What tools can we use both in and out of Minecraft, to create a convincing case that learning occurred?
1. Let the product speak for itself
Let the end product, the student-created project, be the ‘proof’ of learning. Students can use images or video of themselves not only in the building process but also with the end product. They can display their end project and give a presentation about it (in person, in video, etc.).
2. Capture the moment
Screen shots, an option in the game and outside the game, allow students to take a picture of what’s happening right then and there.
3. Write stories
Students can write books in minecraft and then give them to others, including the teacher. Teachers can communicate directly with students without interrupting play by putting text or hyperlinks to further information into journals, signs or information blocks.
Minecraft allows users to identify their coordinates and share them with others. Multiplayer mode can let other players find your coordinates and join you.
There are many mods, or plug ins (not always available or reliable!) that are created to do or add to just about anything in the game.
Rise to a challenge and earn ‘achievements.’
Multiplayer mode, along with using coordinates and signs, can invite parents or others into the very world the student is playing to see what they’re doing first-hand. What a fun, interactive idea for parent-teacher conference time!
Perhaps the best asset of minecraft is that it can create a common background and goals for students to relate to later in a classroom discussion. Opportunities for pre-game writing, post-game reflection, maps and diagrams, creating guides and writing character biographies abound. Traditional writing methods, blogging, wikis and yes, even class discussions, can make a convincing argument that not only is learning occurring IN the game play, but learning about community and other aspects are happening during and after computer time. “These lessons are inspired by Minecraft, but the good teaching occurs face to face” (Kiang, 2014).
My favorite blog this week was a science teacher who used minecraft to have students create a cell and watch DNA at work. Exploring buildings, learning about ratio, testing survival skills, and so much more are super and exciting lesson ideas for Minecraft - but this use of the program for teaching about cell biology blew me away!
Fisher, M. (2014) Digital Learning Strategies: How do I assign and assess 21st century work? Excerpt Retrieved from: http://www.ascd.org/Publications/Books/Overview/Digital-Learning-Strategies.aspx
Kian, D. (2014) Can minecraft teach team building? Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=156
Miller, A. (2014) Ideas for using minecraft in the classroom. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/minecraft-in-classroom-andrew-miller