My first foray into the world of blogging was a result of joining a MOOC. Agreed, the blog truly is a way of purging your “brilliant” thoughts and rantings. I spent two hours watching the two Blog Talk videos, and agree they are good, but, because it was my second open class, there was really no new material for me.
I am definitely challenged, not by the MOOC, but by Minecraftedu, an activity that “involves uncertain outcomes due to variable levels, hidden information or randomness.” Challenged to the point of incapacitation, am I! I still have no clue what to do, how to do it, and especially have no clue about strategies to use in Minecraftedu. If there was a vocab test right now over Minecraft terms, I most certainly would fail it! Not sure the four principles of intrinsic motivation – control, challenge, curiosity and contextualization – are enough to get me out of the Minecraftedu rut in which I find myself! I am sold on open connected courses, but no verdict yet on Minecraftedu. Maybe I have to know darkness before I can understand light!
From the reading the GiverCraft blogs, I also sensed we are not all at the same level of acceptance of the concept, some of us are overwhelmed and a bit frustrated, and others are smooth sailing. One colleague made the analogy to the social learning aspect and collaborative use of technology as being similar to the need for a variety of ingredients tossed into a mixing bowl, working together, to create something good. As a baby boomer, I have a lot to learn from the experienced gamers in our group and am grateful for the knowledge they are sharing.
Now for a few good words about the game. Following are some factors of the effectiveness of Minecraftedu (MCedu) for learning. A member of our team emphasized an attribute of Minecraftedu which I have been mulling over: the great potential it has for cultural responsiveness. Can’t you just see a Whaling Activity in Minecraftedu? Gotta love it!
One factor is that it allows both students and teachers to be creative. Activating higher order thinking skills with hands on collaborative challenges is certain to be engaging. Other merits of MCedu are that it facilitates the differentiation of instruction and reduces the need to ask the question “Why do I need to know this?” or “When am I ever gonna use this?” Students these days all know how playing video games are going to help them! Another bonus of MCedu is it enables students to be both challenged and successful. Additionally, several of the blogs mentioned the importance of feedback and fun for learning to occur. The game also has the ability for globalizing learning through teamwork, or to borrow a phrase, enables global collaborative tinkering.