Readjusting Goals

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Posted by Mrs Gielen | Posted in MinecraftEdu/Minecraft | Posted on October 1, 2012

I think my enthusiam for my new Minecraft elective class got the better of me! I had to reevaluate the goals I set for my students after I realized they were having a difficult time meeting my expectations. Our elective only meets twice a week for approximately 45 minutes at a time, so many of the assignments I gave them had to be completed outside of class. Our 8th grade students have a very rigorous curriculum and so they have limited free time to devote to “extracurricular” activities. Our elective classes do not figure in the student’s grade point average, and therefore, their academic classes always have to come first. I certainly do not want to stress my students, so I decided to step back and reflect on which goals I think are worth pursuing that are challenging, but not overwhelming.

The ultimate goal I had for students was to create custom survival/puzzle/adventure maps, but I believe that goal might have been a bit lofty. For a custom map to be considered great or even good, it should have an engaging story, a realistic setting, and/or challenging puzzle or traps, and should give the player a good 45 minutes to an hour of play time. Yet to accomplish this, you definitely need to invest a good bit of time and you possibly need to have skills with redstone or Worldedit. Some of my students have some redstone skills, but not to the level they would need to build the type of contraptions we see in good custom maps. The other factor is how can I make their time worthwhile in terms of school credit.

In rethinking the goals, I decided to reduce the number of blogs post from two posts a week to one. Next, I decided to approach a few of their teachers to see if someone would be willing to let the students develop Minecraft projects for projects required by their curriculum. Both the Social Studies and the Science teachers were both willing to collaborate with me on projects that would work for their class. The English teacher was willing to include their blog writing as part of their grade for writing across the curriculum. All in all, it was a good day for collaboration!

So it’s a beginning. As I move through the course, I just need to remember that this is the first year and there will be lots of adjustments!

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