By fortune in November I stumbled into a world that I had never even known existed. While attending a Playful Learning Conference at UW-Whitewater, I learned about gamification and makerspaces. This blog is the journey that many of us have started as learners and the learning that we hope to share with others. Every two weeks a DEN member will be sharing how they are promoting iMake iLearn through gaming, coding, robotics, 3D printing, and so much more.
My venture has been into the world of Minecraft.
In January, our Design Lab has been dedicated to learning how to build in a collaborative virtual environment. Many of our students play Minecraft but for many it was the first time with someone else or the first time on a desktop environment. The iPad app and EDU desktop version function slightly different and for many it took a little while to re-navigate the game. We decided to use the desktop environment because it works beautifully on the older PCs in our lab but also because the EDU version only exists in the desktop and laptop environments at this time. The most powerful experience was students helping students: fifth grade students working with kindergartners to get them out of a hole, students from different classrooms who never interact with each other asking questions, laughing, and playing together.
Several students have become the experts in the room and are now permanent members of the Design Lab team. January as it is provides many weather challenges in Wisconsin. Indoor recess provided an additional challenge to our space as the Design Lab is also the movie area for indoor recess but the kids would not be denied. After canceling the Design Lab for one indoor recess, it became very apparent that we needed to try to make it still happen.
Over the course of the last few weeks, I have found some great resources for those of us adults who are newbies in this world of Minecraft. Here is one of my favorite resources by Joel Levin – Getting Started with Minecraft. It is found on Educade which has many other rich resources.