This week’s readings had me thinking about my affinity space and my where my learning through games really began. I participated in another #MinecraftEDU chat, this past Wednesday. This weeks theme was Learning Center Communities or LCC’s. I had no idea what these were so I educated myself on this before the chat. Libraries (according to my #MinecraftEdu chat and research) are being overhauled. There is no longer the thousands of dusty books and silence that was associated with thought of libraries years ago. While the article I read was quite ominous, libraries aren’t all going away. They have evolved to include more computers, and places to plug in electronics. Perhaps most importantly, they are becoming places to collaborate. Welcome Learning Center Communities! As technology slowly takes over people’s lives, it should have been obvious to me, the world (or school in this case) is changing as well.
Someone in the chat I attended mentioned that a librarian was one of the most influential people for them growing up. I began to wonder where my experience with learning really all began. At the start of this class, I blogged about playing video games with my family at an early age. In fact, my experiences with gaming, at least the learning portion of it, started even earlier than I had previously realized. I was playing the Oregon Trail and Number Stumper in elementary school. Until reading the assigned articles this week, I mostly forgot about the actual “learning” type games that influenced me as a student.
In addition to participating in a #MinecraftEdu chat, I watched a webcast on teacherchat.net, about how to create Minecraft lessons. I was surprised to see four different people talking about the ways they use Minecraft in the classroom and/or its impact in learning. They mentioned Minecraft educators and how they band together online. This was exactly what I was hoping for. Steven Isaacs an experienced Minecraft educator, who I happen to follow on Twitter, discussed the educator side of using Minecraft in a real world setting. I enjoying learning various perspectives on how the game can be used to teach virtually anything. I had never thought about a single open world as being so malleable in school lesson planning. Not only was it capable of being used to teach various subjects, it also allows for children to play with each other at the same time.
I FINALLY figured out how to play Minecraft this weekend. BIGGEST accomplishment all semester! I did not know you are supposed to start on “creative mode.” Upon first playing this game (for the first few weeks), I had been struggling to stay alive in survival mode by googling how to do everything, each step of the way. In creative mode, you are free to safely explore spaces and build your world until your heart is content. While it is not all intuitive, I was finally able to really enjoy the game and build my dream waterfall house. It’s funny learning with/from (mostly from) a nine year old on how to play Minecraft. I still feel like an idiot for not figuring this all out sooner.
I think I am finally beginning to grasp the versatility of this powerful game. I can reflect on what Steven Isaacs said about Minecraft. Instead of teachers assigning roles in the game, they organically become assigned to students through game play. Students are going home and continuing their school work not because it was assigned but because they actually like what they are learning. How powerful is that?