I’m off to the local radio station this morning to talk about the MinecraftEdu After School Club I’ve been running at Beverley St Nicholas Community Primary school.
I’m not a teacher, I haven’t spent the best part of ten years learning how to be one. “School” is the last place I wanted to return to, but setting up this club allowed children to explore in areas that just can’t be covered by text book lesson plans. For those of you that don’t know what Minecraft is, think Lego designed for a computer. Then think bigger, think coal mining, thing engineering, think computer programing, think science, think art and design, think archaeology… keep thinking.
Minecraft is a brilliant what-if space.
The children play in a safe environment, an adaptation of the Minecraft game they know well. MinecraftEdu has controls to allow the teacher to stay in charge, and it’s far more than Digital Lego.
After completing a MOOC (an online learning course) organised by Joel Mills, Winner of Learning Technologist of the Year 2015 I saw how this household game could reach other people. Because of my background in web design I was able to interest the school in something a little bit different. Joel was kind enough to help.
At the start of the first club, the children purely wanted to play in game on their own projects, but we set up some challenges for them to work as a team. In the game we asked them what would happen in their team town if they didn’t have a particular thing to survive (eg food and water, resources to build).
By the end of the six weeks, they were bringing in their own books and doing their own research to keep their in game community alive, they collaborated with each other and the other teams.
I’m really proud to be a part of it, to see skills being used in a way that means something to the child, that they can apply rather than being told about why it’s useful. There’s nothing better than witnessing the moment when that bit of learning a child had been struggling within a lesson falls into place.
I’m really looking forward to what the future holds too… but that’s another blog post for later!