Week 8 EDET678 Essential Question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?

Aleta May

Week 8 EDET678

Essential Question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?

#uaemergtech Aleta’s Week 8 Blog Post:  https://aleta57.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/week-8-edet678-essential-question-what-minecraft-game-could-you-create-that-would-help-students-learn/

The Minecraft Quickstart Guide is an excellent guide for getting started on how to use the controls, items, and how to activities. When I first tried Minecraft so that I could use this game to teach comprehension of the book The Giver by creating scenarios with students in the book through a game created by students in the UA Technology program, Givercaft, I searched for guides to help me. Though I found YouTube video clips and had two experienced teachers (students who were part of creating Givercraft), I can see how well this game explains each step. I believe this is because it is written in Graphic Novel format. This is also a great way for students to learn to follow instructional guides or manuals.

If I am to learn how to create a game from scratch, I really need to play the game some more. I guided students through the book The Giver and with the assistance of experienced people, including students, the scene were not only developed by the students, but we unlocked certain features and the weather was set to survival mode, that added in unpredictable rain, to allow students to deal with how the characters in The Giver would feel after leaving the Utopian society with life in a dome, with perfect weather control all the time.

Here is a YouTube video clip called Parabolas In the Real World Minecraft: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMuUKaMMRQg

The algebra problem is written on the sign in Minecraft. The blocks work like grid. The real world application is a Minecraft version of the Golden Gate Bridge. There is a sign on the bridge with a very low equation: y = 0.000112X(squared)2

Minecraft was not a game specifically designed for educational use, although there is now a Minecraft.edu version. This is the official site: https://minecraft.net/en/ and it explains well interactive features: “Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures. Explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things . . . Play in Creative Mode . . . or Survival Mode . . . alone or with friends.” Nebel, Schneider, & Rey (2016), refer to Minecraft as a “. . . multiplayer sandbox building game” (p. 356). I would like to create a Minecraft game that teaches Life Science Biology. The multiplayer feature allows students to work together to build a variety of biomes. In fact, “the unmodified game itself contains biomes that can be used as ecology representations and complex systems that can be influenced through the player” (Nebel, et al., 2016, p. 359). Environments can have plants and animals added to them. This could become part of a discussion of how a natural biome may be affected when humans add to them with plants not native to the area and fences to control animals. Students then could be asked to modify their created biomes to be more environmentally friendly.

Some considerations that need to be made when using Minecraft for a school project are that the teacher needs to monitor the activities to avoid having students horde resources, staying away from zombie-infested environments, and reminding skilled players that this is an opportunity to collaborate with other students rather than compete or dominate (Nebel, et al.).

Another area of educational use of Minecraft I have is that of incorporating this into art curriculum; or allowing students to create artistic representations for content areas to demonstrate their comprehension of the topic. In addition to creative mode, and survival mode, is adventure mode. Adventure mode allows students to “navigate a map and follow rules constructed by someone else” (Overby & Jones, 2015, p. 22). These different modes invite students to construct art together in an interactive problem-solving space. Houses can have creative design qualities both inside and out. Students learn “basic programming skills for creating interactive digital art . . . lead students into more complicated coding . . . in learning Photoshop, Maya, or similar image and 3-D modeling programs. . .” (Overby & Jones, p. 24). Embedded in this article is the link to the Redstone circuit: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Redstone_circuit   The redstone circuit is for activating or controlling mechanisms. There are so many connections from this to teaching physical science. I can visualize students incorporating these “automatic doors and light switches . . . elevators, automatic farms,” (minecraft.gamepedia.com, p. 1) and then transitioning them to completing Arduino basic circuitry to see how light switches (buttons) or fans work, through a microcontroller computer.

References

Fryer, W. (Dr.). MinecraftEDU redstone engineering challenge. Retrieved July 9, 2016. Including a link to the Redstone circuit: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Redstone_circuit

Minecraft Quickstart Guide: http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft

Nebel, S., Schneider, S., & Rey, G. D. (2016). Mining learning and crafting scientific experiments: A literature review on the use of minecraft in education and research. Educational Technology & Society, 19(2), 355-366

Official Minecraft site: : https://minecraft.net/en/

Parabolas in the real world: Minecraft (May 10, 2015). Retrieved July 6, 2016 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMuUKaMMRQg

Overby, A. & Jones, B. L. (2015). Virtual legos: Incorporating minecraft into the art education curriculum. Art Education.

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