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Griefers and trolls, idiots all October 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — grannynannycook @ 9:17 am
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Growing up, I learned about trolls from the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Oh, and those little weird rubbery dolls with the bizarre hair in the 60’s.

Oh, and fishing with my gramps from a boat.

In the first MOOC, I learned what troll means in the the new millennium.

Netlingo explains:

It “originally meant the act of posting a message in a newsgroup (and later on a blog) that is obviously exaggerating something on a particular topic, hoping to trick a newbie into posting a follow-up article that points out the mistake.

Traditionally “to troll” means to allure, to fish, to entice, or to bait. Internet trolls are people who fish for other people’s confidence and, once found, exploit it.

Trolls vary in nature; here are a few types of online trolls:

Playtime Trolls

Tactical Trolls

Strategic Trolls

Domination Trolls

Concern Trolls

You have probably heard various opinions about how to deal with people who write insulting or provocative remarks on various Internet forums. The most common is “Don’t Feed the Trolls”, which says that all the people in the forum should avoid responding to the troll.  From Wikipedia “Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment” or cyberbullying.

The people who post nasty comments online are likely to have pathological personalities, said a 2014 study from the University of Manitoba. Known as “Internet trolls,” Web users who like to post inflammatory comments, incite arguments, and send insulting tweets are more likely to exhibit Machiavellianism, narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism. Collectively known as the “Dark Tetrad,” these personality traits were shown to be prevalent through surveys designed to understand what makes trolls tick.”

See more details at:

Griefing is another term new to me.  There is a whole page explaining it on the Minecraft Wiki.  On that site, griefing is “the act of irritating and angering people in video games through the use of destruction, construction, or social engineering.” Or, deliberately disturbing or destroying other players’ work without their permission.

A griefer is a player in a multiplayer video game who deliberately irritates and harasses other players within the game, using aspects of the game in unintended ways. A griefer derives pleasure primarily or exclusively from the act of annoying other users, and as such is a particular nuisance in online gaming communities, since griefers often cannot be deterred by penalties related to in-game goals.  From Wikipedia: In Taiwan, griefers are known as “white-eyed”—a metaphor meaning that their eyes have no pupils and so they look without seeing. Behaviors other than griefing which can cause players to be stigmatized as “white-eyed” include cursing, cheating, stealing, and unreasonable killing.

Probably the kindest word in my vernacular to sum up a griefer would be idiot.  Of which I am one, as a newbie to Minecraft.  I have destroyed much, completely unintentionally.  So, I apologize in advance for not having the necessary hand-eye coordination necessary to not be a griefer!  In my case, the destruction is purely accidental.


Luddite October 6, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — grannynannycook @ 10:36 pm
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What tools can we use both in and out of Minecraft, to create a convincing case that learning occurred? 

Somehow in my research roamings through assessment of learning with Minecraftedu, I encountered the unfamiliar terms narratology  and  ludology.  Not that it pertains to the assignment per say, but it was very interesting learning from a neutral presentation about the big debate between the two.  Whether or not the information source is accurate, I do not know, but the video seems to be an explanation even I can understand (caution, the F word can be heard in this clip).  Although I understand how both concepts can apply to education, I’m not sure I understand the debate as a whole.  Here are the definitions.

Narratology – noun
the branch of knowledge or literary criticism that deals with the structure and function of narrative and its themes, conventions, and symbols
Ludology – noun
the study of games and gaming, especially video games
“ludology, like the games it studies, is not about story and discourse at all but about actions and events”
a member of any of the bands of English workers who destroyed machinery, especially in cotton and woolen mills, that they believed was threatening their jobs (1811–16).
a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology

Now, back to the assigned topic.  Of course, assessment is the method teachers use to determine if learning has occurred, if learning goals have been met.  From what I have read, it seems that the most important way to determine what progress students make is to use authentic formative assessment, i.e., check up on the students while they are completing the tasks.  For example, in Minecraftedu, listening and watching game participants and noting observations are informal formative assessment.

There are lots of ways to perform formative assessment, here are a few reliable ideas:

53 Ways to Check for Understanding

 Tools for Formative Assessment –

56 Different Examples of Formative Assessment

Formative (Informal) Assessment Strategies


Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything. (simply because I have been following her forever)


The MOOCs in which I have participated have used “frictionless” formative assessment.  Features of Social Media that enable formative assessment might work for a definition for now, as no official definition of the concept was found.  As a MOOC student, I have experienced assessment via: Livetext, video, screen cast-o-matic, screen shots, blogs, twitter, google plus (hangouts), Edmodo, and polls.  “To assess basic comprehension, attitudes, difficulties, and higher-order thinking, social media and formative assessment naturally complement each other,” concludes Paige Alfonzo Edutopia contributor.

Speaking of Edutopia, it has a lot of pages on assessment.  In Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding, the author states a simple way to gain information from your students is to simply ask them.  Ask them why, to explain their thinking, and ask them evaluative questions such as:

  • How much time and effort did you put into this?
  • What do you think your strengths and weaknesses were in this assignment?
  • How could you improve your assignment?
  • What are the most valuable things you learned from this assignment?

Additionally, as a teacher, I have used CRISS strategies for assessment (free recall for example), rubrics, journals, anecdotal notes.  I often use rubrics which allow students to self-assess.  In the game of Minecraftedu, books, information blocks, and signs are ways students can use text to communicate understanding.  In addition, communities created will communicate understanding to the teacher.  Listening to language use while students are crafting is another way of observing learning.

All of the authentic informal formative assessments for Minecraftedu discussed in this blog have one thing in common, and that is feedback.  Quality of learning can be observed through what students say, write, make, or do (Griffin, 2007).  Class discussions, differentiated instruction, response to intervention, data-driven instruction, self-assessment, and peer assessment are all forms of either delayed or immediate feedback.  Feedback is more effective when it focuses on the task details, methods to improve answers, and ways to set appropriate goals (Shute, 2008)The series on Comprehensive Assessment, covers a variety of topics including a variety of ways to measure a student’s learning.  The Research Review section states that feedback must (a) be based on evidence of student understanding and integrated into regular classroom practice, (b) yield actionable insights that learners can and will use, and (c) provide learners with opportunities to improve their performance (Shute, 2008).  The marriage of formative assessment and feedback promotes learning, and that’s what we are all about.

Assessment to promote learning: Set challenging, meaningful goals for student understanding; collect evidence about current position relative to goals; and then identify ways to close the gap between the two (adapted from Black & William, 2009).
Where the learner is going/the goal Where the learner is How to get there
Instructor Set challenging, multifaceted goals, and clarify learning intentions and criteria for success. Elicit evidence ofstudent understandingthrough discussion and activities. Focus on the what, how, and why of the task or problem. Provide feedback that moves learning forward andactionable steps to address misconceptions and advance learning.
Peer Share and understand learning goals and criteria for success. Peer assessment: Students act as instructional resources for one another.
Learner Self-assessment: Students act as owners of their own learning.


Filed under: Uncategorized — grannynannycook @ 2:26 pm
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Week 3 Essential Question:

How can we use Minecraft to create a sound and robust learning experience for students?

Recapping the information from the text to answer the question of the week is not my goal.  Instead, my aim is to elaborate on what the reliable media says about Minecraftedu to unpack  the question posed by examining these components: robust, minecraft, how.

  1. strong and healthy; vigorous.
    “the Caplans are a robust, healthy lot”

minecraft is a sandbox construction game. Gameplay involves players interacting with the game world by placing and breaking various types of blocks in a three-dimensional environment.  The differences between Minecraftedu and Minecraft are explained fairly well here.  Plenty of sites which will elaborate on Minecraft  exist and blogs abound, and several are referenced in this writing assignment.


Most Minecraftedu for beginner videos, are helpful, but way too long to recommend.  However, I strongly suggest visiting this great introduction to the game, Getting Started with Minecraftedu, and viewing the video.

Posing the question “What will I need to do to enable my students to create and draw upon powerful digital learning networks?”, one teacher summarizes this way:

  • Provide opportunities to make learning explicit
  • Allow students to form questions to guide their learning
  • Encourage learning from experts in the field
  • Enable connection making
  • Allow students to develop a common language
  • Provide time

The author expands on each point in the article which is worth reading and is linked above.  A wonderful thirteen part guide to games and learning from Mindshift is also a good read for further exploration.

Is it fun?  Is that the ultimate question we should ask about creating learning experiences? It is said that the question, “Why do I need to know this?” disappears when effectively using Minecraftedu. Utilizing this game to help students observe, pose questions, engage in experimentation and error, and learn to analyze and reason, requires the usual skillful research based lesson design process to frame content. With planning, “games provide sequenced instruction blended with practice, feedback, and assessment”.  Before the game is implemented, “start with your traditional lesson objectives and build off those, give them an objective, not a recipe, let them figure it out”, which necessitates collaboration. The Institute of Play professes through games students build skills, learn content, and socialize with others.  Minecraftedu is a great tool for making more meaningful project based learning, open ended projects, and enabling students to showcase creativity through sharing.  It is about the learning process, not the product, i.e., not about what you build, but building it.  How we use it to improve student mastery of content mandated by state or national standards will primarily be in the instructional design and use of formative assessments.  Games and Learning website has some interesting data charts on assessments and should have newer information soon.

Differentiating instruction is made easy with Minecraftedu’s flexibility because the teacher can select how much freedom the students are allowed to have within the game and the level at which the game reacts with them. “As a player’s skill develops, the game’s complexity increases ad infinitum. In multi-player levels, players collaborate on building complex structures, use programming features to build contraptions, games, or compose music. Meanwhile, beginning players use their problem solving skills to scavenge for materials. They learn to mine stone for building, and coal for making fire.”  In addition, the diversity of students such as English Language Learners should benefit from the inclusivity of Minecraftedu, a safe space to engage in constructive learning (an idea spawned by reading Adam Heidebrink-Bruno).

Here are some thoughts from others on the learning experience from using games such as Minecraftedu:

  • “What video games do — better than any other medium,” writes games researcher and author James Paul Gee, “is let people understand a world from the inside.”
  • Game-based learning has emerged as a promising area of innovation in addressing a vital weakness in American educational performance: the need to make academic content more engaging, adaptive, relevant and rigorous for America’s youth.  Growing evidence demonstrates that digital games can be used to advance standards-based content mastery in literacy and math, develop a deep understanding of STEM concepts and build critical 21st century skills that are essential for preparing youth for success in a global and digital marketplace.”
  • Game-based learning is a great classroom tool because it allows for interdisciplinary learning through contextualized critical thinking and problem solving.

Games in the classroom can encourage students to understand subject matter in context — as part of a system. In contrast to memorization, drilling, and quizzing, which is often criticized because it focuses on facts in isolation, games force players to interact with problems in ways that take relationships into account. The content becomes useful insofar as it plays a part in a larger multi-modal system.

One promise of game-based learning is that it has the potential of building comprehension and literacy rather than retention. It does this by combining instruction, practice, and assessment. Teachers become the facilitators of a process where instruction is experiential. Practice is project based, requiring students to solve new problems and address new challenges using the new ideas to which they’ve been introduced. And assessment no longer measures a student’s ability to regurgitate information, or to choose among multiple answers, but rather, to use the content, or subject matter, in context. Even more impressive is that in order to successfully manipulate one piece within a comprehensive and complex system, the students must understand every piece of

The author, Karl Kapp, states: “Game designers do not have a magic elixir for creating engagement, instead, they rely on certain formulas for engagement. These include challenges, stories, effective user interfaces and providing incentives for correct activities. It even includes the counterintuitive aspect of chance or uncertainty. Few of these elements exist in many elearning modules and to engage learners, we must borrow these five elements from game designers to create an engaging and exciting learning environment.”  Which hopefully will result in a robust learning experience for all using Minecraftedu.  I can’t wait for the movie!



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