I sit and write this with a bit of a heavy heart. Today was the last day for Minecraft Makershop, and though it was a very busy and interesting week, I certainly will miss my kids and their creativity. This week everyone learned quite a bit, and the kids taught me a few tricks to use in Minecraft that I hadn’t known before. I am impressed by what they were able to come up with. They’ve begged me to make sure the world they created works in regular Minecraft, which I made sure of tonight. I launched it in 1.7.10. All I have to do is replace the border blocks with regular ones and they’ll be set.
Back on track though.
Today was the final day to complete their collaborative builds. We actually had a very quick and busy morning because we had some visitors right from the start. Shortly after the workshop began at 9, we had a reporter come from the local paper, the Hampshire Review, to interview myself and the kids about the workshop and take some images. He first interviewed me about the workshop, and then interviewed three of the kids about their experiences. They then showed him all of their hard work on their builds. He told me he would email me if he had any more questions about Makershop, and that the article would be in next week’s paper. I will definitely share the article once I have a copy!
After the reporter came, I had some time to meet with each group and discuss their progress.
I was still concerned with Group 1’s teamwork. They had done well starting yesterday, but had had issues by the end of the session. Today started off fine, but there were still some issues. One student in the group often got distracted and didn’t do all of his part, which bugged the rest of his team members. I often had to redirect him back to task. His group wasn’t happy with him at times, and I couldn’t blame him. Thankfully, the team meetings did help in the mornings, and his group had plans to complete their build. They completed all requirements, and though they didn’t get as much done as they would have liked, they had all improved overall since the start of the workshop.
Group 2 I wasn’t really concerned with at all, but I wanted to see what they were up to. This group was a really good mesh of team. They did have their issues from time to time, as they also had a member who didn’t always want to do what he was supposed to. However, they did very well with their communication, planning, and problem solving skills. I was actually very amazed. This is the kind of group any teacher would love to have working in class. The work this group was able to produce for their group build was fantastic, and they were proud of what they had accomplished.
Our second visitor of the day showed up shortly after I finished the group meetings. One of the English teachers at CBMS popped in to see what Minecraft Makershop was all about. This is the same teacher I often collaborated with during the school year. She took the time to visit with each group and let them tell her about their work and what they had done. I’m sure they talked her ears off! She also asked me questions about Makershop and how the game could be used in education. While I haven’t researched specific lesson plans, I was able to answer her basic questions and she was pretty intrigued. It’s not something she would use in class, but she could see the value in the game, and that’s what counted most.
Before the kids left for the day, I gave them their special gift. I had contacted Minecraft author Mark Cheverton, author of the Gameknight999 series, a few weeks ago on Twitter. It had nothing to do with Makershop at the time. I was just sharing with him how I told a kid that I knew his favorite author on Twitter. Mark decided to send me bookmarks for every kid in Makershop, and some extras for me wherever I end up next year. He also autographed the bookmarks. The kids loved their surprise, and I do hope they take care of them. Thanks for the gift Mark!
Here are some aerial views of the group builds. I will later on post an update that will have some more detailed images. I wanted to make sure that I shared these tonight.
Group 1 Aerials
Group 2 Aerials
Overall, Minecraft Makershop was a success and something I would definitely do again. I would make a few changes, which I’ve mentioned throughout this week as I’ve posted these updates. Having finally been able to experience the workshop itself, I will be able to make some more changes to my PDF book I’ve been writing on how to run a Makershop. I hope to release it before the summer is up. Beyond the changes I need to make based on this week, I will only need the definitely prices for Microsoft’s Education version.
Honestly, I feel that Makershop should be more of a year-round thing to have the most effect. As I’ve already said, it gives one the chance to focus on small build tasks, and then larger builds as well. Plus, since builds often take hours at a time, it gives more time. A weeklong workshop, though a challenge, is still very much worth the learning experience!
If you have any questions about Makershop, or just want to shoot me a comment, contact me on Twitter: @tisinaction