What a week…weekend! Time flies when you’re having fun. I spent the weekend in Anchorage at the ATE conference, so much valuable information but not much down time. On Tuesday instead of doing a Minecraft challenge we met in small groups on Google Hangout to discuss differentiation ideas of Givercraft. Thomas was tsked to run the group meeting I was in. I appreciated all the information he gave us. He was involved in the Givercraft last semester, so he has some experience doing what we are doing this semester. His best advice was to not stress that everything will come together in the end. I often forget about this. He is right it will all work out and if it doesn’t I just pray Lee will understand J
Cindy and I facilitated the Twitter session this week. Most of our questions centered around debriefing and sharing what had taken place in the Google Hangout’s from the night before. We wanted to make sure everyone had time to share their positive experiences and ask any clarifying questions they still had.
Essential question: How can I create opportunities for differentiation in Givercraft?
My plan to differentiate during Givercraft is to team up with Amanda and Andrea. Amanda came up with the idea of creating a chest of memory books. Amanda has already gone in and created a house with a chest in it. We will create a chest of books that students in need of help can teleport to. The books will contain memories from the book The Giver. Scenario two in the Givercraft course tasks students with finding books of memories and building the memories in MincraftEdu. On Tuesday we met in groups to brainstorm on how to differentiation the Givercraft course for students. Some of us were having difficulty understanding how to differentiate because we have not facilitated the Givercraft course yet. I believe when the course begins I will better understand how to differentiate to meet the needs of more students. After gaining this experience I should have a better idea of how to differentiate for the students in the Lord of the Flies and Maze Runner Minecraft courses. Facilitators will have to keep in mind many students may have thousands of hours of experience and may consider us novices. We will have to learn how to tap into their experience, so they can share with others. The Givercraft course is all so new to me, even playing the game is new. I am thankful that Amanda is allowing me to team up with her, as I gain experience. Amanda probably has a better idea of what student needs are in the course, as she took the Givercraft course last semester.
During the Tuesday meeting my group discussed a variety of ideas on how to differentiate for the students. Thomas was tasked with running the meeting. He took time to explain the Givercraft course and each scenario. He explained to us how and why we might need to differentiate. Cindy was in our group and she started brainstorming ideas on how to differentiate for students who aren’t gamers. Most of our time was spent talking about how to differentiate and engage experienced players who say they are bored and are destructive to others creations with less experience. It is also important to remember that some students may not want to play the game, those who would rather write/create a paper or book than build/create on Givercraft. I am looking forward to seeing if Cindy develops something for those students.
This week’s MinecraftEdu challenge was to practice the teacher tools. We were to take on different student roles and spend some time also being in teacher role. I had fun being in a student role. I worked on making things and chatting with other students. Then I spent some time in teacher role, which was not so fun. I found it extremely hard to keep up with the students. The Minecraft world is so big and all the students were spread out. Then there were students that would throw potions or spawn animals everywhere. It was difficult trying to figure out who was causing the problems. I would freeze students and they didn’t seem to like that. During my time in teacher role, I tried out each tool to see how they all worked: turn off chat, freezing, and teleporting, etc.
During this week’s Twitter session we debriefed on how it went in the MinecraftEdu challenge and how/what really happens when teachers have students play MinecraftEdu. At this point I am trying to take in all the advice and suggestions as I can, because I will need it when my OLTAK course starts the Givercraft.
It was interesting reading the blog postings of my peers and their take on using games in the classroom. Many teachers shared the resources they use for gaming in their classroom.
Many of the materials I have read and watched about games in the classroom have one current theme, that using technology-based games in the classroom allows for immediate feedback. Teachers can use the feedback they receive to tailor their instruction for their students. According to Moyle, “Learning is differentiated with the use of technologies as well as through the use of games, with the aim that feedback is immediate and ongoing (p.6).”
Games allow teachers to give and get formative feedback about their student’s educational needs. I have experience using iXL, Ticket to Read, Odyssey Math, and Mathletics in my classroom. All of these sites have some type of gaming component, to make learning fun for the students. With each program teachers can view reports on student progress. With some programs, like Ticket to Read, teachers can tailor the program to a student’s reading level, so they receive an individualized experience. Odyssey Math allows teachers to assign pre-assessments for students. If students received a low score (teachers set the score required to pass the assessment) on the pre-assessment the program would assign lessons on those concepts.
It’s important educators stay current with technologies students enjoy using, because it will help increase student engagement. Robert Pronovost in the Edutopia video Differentiating Instruction Through Interactive Games mentions that he could give his students worksheets to complete the same task, but using technology-based games is more engaging and exciting for students.
Differentiating Instruction Through Interactive Games (Tech2Learn Series). (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZ0BGXMf83
Moyle, K. (2012). Session A-Differentiated classroom learning, technologies and school improvement: what experience and research can tell us. Retrieved February 14, 2015, from http://research.acer.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1135&context=research_conference
Online Math Games Balance Challenge with Mastery Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVIe3HwCThI#t=127
The best part about this week’s MinecraftEdu challenge for me was playing the role of the student and building. I spent time subsistence hunting, started building an igloo, then went on to build a cabin at fish camp near a river. However, my building skills are sub par compared to some of my colleagues. I went back into MinecraftEdu to create my video and I couldn’t find any of the stuff I had built, so the screenshots I took from that night will have to do. Then I was going to make a video of some of the teacher tools I tried out Tuesday night, but there were no students playing, so many of the tools didn’t show up.
Here is the screenshot of the igloo I started. Then I got frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to make rounded edges, so I moved on to my fish camp.
This is the screenshot of my fish camp.
On Tuesday I spent some time in teacher role. I tried out the different teacher tools: teleporting students to me, teleporting myself to students. I froze students, which only made them mad. The most frustrating thing for me in teacher role was not being able to figure out who was causing trouble. Mia was building an ice rink and someone put a bunch of cows on the rink. It happened so fast, there was no time to react. It was so different from teaching in a the real world and dealing with trouble maker students face to face. I need more practice as a teacher.
This week’s Minecraft challenge my group and I were to rebuild Germany after WWI and encourage woman to do their part and have children in order to create a strong country. I was able to help Mia build an apartment for the women. Then I made a place for pigs, chickens and cows by the school for women that one of my team members made. I also put up signs with propaganda and write in a book, although I couldn’t figure out how to put the book anywhere. I added bookshelves to some of our buildings, but I couldn’t get my book to stay on the shelf.
This week’s Twitter session was about gaming and gamification. I wasn’t able to answer many questions because I have little experience using gamification in my class. But I enjoyed reading the responses of others. I enjoy getting ideas from other people, especially those that are doing something well in their classroom. It’s great to hear what works and what doesn’t work, so that if I decide to use gamification in my classroom I have some ideas.