Our team is designing an online course to train teachers for Givercraft, a MinecraftEdu (www.minecraftedu.com) experience for 6th -12th grade students. So far, we have only received one response (out of five teachers) to our SurveyMonkey (www.surveymonkey.com) needs assessment survey . We plan to cover all topics that teachers will need to facilitate the Givercraft experience for their respective students; we will rely on teacher input and feedback during each session to determine if there are other training or follow up needs.
We decided to use Google Apps/Products (www.google.com/intl/en/about/products) for our teacher training because they are free and Givercraft teachers already have access to a Google Drive shared folder containing the MinecraftEdu client as well as membership to a Google Group, The Givercraft Community (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/givercraft), for the Givercraft experience. The Google Group serves as a discussion board for teachers and trainers to make announcements, post questions, concerns, or issues, and to share resources and success stories during the experience.
The Givercraft website (www.givercraft.com) was created during the first Givercraft experience and is hosted by Weebly (www.weebly.com); this serves as the main marketing tool for the Givercraft experience and teachers signed up to participate using a Google Form application.
Givercraft teachers will participate in two teacher training sessions – one session will focus on using MinecraftEdu Teacher Tools and spend time in the game world creating zones for each class, and a second session will review the unit plan and outline teacher roles and responsibilities along with tools and strategies for facilitating the Givercraft experience for their students.
Each training session will be held in a live WebEx (http://www.webex.com/) videoconference. If we are not able to use Webex, our backup web conferencing tool is Collaborate through the UAS Blackboard system (http://www.blackboard.com/Platforms/Collaborate/Overview.aspx); while we have been using Hangout for team meetings, only ten (10) users can be in the Hangout while the rest would only be able to watch a live feed.
Trainers will send an invite link to all participants who will connect to the meeting either by phone or through their computer audio system. The meetings will be recorded and shared for reference or in the event a teacher cannot attend the training. The trainers will be on a live video feed and use “share my screen” or desktop to display training documents and to demonstrate teacher tools in MinecraftEdu. We also plan to include teacher tool guides and video tutorials from the MinecraftEdu wiki (http://services.minecraftedu.com/wiki/Using_MinecraftEdu) that can be referenced during the training.
While there are functions for uploading files into the Webex interface, trainers will use the Google Drive folder to host all training documents and just share their screen when using the various training materials. Training materials will be saved in the shared folder as Microsoft Word documents, Adobe PDF files, Power Point presentations and videos as needed; the final training documents will be sent through the shared Drive folder to teachers for review before the training. Teachers will communicate with audio, video, or by using the chat sidebar to submit questions, make comments, or have side conversations.
Students will post screenshots of their work and reflect on a Wikispaces (www.wikispaces.com/) site for Givercraft. During the training, we will also use the share screen feature to look over the wiki site and discuss strategies for supporting student work. We are using this tool because it is a continuation of the previous Givercraft experience but would be open to exploring other online tools that would allow students to share their work. Monitoring and evaluating the training as well as the online web tools we have chosen will help us to determine if we need to make changes for the next MinecraftEdu experience based on the books The Mazerunner and The Lord of the Flies.