The project was simple enough. Design a house using energy renewable principles using Google sketch up.Then a student approached me and asked ‘Can I use Minecraft instead?’ This is where the teacher dread runs through your veins. Really? What happens when another looks into my classroom and can see Minecraft on the Projector.
As eLearning coordinator I am constantly listening to teachers say ‘they are just using the computers to play Minecraft’ or ‘Minecraft is destroying my classroom’ (secretly I want to say well it could if you let them design a classroom using the program.
So I went with my gut feeling and said ‘Oh, why not. And while you are using it can you please create a demo to share with the rest of the class’.
So he did and it was pretty amazing we all managed to learn something about Minecraft.The engagement and level of achievement was encouraging enough for me to share it at a staff meeting.
The student explained how his design was energy efficient with the use of specific examples such as grey water systems for his vegetable patch, solar panels and the use of curtains to all save energy. Staff were very impressed with how he could explain how these worked using his design.
Sharing Success with Colleagues:
I wanted to share the success I had in my classroom in order to bring others to the same mindset about using Minecraft in their classroom. My intention for the staff meeting was:
- For this particular student to show what he learnt and explain his design of a house.
- Demonstrating that it is ok to let go of the control and that you do not need to know all of the technology.
- Try and highlight using student interest.
The Success Criteria:
- One teacher asks me to show them the assessment and a copy of student work.
- That one teacher shares that information with another teacher.
- A light bulb moment happens to a staff member and they can see how they could use it.
Examples of student work:
The top one is a high level student and the below is an entry level student who was learning how to use the program.
The success criteria was met, there was one student teacher sitting in that presentation. They were motivated to use it in their classroom with the supervising teacher watch a graduate demonstrate that it is fine to not know all of the technology and let the students teach you. That student teacher then shared this with another student teacher and it happened in another Science class. So the lightbulbs started to shine at school.
Guest Post by:
Jessica Satori – Brunswick Senior College, Victoria
Jess is a passionate educator who teaches Maths and Science to middle years students. She is Head of Science and eLearning Coach at her school. She believes strongly in the use of data to inform teaching, and collaborating with colleagues to benefits the students. Good collaboration takes away bad variation.
She is an enthusiastic and empathetic leader who has had significant experience in providing training and conducting professional development to different audiences. She creates supportive and structured environments that support teachers through a process of change.