minecraft LAN

Minecraft Fail. Again. Abort?

So yesterday Group 2 met for Fluco Game Designers. Once again, we tackled Minecraft, as it was the first time for this group to log into the world. Since we could only get so many people on the LAN, the others were tasked to create a world and build on their own, especially with redstone. They have access to YouTube, so they were able to find any videos they needed to use. We had some students sharing accounts as well. We had gone over the rules for the LAN world, and I reminded them that they were also posted in the base camp cabin as well.

While I was assisting students with logging in, the first disaster struck. A student went to the computer where the LAN game was hosted, and changed it from peaceful to survival. He then proceeded to go back to his computer and summon a wither. Those of you who play Minecraft know that this is one of the most destructive mobs you can summon in the game. Players quickly alerted me, but not before the thing had destroyed a player’s watch tower and my giant pink arrow. I was able to make the switch back to peaceful and then was ready to kick the offending player in the behind. I took him off the game and had him sit out for a bit. Thankfully, some of the other kids worked to rebuild the things that had been destroyed.

Problem 1 solved.

Later on, I keep discovering the same group of 4 boys not following the instructions to build and explore redstone (wither boy included). They were more concerned with creating their own LAN and interfering with whatever the others were doing. Sure, they had some things with redstone, but they were constantly distracted. They were the only ones in the group not able to follow given directions.

Problem 2 was not solved before the end of the meeting. However, I did tell them we wouldn’t be doing LAN networks outside of the world I had designed. I also told them to begin thinking about their next challege- building a home that incorporates redstone into multiple aspects, minus things that are destructive, like TNT cannons.

I went home last night and thought about what had happened. I knew I could come up with something that would allow me to avoid some of these issues and my boys who wanted to circumvent everything. My first goal was to figure out a way to solve my LAN woes. Research told me that getting a Realm through Minecraft would not solve my problem, as it limited users to 10 at a time. That left only one option – get a server.

So far this morning, I’ve done research on the server websites that I can access here at school. Researching things related to Minecraft at school is tricky since most of the stuff is blocked because it’s marked as gaming by our cyber security. It seems I can find a server to meet my needs for under $10, but I still need to do some research on the server sites that I cannot access here at school, as well as see if I can find any reviews. By next week though, I hope to have a server in place and hopefully avert the LAN issue. I think things will go more smoothly if all of the students can be in the world at the same time.

The next two club meetings (1 per group) will also bring some more structure with the redstone challenge. I am hoping that the boys will stay focused on the challenge, and since being in the world I have created means following the rules for that world, they wouldn’t be able to kill or destroy each other. We will see how it goes though and I’ll adjust as needed.

Oh and that blog title? Yeah, I had no plans of aborting Minecraft. When technology plans don’t go as one wishes, it’s time to reflect and figure out why. I’m not one to give up easily and I know there’s going to be many bumps along the way. This was to be expected, and I can’t blame the students for all of the issues either. I am to blame as well. That’s why I work to figure out what I can do the next time to avoid them. Hopefully, next week will be smoother!

Well That Didn’t Go As Planned

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!