Reply To: Online Module 2: Minecraft and the Curriculum

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Avril Hartrey

Part 1.

An effective lesson using Minecraft education, as with any lesson should firstly stimulate interest and excitement for knowledge and learning. It should enable students to develop their skills for 21st century learning: to work collaboratively, construct their own knowledge, incorporate real world problem solving through play and fun whilst also providing a challenge that is appropriate to each students level. Low threshold high ceiling tasks such as can be provided through gaming create a student centred environment where they can self -regulate. In terms of the best usage of teaching/classroom time I believe that a Minecraft lesson needs to incorporate a number of curricular areas. SPHE- developing communication and interpersonal skills through collaborative learning, history, geography or science topics, and visual art seem to work very well together in many of the online lesson samples I have seen. I think taking a local history or geography project where students can transfer real world experiences into an online world makes it even more relevant to their own lives and providing a sense of ownership of learning.

Part 2.

Over the last four years the school and parents association embarked on a large scale fundraiser for ICT in our school. The main focus was the upgrading of our network. Moving from on site server to cloud based storage, purchase of 30 iPads and refurbishment of our computer room. We also had support from industry who donated previously used laptops for the teachers in 2014. These are slow and out of date at this point. In 2019 the school purchased Office 365 licences for teachers. We have only stared using these accounts consistently since March 2020 and our laptops are struggling with Microsoft Teams. Minecraft has not been used previously. The focus has been on iPads and app usage until recently. We have approximately 12 desktops in the computer room which are functioning but now need to be replaced and almost all 14 teaching staff need new laptops/desktop and training in Office 365.

There are varying levels of engagement with ICT by school staff. Training was strongly requested during the upgrades but has been limited. I would love to get some more Office 365 licences for senior students and some new desktops for our computer room. There is interest and willingness for this at admin level in our school so I’m hopeful that we can more towards less app based usage from middle school upwards.