Part 1: Discuss what the criteria are for an effective lesson in Minecraft Education:
• Students should be given ownership over the project. The teacher may provide direction and assistance but the students must be given the creative space to develop their own knowledge as they work on a project.
• The lesson should incorporate the use of 21st century skills such as those highlighted by the ‘Microsoft 21CLD Student Work Rubrics’:
o Knowledge construction
o Real-world problem-solving and innovation
o Use of ICT for learning
o Skilled communication
• The lesson should integrate multiple curricular subjects.
• The lesson should have a ‘low threshold’ and ‘high ceiling’ meaning students with a low ability can achieve some learning, and students with a high ability can also be challenged.
Part 2: Discuss your school’s current level of ICT. Make reference to teacher use, student use, hardware, digital content, and school emphasis on integrating ICTs into teaching and learning. Is your school equipped for Minecraft education and how might you introduce it?
My school is quite a new, modern building, completed 4 years ago.
There is an LCD IWB in every classroom running the Promethean ActivInspire software. Teachers have received some CPD in using IWBs interactively, source ready-made flipcharts and resources on sites such as Promethean Planet, SMART Exchange and Twinkl, create their own interactive resources, source interactive games and activities online, and use the IWBs to share videos, PowerPoint files etc. I like to ensure wide use of the IWB in my class for example, by making it one of the stations during station teaching. This ensures every single child in the class gets a chance to try the chosen interactive activity.
We have a class set of laptops, which are shared according to a timetable. Particularly in the upper classes, these are used quite effectively for project work, with the children typing their Write-A-Book projects in Microsoft Word for example, and researching online and creating PowerPoint presentations on various SESE topics.
When the school was divided into the old girls and boys schools, we in the girl’s school had a website where we used to post photographs of the children’s learning, and enable them to keep their class blog updated themselves fairly regularly. However we have not developed a website for the new amalgamated school yet.
I think we would be quite well equipped for Minecraft education. One problem I would envisage is that we use an external IT support company and YouTube is blocked in our school. This would make visiting the videos NPCs direct you to in various Minecraft worlds impossible for the children. I would like to get. YouTube unblocked in our school. Then I would go about introducing Minecraft using roughly the following steps:
• Discuss privately with the principal of the school.
• If the principal liked the idea, prepare an introduction/overview to share with all staff during Croke Park hour.
• Research and contact someone who could come to our school and assess if we are equipped for Minecraft Education, and to arrange the licensing for us.
• Show staff how to join the Minecraft Education community and access some basic training – perhaps this training could make up some CPD during Croke Park hours.
• Arrange for a representative from Minecraft to visit our school and provide further information and training.
• Teachers try it out in their classes.