I have primarily been focused on capturing data and presenting it in some coherent form, and these essential questions this week made me step back and look at the bigger picture. I chose to focus on teacher tools and strategies within MinecraftEdu because last fall I had been part of a team that designed and implemented the Givercraft experience. That project snowballed very quickly into a major undertaking and we spent a significant amount of time addressing game management and moderation of student behavior in the context of the experience.
I can see several ways that my research could be used, from my initial analysis of the data collected during my research. First, MinecraftEdu, and other games, are growing in popularity and teachers are continually learning new and innovative ways to use them in the classroom. As a fairly new teaching tool, there is naturally a lot of excitement as well as trepidation about how to design effective learning experiences for students with MinecraftEdu and other games. Teachers, who are hesitant to try games like MinecraftEdu, will be able to examine my research and understand how the game can accommodate their own teaching styles, and be used to teach a wide range of content areas. Teachers who have been on the MinecraftEdu and game-based learning bandwagon will also be able to use my research in supporting their peers.
Second, I plan to continue designing and developing MinecraftEdu experiences and the knowledge and understanding gained from my research this semester will certainly inform my approach to that work. I am currently designing an online course integrating MinecraftEdu into a 6th grade ELA unit and I will be able to provide additional planning tools for teachers based on my research and data. I am also writing this course to share with other teachers how they can integrate games like MinecraftEdu into their existing curriculum in a way that students will find meaningful and engaging.
Third, I think it is important for educators to contribute research that will inform game designers and developers. As we use games and other tools to teach, we should actively gather data and share our input on improving the designs and effectiveness of the tools. No one knows students’ needs, interests, and abilities better than teachers do and we should our experience and knowledge to give feedback that will improve game designs and development that can continue to benefit our students. Most, if not all teachers, have had that moment where they say, “I wish there was a tool for ___!” or “Someone needs to invent a way to ___!” I believe we cannot just allow others who are not directly involved in working with students, to drive the research, data, and conversations about what tools and strategies will be best for our students. I hope that my research will inspire other teachers to begin their own research processes and that it will add to a body of thought about what tools teachers need in their classrooms!
My discussion section of my paper: JKKUARTEI_Discussion