Sunday, 31 August 2014

MinecraftEDU - What do the children think we could use it for?

MinecraftEDU - What do the children think we could use it for?

Well the new school year is just around the corner and I'm thoroughly excited to be getting back into the swing off things. Well, I'm sure I could manage just one more week at home or one more round of golf, but good things have to come to an end. 

MinecraftEDU - Can it work in school?
I've being playing around with the idea of using MinecraftEDU in school for a while now and this term I'm finally going to start crafting in class. But how can it inspire my children to create, test, explain, solve problems and work collaboratively? 

I'm lucky to have a 7 year old son at home who has started this journey with me this summer and together we've come up with some super ideas for how we could use Minecraft at school.

I managed to survive my first night on Survival mode and I'm now the proud owner of several diamonds, crafted myself a diamond sword (my son was very jealous), but I did unfortunately die when lava well on my head - don't mine vertically, lesson learned.  Here are a couple of screenshots that I'm proud of - the creepers can't get inside!
My Crafting Room
Creepers and Zombies Keep Out!
I started to research the use of Minecraft in classrooms and came across a couple of excellent articles and presentations to really get me excited. 

This presentation from gives you a quick overview of what MinecraftEDU can be used for in the classroom.

Crafted: Is MInecraft the Ultimate Educational Tool? - Download  It's a big file, so give it time, but worth the wait to give you a quick overview.

MInecraftEDU - The website is a great place for information and has a really active community, with a great Twitter feed on the homepage to give you even more links.

There is a great video to watch on there as well, which will get you very excited about the prospect of using MInecraft in the classroom.  Visit the site - MinecraftEDU

So what do the children in my class think? I'll ask them!

Well it's 31st August and the children are not even back at school until 3rd September - Edmodo to the resuce!  The children are obviously streets ahead of me in terms of the game and as I've found out tonight with ideas of how to use the game!

So how best can I utilise this application in my classroom?

I've blogged about how my class uses Edmodo to create an online social learning environment and how it saves me huge amounts of time when sharing content for my flipped classroom.  I decided to post out a few screenshots and see what the children think of my ideas?  I was stunned, and at the time of writing this there are still ideas coming in!

Ideas for Minecraft using Edmodo
This is the original post on Edmodo. I showed the children what I'd been up to and asked them how we could use the game in the classroom.

I had a few ideas sent through and of course I posed questions back to the children. In true flipped learning style, the children had begun to think and learn outside the classroom.

We had ideas around map making for Geography, designing buildings for DT and Art and even a great idea for using the blocks to create graphs in Mathematics.

I loved the way the children have thought differently and it's something I've always believed in - just ask the children what they want to find out about. Teach them the skills and then watch them apply the skills and present them in an engaging way to get your message across.

The final comment that inspired me to write this blog tonight came from one chid who suggested we used Minecraft for Science. This is the conversation we had tonight.  

Ben has clearly demonstrated what he knows, and what he wants to do with it.  He's used the approaches we learned to plan scientific investigations from last year and shown me he's ready to do it himself!  I love the detail in his answers, and how clear his ideas and plans are. I can see the modelled plans we used last year being used in his head.

I've created a huge skyscraper in my classroom for the children to role play in with a few old Mac Minis in there so they can use GoogleSketchup and Minecraft when they are in role as builders, architects and designers. There is also K-Nex and Lego in there for the more hands on children. I'll post some pictures when the children finish the role play this week.  I think I might spend some time in there myself.

Just the beginning...

This really is just the beginning for me using Minecraft in the classroom and I will be learning so much from the children whilst using this application in school. I'll post more as we move through the projects.

We're reading Mortal Engines as inspiration for our topic on 'Great Cities, but not great air.' A topic the children have designed around a photograph of Paris from the air.  

I'm thinking more about Minecraft and its story writing possibilities - build a traction engine in Minecraft and write stories about its movements, survival stories, but amazingly the children will get to live those ideas in the game!

This is my overview for the half term, or term or however long it takes.  We did this together on move up day in the summer term. These are the children's thought processes; they wanted to find the answers to these questions when inspired by the photograph.

It's going to be a great term! Minecraft will hopefully be a big hit in my classroom and we'll have some creative results to share.

What next for me?

I'm really proud that the article I wrote on my Flipped Classroom has been published and will be available from September. It also made the front cover! 

You can subscribe or download the article from The Teaching Times website - here

I've also been asked to write an article for Teach Primary on Flipped Learning that should be out in October, so keep an eye on your staffroom tables!

I've also been asked by Subject Support to run two, one hour online training sessions in December and March with an emphasis on setting up your own flipped classrooms. You can find out more about this  - here

I'm going to be doing a few workshops for ITS Learning this year, one in London, one in the North West and an online sessions that will be broadcast live from a fabulous location.

I've also applied to speak at BETT 2015 about my journey into flipping my primary classroom.  I'm really hoping to do this and share my story with people in person.

It's going to be an exciting year with my amazing class, I still can't believe I get to take them into Year 4 and spend another technology filled adventure with them!

Follow me on Twitter @chriswaterworth

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