A reflection on preparing effective diffi-tools

This week our twitter discussion about assessments and differentiation helped me to come up with ideas for my infographics for Survivalcraft.  I created an infographic for each experience to show how a teacher might differentiate the tasks for each scenario.  While MinecraftEdu is the focus of the Survivalcraft experience, there are still many opportunities to differentiate aside from the game.  The diffi-ideas I presented could be used to scaffold the scenario tasks to give students different options for interacting with the content and creating more artifacts of learning.

With Givercraft, I created several diffi-tools to differentiation within and outside of the game.  For Survivalcraft, I decided to focus on the Student Resources page in the Wikispaces site.  Since most students will be writing on their individual wiki pages, I wanted to provide a tool that would help them while they were accessing the wiki.  The information in the Student Resources page could still help newer players learn tips and tricks for playing the game, but I wanted to focus on helping students with writing and editing their pages.  Right now my ideas for information on the Student Resources page include:

  • How to take screenshots (on a Mac or Windows computer)
  • Tips for taking screenshots
  • MinecraftEdu Tutorials and Crafting Guides
  • Writing prompts
  • Discussion topics from each story
  • Templates for different writing artifacts – news article, brochure, etc.
  • Copies of Scenarios and Student Rubric

I enjoyed seeing other infographics and how everyone interpreted the scenarios.  Some takeaways for me were that **social media would be a fun tool for differentiation if it were an option for students,

**using an infographic to illustrate the main plot themes would be a good way to help students understand the main events, characters, and symbols, and that

** supporting students to ask good essential questions can help them incorporate what they know about the text into their building in MinecraftEdu.

I would also like to create my own maze for students to test and I had an idea to create a “museum” of movable parts to inspire students who needed help figuring out how to add them in their own mazes.  This would require some knowledge of Redstone and exploring other Minecraft resources, so I will be looking into that this coming week and making a decision if I can actually carry this out.  Hopefully I can get other Diffi-Team members who are interested in building in the game to help me out!

I also had a chance this week to collaborate with other Diffi-Team members about their ideas for diffi-tools.  I had Hangout calls with Thomas and with Tyler to discuss their ideas and help them think through how they would design and assess their tools.  I had a Hangout chat conversation with Jon about his diffi-tool  and gave Theresa support over email about how to start creating a maze in the game.

I am looking forward to seeing teachers and students in Survivalcraft; using two different books at the same time will be an interesting twist and I hope to observe students and interact with them in the game on the wikis.  I’m going to work on an assessment strategy to help refine my diffi-tool and to ensure that I am creating a tool that will be useful but effective in differentiation during Survivalcraft!

Any thoughts, feelings, opinions, suggestions?

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