When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

I do not share this post with the intent to judge others in their attempts to educate students by using specific tools.  Instead, I want to encourage critical thinking, reflection and discussion. I share it as a way to ask for support and guidance as to when we should be using Game-Based tools to engage and teach certain content. I struggle with incorporating the popular “Craft Reconciliation” project into my current Inquiry Lesson about Truth and Reconciliation between the Canadian Government and First Nations Peoples. I struggle at the thought of using a tool that for many students is considered a “game” to address such a deep, personal and difficult topic. I do not want to put light on Continue reading When NOT to use Minecraft in the Classroom

The Makerspace Classroom is WAY more than Circuits & Programming

The Enrichment and Innovation Centre  is considered a ‘Maker Space Community’ with a strong focus on STEM principles, problem based learning, design thinking and arts education, each with an overriding theme of Social Justice and Environmental Education. The Inquiry driven model was designed with specific attention to enriched programming, current pedagogies, computer science, environmental considerations (physical space), online and blended learning, and community partnerships.   The Learning Environment is something that I’ve discussed many times in this blog. More and more, the term ‘Makerspace’ is becoming synonymous with the “Learning-space”.  A space where we teach, learn and create.  However, the conditions for engaging students and teachers in a space where creativity and design is at the core needs to Continue reading The Makerspace Classroom is WAY more than Circuits & Programming

Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

I am excited, thrilled and honoured to be given the opportunity to present some of  my experiences as a Teacher and Researcher, in particular how and why I am using Minecraft in my Maker/Learning Space. I look forward to meeting, sharing and collaborating with the many innovative and curious educators that will be attending ISTE and hopefully attending my session on: Monday, June 29, 12:45–1:45 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) Building/Room: PCC 108 What will I be presenting? Sharing? This year, I co-created and facilitated programming at the Enrichment and Innovation Centre, at the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. I’ve tried to write and share my experiences and personal reflections throughout the past school year. In one post, I write Continue reading Makerspace, Inquiry and Minecraft – Enrichment and Innovation Centre

Be PROUD of that “Minecraft Teacher” label (or whatever the label)….

A couple of days ago, I read a couple tweets from a teacher that was voicing thoughts about being labelled as a “Minecraft” teacher, rather than an Innovative teacher that uses many engaging and creative tools including Minecraft. I looked back through the Twitterverse, but couldn’t find the tweets again. First, I think that any teacher, leader or principal  that is labelled a Minecraft teacher should be EXTREMELY proud.  Bring it ON!  Think about it. You are being labelled as a teacher that is creative, open-minded, collaborative and willing to use tools and methods that are engaging and encourage students to venture into ARTS, DESIGN, ENGINEERING and MATH! Not to mention, using a tool that lends itself well to Continue reading Be PROUD of that “Minecraft Teacher” label (or whatever the label)….

Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

Minecraft and Fractals By: Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Beth Carey We are all familiar with Math Manipulatives and the power of hands-on learning. Minecraft allows students to explore, create, design and problem solve in many dynamic ways. Here is one example of using Big Ideas and Concepts in Math. These concepts, once understood, force learners to use practical math skills in an authentic way. “Today I learned about fractals the mathematics of nature introduced by Benoct Mandelbrot. Fractals are a repeating pattern in all directions with any shape. Inspired by Ancient Egyptian architecture this fractal is made entirely of gold blocks and glass. Although it is impractical it just shows what minecraft can really do”. -Gwen, Gr. 5 Student Big Ideas: How Continue reading Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

Design Thinking ~ Make Urban ReDevelopment a Reality in Minecraft

The purpose of this lesson is to inspire and engage students to use creative and critical thinking skills to make decisions and designs that impact an urban area. This cross-curricular approach to Design Thinking, allows students the freedom to use and connect  their inquires to real examples. The activity is intended for group or collaborative learning and uses a combination of whole class and small group facilitation with access to a variety of tools. The final product is a Design and proposal of a chosen Urban Landscape in their own community. Minecraft (and lego) are ideal platforms for students to use resources and tools collaborative to display their concepts.  The example lesson (below)  was facilitated with a group of Continue reading Design Thinking ~ Make Urban ReDevelopment a Reality in Minecraft

Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning with Minecraft and Lego

This lesson was facilitated with Grade Five Gifted Students. This is an example of how to combine a variety of collaborative tools (Collaborative thinking/planning, Blog, Web2.0 Doc, Minecraft) with a hands-on approach to building and designing prototypes that focus on world problems. Minecraftedu, large amount of assorted lego, a class full of engaged students and a teacher/facilitator provided the necessary resources.  It was incredible to witness the dialogue, creativity and critical thinking as the students explored and designed their ideas into something concrete.  Inventions Big Idea: How do past and present inventions impact our world of today? This is a sample lesson that can be used at a variety of ages and grades. Because this lesson is based on the concepts Continue reading Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning with Minecraft and Lego

Teaching “how to” Self-Direct Learning

  Student:  I am easily distracted from the work I have to do.   Teacher: What are you distracted by?     Student: Stuff like the latest article about the Redstone update in Minecraft <that allows you to use the concept of electricity, pistons, electrical flow, breakers) or by the book that is screaming my name, or distracted by the story that I’m co-writing with my friend <the one I want to publish>, or by the new world I’m creating in Minecraft that allows collaborators to co-build and discuss in real time or by the new mode that I’m creating and why the Java Script isn’t working…….   Teacher thinking: How can the distractions become the learning focus? Would Continue reading Teaching “how to” Self-Direct Learning

Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

The following pictures/slides provide some information about how we are using PROJECT BASED LEARNING, INQUIRY and MINECRAFT in the classroom. Recently, a reporter asked me, “So what have you learned through this project?”   I’ve learned that I need to step back and trust my students. I need to provide time, support and facilitate the groups and activities and allow them to discover for themselves the different possibilities, avenues and perspective of an issue. I learned how important it is to use tools that they themselves are familiar with and to explicitly provide situations where they can be leaders and facilitators themselves. The Barton and Tiffany area in Hamilton remains vacant. These students, while their concept plans may never Continue reading Community and Urban Planning – Project Based Learning and Minecraft

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable? “What?, you’ve been banned from 8 different servers?” I shrieked at my 11 year old son.   “It’s part of the game – to build trust, act normal, get more responsibility from the server owner and then, destroy” he explained. I gasped.   “In many servers, the point is to build and protect. If you are in a server shared by others, you always take the risk of having your things stolen and your creations destroyed…but for some players, hacking into a server and destroying is the main point”. I gasped. “But it’s not nice…..” So he explains, “most teachers and adults aren’t Continue reading Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?