It’s been a busy weekend of reflecting on our course site feedback and implementing minor changes in our course design. As teachers have started using the online course site, we are seeing evidence through several ways. Teachers are joining the Google Community and one teacher started posting screenshots that were taken through the MinecraftEdu challenges. Teachers are also joining the wiki site and sending in remaining class rosters. We have finalized the game schedule and I have worked with several teachers to troubleshoot the MinecraftEdu client installation and several teachers have been practicing their Teacher Tools in the game. Some teachers have also started building their class zones in the world and preparing for the first and second scenarios.
During our team meeting, we had agreed to made some immediate changes to our course site; formatting was one area that we felt needed to be consistent, so we have identified some areas that we need to make minor edits for more consistent formatting (link tabs, common language around learning objectives, and formatting of similar modules). We have also decided that we need to create a training course assessment to measure the learning objectives for the entire course.
Some of our other suggestions or feedback about our course site, we agreed can be documented and shared as recommendations for the next OLTAK team or Givercraft/Survivalcraft teachers. For the next experience, if diffi-tools are created, they should be submitted much earlier to give time for proper review, revisions, and formatting in preparing for teacher training. Preparing a template for diffi-tool submission could also be another way to streamline the process and provide consistency and organization. It might also be helpful for the diffi-team members to also take the online training course to familiarize themselves with the training and information being provided for Survivalcraft teachers. This, in addition to a line of communication (through the Google Community) would help the diffi-team create valid tools for teachers to use and help diffi-team members adequately monitor the use of the tools.
Reviewing the QM Rubric would be a beneficial step prior to developing the course, in addition to a pre-assessment to determine teachers’ needs and experience. In terms of implementing the course, the flipped experience seems to be an ideal approach for participating teachers. Ideally, the course site should be launched two weeks before the experience begins. During the week before the experience, teachers should have an opportunity to attend a handshake meeting to discuss questions, meet the trainers or support team, and to review responsibilities and the timeline. Teachers could also participate in a MinecraftEdu session to build their class zones, practice teacher tools, and strategize about world and game management.
I think it’s one thing to design the course through the site and another thing to support teachers through the course and Survivalcraft experience. As it stands now, it would take several hours for teachers to go through each training module the way we have laid it out. However, this online training course is an improvement from our initial approach for Givercraft teachers. That experience did prepare us for Survivalcraft because we were able to get a better understanding of what teachers needed and how we needed to communicate our expectations.
We will continue to support the teachers over the next couple of weeks by monitoring the Google Community and maintaining a presence and accessibility both in the game and in the community discussions. We will be available to answer questions and help teachers figure out the best way to implement each scenario. I will continue to be the “teacher liaison” and communicate announcements and help troubleshoot class specific issues through emails with teachers as needed. We should be sending out an assessment of the course sometime this coming week to help us understand if we effectively and adequately prepared teachers for the Survivalcraft experience.