A reflection on PBL, Multiple Intelligences, and monitoring my Diffi-Tools

Our twitter session this week was very lively and I am really appreciating the interaction and dialogue with my peers.  It seems that each week we always have a great turnout and it makes for a fun and meaningful experience!  I enjoyed thinking about PBL this week and discussing its benefits and connection to differentiation, through twitter and the blogs.  Being reminded about giving advice for teachers trying PBL helped me to look for useful resources; I also enjoyed learning which multiple intelligence categories each of us identified with and how we applied that to PBL and differentiation.

This week I was also able to connect with and help out some of my peers – adding people to google groups and the Wikispaces site, adding the live minutes schedule to the Google Calendar and sharing the Givercraft schedule, helping others with their diffi-tools.  I was also grateful that others were able to try the maze challenge and give me feedback.  I saw several students sent to the maze this week and was pleased to see that they were able to complete the challenge but that it still provided some difficulty.  The students that went through while I was observing took between 5-7 minutes to complete the maze.  I had to remember to open the teleport block at the exit so they could return “home” back to their respective communities.

I’ve worked the most with Thomas, mostly giving feedback about his diffi-tool, and with Jon, as we work on our secret and abandoned communities.  Thursday ended up being the last day for students in the game because the Anchorage students did not have school on Friday, and the Duluth students weren’t scheduled in the game.  Some students were able to dig around in their zone in search of clues (a teleport block) that would take them to the  secret community.  The students weren’t necessarily explorers but were those that had completed their builds and were looking for other things to do in the game.  While some chose to go help others finish building, a handful of students teamed up to dig and search for the teleport block.  I started to give them clues once they were nearing the end of their class period and were still searching through existing caverns beneath their communities.  It will be interesting to see if they attempt to find the communities during Scenario 2 when they will most likely be preoccupied with survival and finding memories.  Jon and I are incorporating memories into the secret and abandoned communities so that they will still be relevant during Scenario 2.

As for my other diffi-tools, there were some instances of griefing but not in large numbers or for extended periods of time, so I have not had to stage a “skirmish at the border”.   I’ve been updating the “Student Resources” wikispaces page as needed and I saw that others were able to add their diffi-tools as well.  During the game, when students were asking about screenshots, I was able to refer them to check out that page and find the instructions that were relevant for them.  I would like to add some resources this week that will help them with survival mode and possibly incorporate more instructions about the secret and abandoned communities.

In case others have not seen my list of teacher tools and strategies that I have observed during the first week of Givercraft, I am including it here as well.  My SEACCR research study is focused on how teachers use tools and strategies in MinecraftEdu to monitor and moderate students. I think it will be helpful for my peers to see how teachers have been interacting with students in the game:

  • Using border blocks to contain students in a specific area
  • Using a single block type and color which is laid out on a level surface to give the students a “blank slate” for building
  • Giving special items to students for specific purposes (use of the Home block for each student to be able to return to their buildings)
  • Teleporting students to and from the Home spawn block
  • Teleporting to students to respond to questions or issues
  • Teleporting students to them (if they are lost or need to return to an area)
  • Freezing students either to get the attention of the entire class or to stop an individual student who is griefing
  • Muting students who are spamming the chat
  • Muting all students to get their attention
  • Using the chat to encourage collaborative and positive dialogue between students
  • Requiring students to only communicate through the chat tool (as opposed to speaking to each other in the classroom)
  • Using the chat to make reminders and announcements about tasks and expectations
  • Walking and/or flying around the zone to observe student behavior and work
  • Mediating conversations in the chat
  • Giving instructions through the chat – distribution of labor or assignments to specific students
  • Checking in with the class about progress on specific buildings/structures; students respond when their building is announced and report on progress or time and assistance needed for completion
  • Using chat to engage students who appear unfocused or confused (basically you can’t tell what they are doing or what they are working on)
  • Walking the perimeter of each structure of building, walking inside and inspecting details and asking questions in the chat related to the builds
  • Assigning teams of students and sectioning off areas in the zone for each team
  • Using the chat to discuss and re-iterate themes from the book and recommend strategies to students
  • Using the chat to teach students how to edit and use their controls
  • Giving 10 and 5-minute “warnings” until the end of the game time so students have time to finish tasks before logging out; reminding students to log out and write in their wikis
  • Using the chat to encourage, affirm, and praise students individually and as a class for positive behaviors and building progress or details
  • Using chat to “call out” students who are violating the Community Agreement and “warning” students about inappropriate behaviors and use of items (especially potions!)
  • Timely responses in the chat to general questions asked by students and to specific requests for help or clarification (that go unanswered by other students)
  • Helping students in the game with labor intensive tasks – breaking down structures or clearing land
  • Staying in a general area when not “patrolling” so that students may find the teacher easily

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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