Reply To: Online Module 2: Minecraft and the Curriculum

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Sharon Jenkins

Part one: (100 words) Discuss what the criteria are for an effective lesson in Minecraft education.
To begin an effective lesson using Mindcraft Education I believe the children would need prior instruction and guidance relating to how to work effectively as a team. Clear rules would need to be established and discussed, such as how to listen to others and their ideas, respect for other children’s work and assigning roles in the group. This could be worked through in SPHE and Drama class.
I believe the content of the lesson should be engaging for the children. If they don’t show an interest in the subject, they might not use their imagination effectively when working in Mindcraft Education.
The teacher should set an acceptable timeframe at the beginning of the topic. Children will need to work to this timeframe but they should not be rushed.
The teacher will need to decide how to organise the class groups. Ideally this should be done before the task begins. Are the groups mixed ability? Have the children assigned the individual roles in the group? Is the group small enough (3 max) to work effectively together? The teacher will need to give guidance on these parameters for the groups to work effectively.
The children will need clear outcomes so the teacher would need to present a rubric for each group, detailing what needs to be constructed/built and other additional parameters the teacher is looking for.

Part two (100- 150 words): Discuss your schools 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.
The school I teach in has a very good level of ICT. First off, our ICT coordinator is also a teacher in the school and effectively onsite at all times. This means that any ICT issues are dealt with effectively and efficiently.
With regard to hardware, the children have access to a laptop cart with 20 laptops, which is timetabled to teachers during the week. Each teacher would have access to these laptops for one morning, in between breaks or an afternoon session. We also have two computer rooms, both of which are timetabled to the classes. In addition, we have access to a ~12 ipads and ~12 surfaces. These are also timetabled to the classes.
The children are very proficient in using all the devices. As teachers, we are encouraged to use all devices to engage the children in the learning. The children have access to ‘Mathletics’ and ‘Reading Eggs’ accounts. They complete tasks in school and I would assign homework on these platforms once a week. In class, I generally use the devices for their online maths and reading accounts, in class research for SESE, recording learning/project work, maths and English games, art and drawing and recording information for classdojo portfolios.
Some of the teachers in my school have previously used Minecraft Education in their classrooms, with excellent results. It is this which spurred me on to complete this course. I believe our school is equipped and already using Minecraft Education effectively. My only concern is the number of pupils in a class is greater than the number of laptops. Perhaps a couple of the children (or a group) could go to one of the computer rooms to compete their Minecraft Education project. However, supervision of these children would need to be considered as they couldn’t go on their own.