Getting acquainted and finding our focus

Our first team meeting took place on Tuesday, September 22nd with a Hangout call; Scott Roleff and Aleta May are the other two members of the Givercraft team.  We spent some time getting to know each other and to share our initial impressions and ideas for this project.  I gave background information about the previous Givercraft experiences from my perspective in the various roles that I’ve had in facilitating the project.  We agreed that there were basic tasks that we each needed to complete, in order to begin preparing the materials for teachers to use in preparing their students:

  • Both Scott and Aleta committed to reading the book (The Giver, by Lois Lowry) by our next meeting the following week.
  • We all agreed to examine the online teacher training course (http://survivalcraft15.weebly.com/) that had been previously created for Survivalcraft this past spring semester.  We would look through the teacher guides and determine which modules would be relevant for us to use.
  • We did not have a registration list of teachers who would participate, so we requested one from Dr. Graham and she was able to forward us the emails sent to her over the past couple of months, from teachers interested in participating this fall.  All of the teachers were previous participants and we felt that they would be familiar with much of the material on the course and would be able to take on my ownership of facilitating their own Givercraft experiences.
  • I revised an existing Registration form and sent it out to the teachers, the information requested would include the number of students participating, their grade levels, class schedule in the game, and what teachers hoped they and their students would take a way from the Givercraft experience.  We hope this will help us understand why these particular teacher were interested in returning and what might their expectations be this time around.
  • I shared previous pre and post surveys completed by teachers who participated in our previous teacher training sessions.  Since this time the teachers would be more experienced, we felt the questions on the registration form would give us some idea of what they were interested in gaining from Givercraft and we wouldn’t necessarily need a pre-survey about their understanding and skills related to MinecraftEdu.
  • Scott and I were unable to use our previous client software to log into the game since the server had been changed.  We contacted Dr. Graham to help us get a new copy of the client; she decided to upgrade the client to the latest version and we would test that before sending it to the teachers.

At this point it still seems like we have many moving parts and pieces that need to be put together.  However, I feel confident that with all the existing material and resources we have, we will be able to make minor changes as needed and begin supporting teachers to prepare for facilitating their own Givercraft communities.  Our team agreed to continue meeting every Tuesday night from 5:30 – 7:00 pm to report updates on our progress and to discuss our tasks each week.  We also started a Google Drive shared folder to keep our meeting notes, materials, and other resources we needed.

Personally, I am very excited about returning to Givercraft this fall, particularly because each of the two previous iterations were so different.  I was able to learn more about the game, I saw teachers implementing their own methods and strategies in managing the game environment, and I expanded my understanding of interactions and dialogue within the game by observing students and their conversations through the in-game chat.  For this fall, I would like to see teachers take more ownership over this experience and engage with other teachers and their students within the game as well as outside of the game.  I also hope to support teachers in ensuring that Givercraft continues to be an engaging and meaningful learning experience for everyone involved.

Stay tuned…

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