Marvelous Minecraft

Posted in Minecraft

Fairly recently I did the unthinkable, I invited Minecraft into my lessons- and I haven’t looked back. Like many teachers I had often overheard the incessant whispering or ‘Steve’, ‘Creepers’, ‘Villagers’ and ‘Pigs’ and I had decided it was enough! I was going to sort out this Minecraft thing once and for all!

It was at this point that I looked into Minecraft on the Raspberry Pi, this comes with the ‘Noobs’ software (available at: https://www.raspberrypi.org/). After a few hours of getting used to the controls I could see the potential. So I thought I would test the waters a bit by exploiting the children’s love of this ‘sandbox game’ in explanation texts. They would explain to this novice (aka me) the different features of the game, controls, how to play, getting started and even what it is. Heck they might even make some progress! Win win!

Within a week, I had some excellent writing from the children in my Year 5 (age 9-10) class, which they were incredibly engaged with, as they were ‘the experts’. Also, I then decided to continue with this thread of enthusiasm by using Minecraft in Topic as we needed to design an Anglo-Saxon village; I must say I was impressed. Within twenty minutes, every child in my class had created a house, with rooms inside and fashioned their own windows (no glass allowed). I can’t wait to continue to use more Minecraft and technology in my lessons and I am sure the children agree with this.

To sum up, this digital building block game has been a gift to my lessons. I have enjoyed even more engagement from my class and this has led to a deeper understanding, which they can take home and practise whilst playing on their games. More importantly, the children really enjoyed this! Granted I may not do this for every lesson and yes Minecraft does have some pitfalls such as growing crops in saltwater? However, hopefully the children will go home and switch on the goggle box and make the connection that they explained to the ‘philistine’ of a teacher what Minecraft is and how it is played.

Perhaps they will create a pyramid when we cover Ancient Egypt, or a rainforest when we learn about the amazon, or even a replica of the Indus Valley! Who knows! What I do know for certain is without creating an opportunity for these connections it definitely won’t happen.

Here is a video by @thecommonpeople , from time-to-time I look here for great ideas this one I found is a parody of the tiger who came to tea. Adam Clarke has lots of great ideas on his Youtube channel, from getting started and controls to lesson ideas.

 

So what? What are the next steps? Well knowing how gifted my children at designing and building these digital models I could write a description of an area and see if the children could recreate it using inference and deductive skills. I could use Minecraft to inspire some writing. My pupils could create a scene from their favourite book, favourite monument around the world, or even build a perimeter and area problem for their friends to solve. I must be honest, and I know it sounds somewhat cheesy-pie but the possibilities are endless for the curriculum. The more I type the more I can think of ways this game of digital building blocks could be utilised in the classroom. Also, with the recent developments of Microsoft buying Minecraft and the educational version MincraftEdu I’m sure there will be developments over the next few months.

Our week of Minecraft:

For more ideas of how Minecraft has been used in the classroom you can view:

Mr Parkinson’s Blog: http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Minecraft

@MattPEducation ‘s Blog which shows English and Maths strands and how they can be achieved. http://5tanfieldlea.weebly.com/blog/minecraft-literacy-and-numeracy

Lego WeDo Course

Posted in Lego, Physical Computing, Programming

In the course we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of Lego® WeDo in the classroom. We cover the hardware of Lego® WeDo and how teachers can use it- I’ll be honest I lose a lot of the teachers and children during this part. Then, we look at the software and an introduction to what you can do with it. Quite handily the software guides you through the building of a project you choose from twelve different options.

Following that, the software then holds your hand on programming using the purpose-built Lego® programming software. Both children and staff from schools came on this course and they all enjoyed it! For me it demonstrates a different way to programme which is good for students to experience. Also, it gives the idea of programming and robotics a creative twist!

For more details see:

https://education.lego.com/en-gb/lesi/elementary/lego-education-wedo

Or you can follow me on: Mr_The_Chase

More about courses:

http://tcsc.primaryblogger.co.uk/ 

Learning with Lego from Adam Chase on Vimeo.

The Password is: Lego

My First Post.

Posted in Blogging, Education

I was on a course earlier in the year and was lucky enough to hear both @redgierob and @ICT_MrP, who both led a brilliant course about learning with Technology and how it can benefit Literacy/English. Lee Parkinson, also suggested that having your own personal blog is a brilliant way to develop yourself, so here goes nothing!

This year I have been lucky enough to join Bury LA Leading Teachers, who are a group of teachers chosen to run courses at the Development and Training Centre as well as in schools. As the Computing co-ordinator for coming up to two years, the Head encouraged me to take up this opportunity, which is great for me to share my interests and also for me to benefit from the interests of others. I am a big believer that the quality of learning will always be better when you have a teacher who is passionate about the subject.

My role this year was to encourage the passion I have for creative programming onto others. This year I have taught programming to mixed courses of teachers and children, these include:

  • Raspberry Pi- these are a credit card sized computer. On the Raspberry Pi website you can get ideas, inspiration and even the software for the Raspberry Pi.
  • Lego ® WeDo – which uses a Lego® bricks as hardware and then you can program with either Scratch or Lego’s own software that they have created.

The journey has been a really enjoyable one so far. I am halfway through my second half term and loving my role. The enthusiasm and engagement from the children and staff carries on to be overwhelming.
My main goals for the year are as follows:

  • Continue set up of class blog’s (Yr-Y6) and try to use this blog to showcase children’s work. and hopefully by providing an audience see an impact on the children’s learning.
  • Branch my interests and experience further into iPads so that I can develop this interest with others.
  • Deliver courses in other areas.

If interested in anything I’ve said please visit:

https://www.raspberrypi.org

https://education.lego.com/en-gb/lesi/elementary/lego-education-wedo

http://mrparkinsonict.blogspot.co.uk/

http://www.literacyshed.com/