Sunday, September 28, 2014

Week 4 Reflection

This week has by far been the busiest. First I have had many parent conferences, google hangouts and regular meetings. Then my husband and I received news that we could move into our new house this weekend! So, many hours this weekend has been put to moving boxes, furniture and settling into our new home!
I found this week that I have become more familiar with using Minecraft. I am starting to learn about the privileges in teacher mode. I think it’s important when creating our MOOC to know sides, student and teacher. This will help us understand how to create our MOOC to better suite our students. I am starting to build a lot quicker and find strategies that help me in Minecraft. I have found there are a lot of tools to observe if learning is occurring. The most important tool is ENGAGEMENT. Our district has announced that this year they are only looking for student engagement with teachers evaluations. Our principal will evaluate us on all domains, but pay close attention to student engagement. If students’ are not engaged, then what was the point to the lesson?
This is the same for Minecraft and Minecraftedu, if students are not engaged, will they want to build or play Minecraft? Will they want to explore and learn new strategies or work with other peers? The answer is, no. Students need to be engaged. When students are engaged, learning will occur. The other tool I found most important is assessments. Assessments can be tests, observations of students learning, questions to students and rubrics. Thomas had a great idea of having students be assessed by levels. Students who achieve a certain level will be graded on the following. Every student learns differently. It’s important we assess our students from their ability. Mia had a suggestion of giving a dedicated area in Minecraft for students. This lets students work with their peers, focus on a certain task or goal and allow the teacher to observe the students.

I’m looking forward to discussing with my group this week on what we want our students to focus on. I think once we decide on an objective it will be easy to have standards and goals for our students to focus on when playing in Minecraft.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Essential Question Week 4

What tools can we use both in and out of Minecraft, to create a convincing case that learning occurred? 
The first tool we can use in and out of Minecraft to show learning occurred is by observation. When a student performs a task or skill correctly, then we know the student has learned (Kapp, 2012). This can be also by assessments, but the best way is to observe the student. During minecraft, I had a difficult time building the first time. After practicing I started to get better. While in Minecraft this week, I observed myself understanding how to access my supplies more practical, flying, learning how to build quicker and being more efficient. I also observed and watched my peers demonstrate how to build quickly. This helped me learn how to use the tools I had to build and answer any questions I had. 
Another tool is encouragement this gives “positive feedback that focuses primarily on effort or improvement rather than outcomes” (Evans, 1997). It’s shown that if a “person can be encouraged to perform an important act that is counter to the person’s own attitudes, a change in the person’s attitude can occur. My attitude when I first started playing minecraft was pretty negative and being very frustrated. While having the opportunity to play in Minecraft each week and have peers that schedule times to play, and give assistance while playing has been helpful in learning the game. It’s important to give feedback to students on their progress, how they did and what they can improve on. It’s important to encourage students, set goals and help them achieve their goals.
            Have students role-play is an important tool. We learn by experience and by doing. Students should have a role in the game. They will have higher thinking and work towards their challenge.  If a student is in a game and only playing, learning is probably not occurring. To have learning occur, students need to be focused, working with other peers incase they need assistance or extra support. Not every time should students work with peers, but most of the time teamwork is important to have learning occur. It helps students see other views on things and to have higher level of thinking. To show that learning has occurred is when students can connect what they’re learning about to every day life or to other subjects.

Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Evans, T. (1997). THE TOOLS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from

Breslow, L. (2008). HOW DO WE KNOW IF STUDENTS ARE LEARNING. Retrieved September 23, 2014, from

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summary Week 3

This week has been quite intense. With open house at our school and quickly returning home to enter into the virtual world of Minecraft for our weekly meeting was quite stressful.  I spent hours playing Minecraft and received my badge for emerging builder. I realized this week that all of the information that I have been learning and reading about has started to change the way that I create my lessons in the classroom and explain certain situations to parents. For example, I had a parent talk about their child’s involvement in video games at home. I asked them what kind of game. I can’t remember the name, but it was a game that made the child think of different strategies, have better hand eye coordination…etc It was like a light bulb went off in my brain. I knew exactly what the child was experiencing and how to explain to the parent, that this video game was actually wonderful for their child to do at home. I did explain there’s a time and place for everything and if their child is staying up late and playing the game, well that’s probably not a good idea.
            I have enjoyed learning how to play Minecraft. While it’s frustrating at times o.k. quite a bit! It’s also a learning experience and a fantastic adventure. I have found that when I’m playing Minecraft, my whole world stops. I can’t multitask and stop playing until all of my quests are completed. I can understand how in almost every game I have ever played in my life, they are set up for different types of players. There’s always goals to achieve, exploring to be done and possibly dying or killing off (making another player go back to start, put in jail) in the game. Most of the time there is socializing, working together to figure out how to play the game or be better at the game. Unless you’re playing the card game, war then there’s no socializing involved only achieving and killing the other person to get the most cards.

            I have worked with my peers in MinecraftEdu this week. What a fun way to socialize and bond together. I connected with my team this week on deciding on how to create our game “The Giver.” We met in a Google hangout and drum roll please my hangout worked the first time! Oh, what a relief. During our meeting we talked about what standards we wanted to include in the lesson and decided to break off into groups of two. One person will dissect the chapters and explain the vision to the other partner. The other partner will take the vision and turn it into a reality while building in Minecraft. Our mission this week is to read the book and choose three sections to share with the group. I hope everyone doesn’t choose the same sections. I also read my peers thoughts on this weeks reading and essential question and gave other articles and ideas connecting to their thoughts.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Week 3 Essential Question

How can we use Minecraft to create a sound and robust learning experience for students?
As the creators, we need to make Minecraft a game that will be engaging to the students. When creating the game, we want to think of the types of interactions we want the students to have during the experience not what we think the game should be about. We want our students to be “navigating the world, building their own creations and collaborating with each other to explore and solve puzzles” (Levin). A “common mistake among novice game developers is that they think of a new game in terms of the topic they want to include in the game and not the interactions driving engagement” (Kapp, 2014).
Minecraft has all four types of games within it such as “Agon, Alea, Mimicry and Illinx” (Kapp, 2014).  With Agon there’s competition. In someways Minecraft can be competitive when playing with multiplayers. Who can build the fastest house or nicest house. When playing as a single player, it’s competitive to who can build the fastest house before dark and stay safe. Alea is chance. There is a fifty% chance your house will be built correctly, or when building it will be completed in enough time. I know when I was playing minecraft I had a difficult time building. My blocks would be placed in some other area instead of the building location. I would have to break them and retry. This would take time, so I can see how Minecraft could be challenging to students. It would definitely keep their interest and help them set goals to build a house. The other type is Mimicry. Minecraft is a virtual world. It’s a game in 3D and we are building houses with blocks. Illinx is integrated in Minecraft, we are not moving to music, but we do fly in the game and can jump and run during the game.
The other way to keep Minecraft a sound and robust learning experience for students is to make sure each different kind of player will enjoy the game. I know after playing Minecraft I’m definitely an achiever and explorer. I was somewhat socializing to get information on how to use the game and help others when needed, but mostly working to achieve my goals. The only time I was a killer was when I had to cook food.
Minecraft creates many different situations for all players to enjoy the game. There are two types of minecraft students can play. Minecraft students can be “connected to the same server and share the same world” and in MinecraftEdu the “teachers and students can connect together in the same virtual space.” To have a sound and robust learning experience we need to set goals and expectations for our students. Students need to be given “specific tasks to accomplish or puzzles to solve” (Webster, 2011). Students need to work together to achieve these goals and to make Minecraft an extraordinary learning experience in their classroom.


Kapp, K. M. (2012). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction : Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Levin, J. (2011, February 2). GETTING STARTED WITH MINECRAFTEDU. Retrieved September 17, 2014, from

What is MinecraftEdu. (2011, April 7). Retrieved September 16, 2014.

Andrew, W. (2011, April 3). Educational building blocks: How Minecraft is used in classrooms. Retrieved September 18, 2014, from

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Summary of Week 2

This week I learned to have an effective game students and anyone else playing the game need to be motivated. Students should be self-motivated and have a purpose. It shouldn’t be from a teacher directed motivation the whole time.  There needs to be modeling and explanation on how long the game will take so the student can understand how much effort they need to give and motivate themselves. To be successful students need to be challenged. When the game is very challenging this can cause students to turn away or not be interested in the game.
            In Thomas’s blog, he explained how Donkey Kong was challenging for him right on the ledge of frustration and almost making him quit.  This is the level challenging games should have. It keeps the players interested, but doesn’t create so much frustration to where the player decides to leave the game.
This week, I had the same situation. During our Google Hangout meeting, I had a difficult time downloading the voice plugin program. My computer said it was downloaded, but every time I went to connect to the meeting, I would have to download google plug in again. I finally was able to connect to the meeting, but then had a difficult time opening the minecraft folder due to using a PC and not a MAC. I ended up using two computers, one so I could listen to the google hangout and the other to access minecraft.
My goal this week is to work with IT and make sure my computer can connect to google hangout for next week.  This situation was extremely frustrating and challenging to the point where I almost quit. The idea of being able to connect to the meeting and here the information about minecraft, kept me going. I set a goal for myself and kept going until I achieved it.
I have never played minecraft, so after the meeting I spent another hour exploring minecraft. It wasn’t until my husband reminded me; we didn’t have dinner yet, so I decided to stop for the evening. The game was fascinating. I enjoyed learning about the game as I played. There where signs and explanations on how to move your player and build. The game has some difficulty and a few challenges, but not enough to turn me away from the game.

This week I read my peers blogs and gave feedback on their thoughts from this week. Most of the time, I agreed with their idea of motivation and having games flow – be created with enough challenges. I also connected with my k-12 MOOC team. We explained our knowledge and experience with the book “The Giver.” It is important to know the story line and how the structure is built in the book when building a game. We collaborated on how we wanted to design the game. We thought the students could build it and create an explanation using information sited from the book. A lot of us have never read the book, so we are all in the process of reading the book right now. We gave our thoughts on what time and day would work best to meet. I talked to a few students at my school about mine craft. Another co-worker and I heard about a first grader’s experience with the game. It was amazing to me, a first grader who is still learning how to log in to the school computers, could play mine craft. I love this about technology. It doesn’t matter what age you are, anyone can access it and be successful.