Minecraft Education Tweet Meet

On 09/17/19, I will participate as a host in a global Twitter chat regarding Teaching and Learning with Minecraft. I appreciate this opportunity, and I thank Microsoft and TweetMeet for extending it.

Minecraft as an educational tool sparks my imagination and gets me excited about school, thinking, inventing, and creating every day. Since the game’s inception, I have been playing with my adult friends, my child, and all of my child’s friends. I have created summer camps for kids, brought the game to my classroom as a teacher, taught adults and educators how to play, and engaged in years of building and dreaming with friends across the globe. When #MinecraftEdu became an official software development of Microsoft, I knew that we would see great things ahead.

Learning about Minecraft Irish Elks

We are there. The great things are happening now. Minecraft: Education Edition has opened up new potentials, new possibilities, new ways to dream and think with computers. If you can think it, you can build it. With a refreshed collaborative spirit towards teaching, learning, thinking, and building, Minecraft: Education Edition could be the next best school we have not yet made.

Students ought to think with computers, but too often teachers place them at computers. The computer is an object-to-think-with.

One problem facing computer use in the classroom resides in their long history of sitting in the corner or up against the wall. Even though we frequently use computers as a software terminal kiosk, we have also known for a long time that there was another way to work with computers and students. Minecraft is one of those other ways — so what are you waiting for?

I spotted a Minecraft Irish Elk

Students ought to think with computers, but too often teachers place students at computers. The computer is an object-to-think-with — an opportunity to extend and augment the human brain, not a push-button right-wrong answer machine. Minecraft: Education Edition has so much built in and ready-to-use. And with so much potential for you to build on your own, it will change school forever.

On 09/17/19, at 10am Pacific Time, an incredible group of educators worldwide will participate in a Twitter discussion about using Minecraft for teaching and learning. I hope you will join in, share some ideas, learn some ideas, and begin or continue your own journey into rethinking education with students.

Minecraft Education Ocean Adventure

We have some new friends in the Minecraft Oceans. The expansion of the game has opened some new possibilities to imagine and explore the ocean that is a desert with its life underground, as the song goes. I have just begun to get cozy underwater, though I need some new clothing. I am very intrigued by the plankton and krill I see floating about, and I must go find some coral to see if I can help restore it.

The java version folks can play this version this week, and the console folks are already there. I used Minecraft Education Edition on my desktop to access this new adventure. The camera and portfolio items in the Education Edition are truly terrific assets to enhance the experience and document where I’ve been. See you again soon!

Minecraft, could it be a school?

Thanks to @mgrundel and @PBJellyGames, I was recently the host of a Twitter chat on the #MinecraftEdu hashtag. I wanted to discuss what might happen if educators create a school that uses Minecraft as its main creation tool. I was particularly interested in engaging in conversation about how we understand our current use of Minecraft within Education.

When we play MinecraftEdu we are actively engaged in a great number of important and essential competencies that the chat participants identified:

  • critical thinking
  • design thinking
  • computational thinking
  • non-linear thinking
  • collaborative problem solving
  • creativity
  • game design
  • automation
  • engineering
  • historical research

The chat participants defined what we do in Minecraft for Education that aligns nicely with pedagogy currently taught in schools of education at the graduate level:

  • students as co-creators of learning experiences
  • organic collaboration of teachers and students
  • students demonstrate what they’ve learned in a personally meaningful manner
  • teachers learn from students
  • students push at the edges of teacher expectations and create an expansion of a lesson or unit

The conversation went further to include more ideas about how Minecraft in Education could be used to draw out other skills, achievements, behaviors, and ‘achievables’ that support the work being done in students meeting benchmarks and standards:

  • multitude of pathways to solve problems
  • multitude of problems that could be created to solve
  • experimental storytelling
  • iterative processes
  • conflict resolution skills and processes
  • students happily returning to their work to expand and grow
  • students writing resources for Minecraft

Interestingly, very few participants had experiences in teacher preparation programs or schools of education that prepared them as educators to face the differentiated classroom. And as classroom curricula become more standardized, meeting the varied needs of all learners in one room has become increasingly more difficult. Therein lies my interest in not only amplifying student voice, choice, and inquiry, but also trying out the idea of MinecraftEdu as the primary creation tool. So far, it is the single piece of software that allows for collaborative work in a range of content areas.

Ending with the big question about how Minecraft can serve as a tool to help us figure out larger social justice issues, we looked at the work being done here: Block by Block. Video games can help us improve real life for real humans. If you are interested in joining me in the push to make a MineSchool, where MinecraftEdu is the main creation tool used by all students for all sorts of interests and inquiries, please contact me. Thank you, @MeenooRami and @PlayCraftLearn, for the opportunity to be a 2018 Global Minecraft Mentor (by the way, it’s 2021, and I’m still a mentor).

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