessibility to devices makes for learners and this week I see they’ve shared an excellent webinar showcasing the work of four teachers from New South Wales.
As always, I refer you to the original blog post to read in detail:
Minecraft Education Edition takes the Australian Curriculum into a whole new world.
The webinar is definitely worth watching as well:
A few things really stick out to me from listening to these passionate educators:
- The ability to integrate Minecraft:EE and game based learning across curriculum areas. Many of the examples shared link Science, Mathematics, Geography, History and English into a thematic unit.
- Dispelling the notion that gaming and game based learning is only for boys. One of the teachers works in a girls school and describes very high levels of interest and enthusiasm for the activities.
- Strong linking to the Australian Curriculum. This can, of course, be adapted for other curriculum in different countries, but it’s pleasing to see a solid pedagogical basis for the learning.
- Some of the teachers who share explained this was the first time they were using Minecraft:EE and were nervous about it’s outcome. Nevertheless, they were prepared to give it a go, and demonstrated all the attributes of being a life long learner.
- Exporting of models and maps designed in Minecraft:EE to 3D printers to take ideas from concepts to production. This is an important workflow that makes the learning “real” for many students.
- The use of Microsoft OneNote Class NoteBooks to tightly plan and structure the lessons and outcomes that students were required to work towards. This can provide the framework for students and also confidence for teachers that there is a structure and direction to the lessons and it’s not always simply “playing”.
- Digital Citizenship can be taught and “lived” through the playing of Minecraft.
My Point Of View:
Hearing first hand from other educators about their fears, challenges and successes in the classroom is important for teachers. The webinar above provides some insights into the learning from four teachers and is worth listening to as they are pretty candid about what did and did not work. I am particularly interested in the discussion around teaching of Coding and Computational Thinking through Minecraft as this is something I’ve blogged about before and is particularly relevant in NZ with the changes to the Digital Technologies Curriculum Strands. From the original blog:
With the integration Code Builder in Minecraft Education Edition, Lynne Telfer’s students have been exploring ways to program their Code Agent powered by Microsoft Make Code. This requires students to access their computational thinking and develop a set of algorithms (set of instructions) for the Code Agent to create with structure blocks within Minecraft Education Edition. The Code Agent is a fantastic way to expose students to both visual programming and free coding in Java Script. Students experience the benefits of its application through the designing their own commands and solving efficiency challenges when building digital artifacts.
Again, have a look at the original blog post for more details and if you’re interested in giving Minecraft:EE a go in your classroom then perhaps check out this blog post about how to deploy and code in Minecraft.