Friday, January 17, 2014

Minecraft Cluster: Day 2

Today was the second meeting of our Minecraft cluster, bright and early on a Friday morning. Mrs. Shrull and I were armed with our morning-drinks-of-choice (tea for her, coffee for me) and the kids came hurtling into the room at precisely 8:01, out of breath with excitement.

First thing, we reviewed the rules we had created last time and discussed whether revision was necessary. One student suggested we add "no pushing into lava or off cliffs", but after further discussion we decided to integrate that into the "Don't kill each other" rule. Now it reads "Don't hurt or kill each other".

We also asked the students what they learned about playing Minecraft on the PC from the previous meeting. Many kids were surprised at how much more difficult the controls were. Apparently playing on a tablet is MUCH easier!

Next we discussed the first of the Essential Questions for clusters, which is "What do people with an interest in this topic or area of study do?" The students all agreed that the main thing people who love Minecraft do is to build amazing things. Another thing we talked about was that some people who enjoy Minecraft also do some programming to change the game to their liking (and here we introduced the term "modding").

We dismissed the students to their computers, had them log in and join the tutorial world. I used my teacher tools to teleport them all to a point further into the game so they wouldn't have to replay the beginning part of that mission.

Working through a maze on the way to the group room

Today's goal was to learn how to mine and build, so we spent most of our time in the team building room. I introduced the room and explained the expectations and purpose for playing in it, but it was up to them to figure out how to do the work. Some students read the signs that gave directions, a few just figured it out by exploration, and many asked their peers for help.

Working in the team room

The students worked with partners to dig up materials and recreate structures found in the room. Some students caught on right away. Others needed to be redirected and reminded of the goal, but by the end of our time everyone had successfully learned to mine and build - even if not everyone completed the task.

Technical issues from today:

  • The server was acting a bit strangely. There was much more lag this time. 
  • While everyone was building together in the team room, many of the players were invisible, although you could see the blocks disappearing and reappearing as they worked. 
  • I restarted the server after the cluster was finished to see if that would help. 
  • I learned how to take screenshots today! (Just push F2)

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