Minecraft is Mindcrafting Me Lately… a reflection of this past week

It’s fair to say that Minecraft has officially taken over my life!  Since our first class hangout/meeting, I began thinking more about the game in the context of this project and I felt like I really needed to invest time to learn everything I could about Minecraft.  I’ve even scheduled Minecraft appointments for myself throughout the week so I can make time to get in the game and explore, practice, and think about our project as I’m in the game.   

I started reading up on the backstory of how MinecraftEdu was developed; it was inspiring to learn that a teacher thought of using the original Minecraft game in his class.  The game sparked a connection for him and by following his instincts and taking a risk, he helped to bring MinecraftEdu into classrooms!  I was incredibly inspired by his story because one of the main reasons I started the Ed Tech program was to help educators and organizations make connections to technology in their work.   I then started exploring the MinecraftEdu forums, lessons plans, videos, tutorials and guides; what an incredible pool of resources that continues to grow as more and more teachers start using the software in their classes.  Seeing all these different ways that MinecraftEdu has already been implemented, helped me to gain a better sense of how our project can be accomplished.    

Interacting with the other bloggers in the course helped me to begin thinking about how this project would be viewed by teachers and students.  Some of the questions we have to answer are fairly basic but necessary if we want teachers and students to “buy in” or be motivated to sign up and participate.  I’m thankful that most if not all the members of our class are teachers because they represent our target population and their insight, concerns, and expectations will be important as we build the game.  Some of the challenges we are facing now will help us to anticipate issues that might come up during the two weeks we plan to run the game.

I wasn’t sure at the beginning if using a book was the best approach for our project but after finishing “The Giver” by Lois Lowry this week, I was convinced that not only would it work, this particular book is a great fit for Minecraft.  It’s short enough to be completed in the time before or during the game but it’s also detailed enough to give students material to reflect and show in their designs.  I also enjoyed the collective brainstorming and teamwork from everyone in the team; everyone has been contributing great resources and sharing insights and experiences about gamification that have expanded my thinking.  I was so focused on learning to use Minecraft that I didn’t think about other elements that could be included; Thomas had a great suggestion to use discussion boards for students to share their work and process throughout the game.  I’m learning to continually step back from the process and reflect, change my perspective, and then step back in to see how things are different and if I need to change my approach.  I hope that by being a positive problem solver, encouraging teamwork, and challenging everyone to stretch our thinking and see different perspectives, I can positively impact others in the group!  See you all in the game!

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