If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a teacher, it’s that one has to be flexible. Sometimes, very flexible. Teachers encounter obstacles and problems when a lesson doesn’t go the way as planned, and often have to think on their feet to create a backup plan in mind. This is particularly true when it comes to technology use.
Lately I’ve encountered a lot of issues in my Fluco Game Designer club with technology. Things just didn’t go as planned, and I’ve had to scramble to redirect the lessons. It’s frustrating, yes, but I also have to expect that if it can go wrong, it just might go wrong.
We first had issues with LearntoMod, which is all on our side. Our students have email accounts, but they cannot send or receive email from anyone not using a school email address. This has made it hard to get students to sign up to use the program, even though we have whitelisted the email now. Something’s still not right though. I’m going to push it aside for now. One thing I would suggest for the site is to make it so teachers can create the accounts for students without them needing an email address. That would make things so much easier. When we had issues with that, I set students to task on their Spring Showcase project on Gamestar Mechanic instead. They were not very happy, but it worked.
Yesterday I had a group that was ready to begin in Minecraft since we had put aside LearntoMod for now. I had everything tested- school accounts, logging in, connecting to LAN… everything was a go. Our students use regular PC Minecraft. They came into the lab about 30 minutes after I had gotten everything connected. I went around to help get folks online and into the LAN. I got myself in, and 2 other students before suddenly I was getting an InvalidCredentialException error. Well drat. Now kids couldn’t log in, and it had nothing to do with the school either.
Thankfully, many of the students use DailyCraft. They know I hate it and don’t allow them to use it, but it did accomplish the purpose of the lesson yesterday until we could get them logged into the school accounts. They were to explore and learn about using Redstone and build different items or machines that functioned. They had the ability to go to YouTube and search how to videos to help them as well.
We were able to get on regular Minecraft eventually, so they got kicked from DailyCraft. I got them on the LAN network to explore the world I’d set up for them. They were free to build as they wished.
I’m hoping that next week goes more smoothly, and I can go over LAN rules, such as “Be courteous of other builds”, aka Don’t destroy others’ work. I already had someone destroy the goofy arrow I built at spawn point, as well as part of a watch tower structure. I rebuilt both, and then located the exact spawn point. I’m working to develop a base camp style cabin, and hope to post things in there for students, as well as some nice decorations and things. It is my goal to use this world throughout the rest of the year, and then at the end of the year email students the world files so that they can have a copy themselves.
Flexibility is key!