Friday, 5 May 2017

Get started with Lesson planning in Minecraft:Education Edition

This is the fifth post in a series of posts about using Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom. (The series of posts can be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2pRigwJ) In this post we take a look at lesson planning using Minecraft: Education Edition and we explore where to find ready-made lessons as well as how to create your own lessons using Minecraft: Education Edition.


There is a lot of buzz about using Minecraft in the classroom at the moment. Teachers have been experimenting with different ways to use it in the classroom for some time now, and they have found that Minecraft: Education Edition is a great vehicle for learning in their classrooms. But, the two big questions that most teachers ask are:
  • How does one go about finding already-created lessons on using Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom? 
  • How does one create a lesson from scratch using Minecraft: Education Edition? 
Here are a few guidelines to follow:

How to find already-created feely-shared lessons on the Minecraft website
There are a whole bunch of ready-made, freely-shared lesson plans waiting for you on the official Minecraft website https://education.minecraft.net/class-resources/lessons/ On this website one can find lessons spanning primary, intermediate, and secondary school for use with your students. There are featured lessons:


There is also a section on the website where you can search for lessons for the age group and subject that you teach.


These are all beautifully presented and easy to follow. I had a search for Maths for Ages 6-7 and came up with quite few options to investigate.\


Ideas for creating lessons from Mark Grundel in his article ‘Lesson Creation in Minecraft: Education Edition’.

Mark Grundel provides the following pointers to lesson planning

Planning
Mark suggests using a blank sheet of paper or graphc organizer for this. In this stage you decide on the skills you would like the learners to work on, and think about a back story narrative for the lesson. One would also decide on game elements to be included.
  • World Setup: There are several worlds in Minecraft – which one would be best for your purposes? 
  • Decide between Creative and survival mode. (On the website https://education.minecraft.net/lessons/geocaching-lesson/ you can see Mark’s geocaching lesson example and how he has created it.) 
  • He suggests that one makes use of potions to quickly build.
  • He adds that one should determine one’s world spawn point.
  • After that set your inventory. Mark determined that he wanted all players entering my game to start with some items, which they could never loose. Minecraft Education Edition has a unique feature of a fixed inventory, which all players will start with upon entering the world.
Narratives Using NPCs (Non Player Characters)
After the planning stage the next step would be to create the back story narrative. Minecraft Education Edition has a unique offering of using Non-Player Characters as shown below to give the back story and the directions:


Build Your World

The next step is to build your world. Mark says: “This is the really fun part. As the teacher and game designer you can determine what you want your students to accomplish. Where do you want them to go? Will there be false clues. You are only limited by your creativity.”

Ways to use Minecraft in your classroom
Albeit using already-created Minecraft lessons in your classroom or creating your own lessons, there are a ton of ideas available. In his Edutopia article ‘Ideas for Using Minecraft in the Classroom’ Andrew Smith https://goo.gl/r2E3iQ here are a couple:

Make History Come Alive
There are many already-created three-dimensional replica structures available in Minecraft Education Edition, such as the Roman Colosseum or the Globe Theatre in London. You can import these into your created game for the learners to explore.

Add a Tool for Writing

Minecraft: Education Edition can be used to tell stories with characters, locations, choices, motivations, and plots. Learners can write and create stories based on their character within Minecraft: Education Edition.

Aid Visualization and Reading Comprehension
Learners can demonstrate their reading comprehension by creating a visualization. They can reconstruct various settings from a text, and even re-create scenes and plot events.

Address Problem Solving and Other Math Principles
Teachers can use Minecraft to build skills needed for Maths competency.

Further reading
  • Take a look at: Petoskey's ‘Bringing Minecraft into the classroom’ to read about Nikky Willison’s third-grade classroom on a particular Wednesday morning.creating zoos in Minecraft. On this day there were about a dozen zoos in the process of construction as students worked in pairs to create the ideal habitats for a wide array of animals through the use of Minecraft: Education Edition
                             

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