Twitter Transcript: #minecraftedu on Moving Forward

Tonight was the first night that #minecrafted switched to using the hashtag #minecraftedu for all of their edchats. The usual curation site was not ready yet for the switch, so I have created a Storify transcript for use instead.

Transcript here

#Minecraftedu meets every Tuesday at 8 PM. Mark Grundel (@mgrundel) and Garrett.Z (@PBJellyGames) are the founders of the chat, and ones to follow for notices about the chat itself. Please remember to use the new hashtag for the chats from here on out!

Minecraft Makershop: World Download

I’ve finally had the chance to go over the world and remove any of the edu blocks that were used in game. It took me some time to do, since I also had training to attend and an illness to battle. However, I finally finished everything tonight and you can now download our map and load it onto PC Minecraft.

Download Link here

Here are the instructions I sent the kids to get it installed onto their computers:

1. Download the .zip file.
2. Click on the downloaded file and a new window will open. You’ll want to look for the option to extract all files and click that. I like to extract my files directly to the desktop.
3. Look for the Windows key on your keyboard. It looks like 4 squares together on the left side, just to the right of the ctrl key. Press this and press R at the same time.
4. In the run dialog box, type %appdata% and press enter.
5. Open the folder that says .minecraft.
6. Open the folder that says saves.
7. Now go to the desktop, or wherever you unzipped your files and copy the entire FOLDER.
8. Go back to your saves folder and paste the folder you copied.
9. Once the folder is pasted, you can rename it to whatever you like.
10. Boot up MInecraft.
11. Once logged in to your profile (not the game!), go to Edit Profile.
12. Change the launcher from the most current one you use back to 1.7.10
13. Boot the game the rest of the way and load the world to play.

Happy exploring!

Twitter Transcript: #MinecraftED on Educators & Minecraft Mastery

It’s been a crazy start to the week, and I’d rather not go into details, but it certainly didn’t stop me from attending an Infusing Technology Academy training. I was lucky enough to get back from dinner in time to participate in this chat. It certainly brought about a lot of questions on mastery!

Transcript here

#MinecraftED meets every Tuesday at 8 PM. Mark Grundel (@mgrundel) and Garrett.Z (@PBJellyGames) are the founders of the chat, and ones to follow for notices about the chat itself. Starting next week, the #minecraftED hashtag will change over to #minecraftedu.

Minecraft Makershop: Day 5

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

Minecraft Makershop: Day 4

Day 4 has come and gone, and for the most part, it was one of the most peaceful days so far, until the very last hour. Then again, that last hour is always the roughest. Today was full of a lot of progress, for the most part. Today the kids worked on their final group builds, and they also spent a little bit of time on their final individual builds. I’m actually pretty sure that they won’t finish their individual builds, but that’s okay.

We started the morning with the individual builds so that the kids could get focused for the day. We didn’t spend too much time on them because I wanted to give them plenty of time to get their group builds underway. The kids were also itching to work more on their group builds, so we quickly moved on to that. I wanted to make sure they had plenty of time to tackle the big job ahead of them.

Before each group could work on their collaborative build, they had a meeting with me. I wanted them to discuss a few things with me, and I had also planned to use this time to tackle some issues that Group 1 was having. I met with Group 2 first. We first talked about the pros and cons about their group. I didn’t say anything, just asked them to give me their own feedback. This group had many pros, and they were all things that I would have picked as well. From the pro/con list, we moved on to their plans for the build, which gave me a way to get them to provide ideas for themselves later on, should they get stuck. Next, we talked about how they planned to research their ideas and what they were using in their collaborative build that they had learned from the workshop.

Next I met with Group 1, and we followed the same procedures as Group 2. This group was much the opposite with their pro/con list. They were able to come up with more cons than pros. They also did the plans for their build, as well as their research and what they had learned during the workshop. The one thing I did add to their paper was a section on how to fix the issues that they had been having as a group. We sat and discussed what was wrong, and I told them what I had seen. Everyone provided suggestions to try and fix what was wrong. I sent them off to work on their project, and for a time, all seemed well for them.

The morning did happen to fly by while the kids worked. Often I explored where they were working and provided help when they asked for it. Sometimes things got a bit goofy. Check out the following images.

The cross reads “Memory to Mr. Cakerton, the best villager ever”. One student had built a bakery for her individual build and created a villager named Mr. Cakerton to run it. Mr. Cakerton escaped one day, and John killed him. The kids in Group 2 put up this memorial to him and I snapped this shot.

This student was trying to chase me and sit on me in the game. What he forgot is that I could instantly freeze him in place and he wouldn’t be able to move… stopped him in his tracks!

During one of my rounds, I decided to put on the zombie head for kicks. I was thrilled to find that it didn’t hide my glasses. The kids said that made me a “smart zombie”

Once again, our trouble area started after lunch. I had one kid in Group 1 who was deciding that he wanted to play around and go bother others rather than build. He is certainly a kid who has the talent and skill when it is applied. I think he was just unable to focus any longer and redirected his energies. Unfortunately, it also happened to bother those around him as well. I plan to do another Group Report tomorrow morning before the kids get started on their group builds so I can address it during that time.

I have noticed though that Group 2 works very well together and has gotten a lot done. Looking at their build, you can definitely see that they’ve planned things out. This group talks the entire time and communicates exactly what they are doing. They make sure to ask permission before assisting another team member, and they’ve gotten really good at compromising and accepting ideas from others. If I could record video and post it of their work ethic, I totally would.

Group 1 is rather the opposite. I will give them credit that for the rest of the morning after their group meeting they did attempt to work together and communicate. They were doing much better. After lunch this all went out the window. They know what they need to fix and how to fix it, but it does take time to get them to the point where they can actually together. I don’t think I can expect any kind of miracle, but I do expect them to show improvement, and they gave me that, so I am thankful.

Tomorrow the newspaper is supposed to come and see the Makershop so they can do a write-up. I had also invited the superintendent, but I don’t think he will come. I sent him a reminder email yesterday, but heard nothing back. That’s okay though. I know that with summer in swing, he’s got a lot on his plate most likely.

I will showcase final collaborative builds tomorrow so be on the lookout!

Minecraft Makershop: Day 3

Today marked the midway point for Minecraft Makershop. Today was a pretty good day overall, and we did get a lot accomplished. I know that not all of the kids were fond of some of it, because they just wanted to build, but I had to remind them that this was part of the workshop and they did settle in once they got started.

Some of my kids arrive shortly after 8:30, and have a half hour to wait until the workshop begins. I’ve set most of them to doing research for the first part and checking things I’ve sent via the email list. If they finish all of that, then they are able to work on any of their builds. It’s worked well for the most part, and keeps them occupied until we start at 9, which is usually when the last kid arrives.

Today we started with researching examples of the type of final individual build they were completing. For example, one kid was looking up office builds, while another was looking up examples of jails. The kid with the jail actually came in and told me he’d done his own research last night and had ideas to incorporate into what he had started. I told him great, and looked forward to seeing what he ended up building.

Once 9 o’clock rolled around, the kids began working on their builds. I was pretty impressed with what many of them were doing with their builds. I knew that most would not finish before we had to start working on the collaborative group builds, but I figured they could always work on them by themselves when they had to wait on their group members. Some of the kids were still having trouble with the concepts we had been learning about, while others were really making strides. I knew that I could not bring every kid up to the level I wanted in the short time that I had. The skills I was trying to teach about are not concepts that can be learned overnight. They are learned and improved upon over time, and if I can observe a build and find the key points that were different from when the workshop began, then I have accomplished something.

At 9:30, we took a break from our individual builds to refocus on Redstone and the ways it could be used in the game. I wanted the kids to take a closer look at the ways others had used the material in the game. I already knew that some of the things they would find would be simplistic, and others would be very complex. It also gave them practice with their research skills, but don’t tell them that! Each kid spent time developing a list of ways to use Redstone. Once they had had twenty minutes to complete research using both the internet and the books I had provided. Then we all gathered at the tables in the center of the room to discuss what they’d found. We created a large list of ways to use Redstone creations in the game. Some creations are best used in survival mode, but others are great for builds. Our list has 37 items, though I think a few things are repeated on there. Check it

Once we had our list, we talked about the connection to circuitry and how the Redstone had to be connected just so in order to work. We did this with a simple discussion using a lighting system as the visual aid. It was one of the easiest projects for the kids to understand, and one that some had already used in their builds.

The kids returned to building their own projects at this point, and worked until lunch, when they were supposed to be finished. However, they didn’t get finished, though some were close. Therefore, I’m not going to post any pictures of those builds yet because they’ll have time to work on them in the mornings and at lunch during the remaining days that we have left. There are quite a variety of buildings being created though, and I’m pleased about that. It does help that I told them they couldn’t build a house for this project. I did provide them with a Builder’s Block list to help them decide on what to build if they couldn’t come up with anything on their own.

After lunch, I split the kids off into their final project groups. The final project requires each group to design a city or village. There must be at least six types of builds, but they can certainly have more. Every project must have a road system to connect everything together, and must use Redstone throughout. Each group was given a 200 x 200 area in which to work out their project. Originally I had planned on a 300 x 300 area, but that was
far bigger than what I wanted so I downsized.

I finally decided to just do two groups. One would have 3 kids and the other would have 4. I had observed the kids all week and their levels of experience. I tried to mix up the groups a bit, and pair up kids who could teach each other new things. I also had some kids who didn’t mix well together, and did try to keep them apart for this project, due to limited time. I believe I ended up with a good mix of abilities. Each group is very different. One group works well and talks through everything they plan to build. They also provide assistance if their partners want it, but don’t interfere with their build otherwise. The other group doesn’t talk to each other much, and they have trouble communicating. I’m going to have to really pay close attention to this group and work together with them for this particular project. I want them to talk through and plan things, so I’m going to have to provide support.

Group 1 hard at work. The one student is separated because the computer to his right was having issues.

Group 2 working on their project. Each student was working on a separate build for their community at this point.

We’re ready for Day 4! I’m eager to see where the day takesus, and what ends up in the final project build.

Twitter Transcript: #minecraftED on Linking Real/Virtual Worlds & Collaboration

Sadly, I once again had to miss #minecraftED. Unlike last week, I was busy moderating #wvedchat. This is why I’m always thankful to have the transcripts after each edchat at my fingertips. It makes catching up much easier, and allows me to reflect when I have my own free time.

Tonight the topic was on linking the real and virtual worlds together with global collaboration. I use Tweetdeck for my Twitter needs, so as I was moderating #wvedchat, I would glance over every now and then to see some amazing examples shared by the participants of #minecraftED. There are many talented teachers to connect with in that group!

Transcript here

#MinecraftED meets every Tuesday at 8 PM. Mark Grundel (@mgrundel) and Garrett.Z (@PBJellyGames) are the founders of the chat, and ones to follow for notices about the chat itself.