Minecraft in the Classroom

Today, Colquitz Middle School teacher Heidi James and her students met us in the computer lab to help us discover why Minecraft is such an awesome learning tool! It was a truly wonderful experience to learn from such enthusiastic and passionate students. My ten-year-old sister plays Minecraft at home and I’ve never put a whole lot of thought into what kind of skills the game actually entails. Let me tell you, it’s a lot more difficult than I expected. Even basic movements like walking and jumping were challenging at first. The idea of building houses and worlds seemed impossible. However, with the help of Heidi and her students I finished our time together with a solid understanding of the controls. More importantly, I learned how Minecraft can fulfill and exceed curricular competencies in Math, Science and Social Studies. Not to mention develop social skills since the game is highly collaborative. Learning and playing in class today made me realize why I need to bring Minecraft into my future classrooms. I can’t wait to go home and play with my sister! Thanks Heidi and students, you rock!

Some handy resources from today include:
https://worlds.education.minecraft.net/
https://education.minecraft.net/class-resources/science-subject-kit/

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Reflective Blog Post: Ian Landy

Today we had an informative video conference on formative assessment with Ian Landy, principal of Edgehill Elementary in Powell River. I really appreciated Ian’s detailed explanation as to why ePortfolios provide a deeper understanding than report cards on student learning. Report cards oversimplify student learning by emphasizing letter grades and percentages. Whereas ePorfolios document the learning process in way that allows students to reflect on what they’ve accomplished. As a learner, I would much prefer a collection of evidence to look back on than a list of inaccurate grades. I mean seriously, how do you definitively measure Core Competencies such as Communication or Creative Thinking!? Furthermore, Ian clarified that teachers shouldn’t burn themselves out by assessing every little thing. In fact, students should have a say in what is and what is not documented in their ePortfolios. After this video conference, I feel relieved to know that principals such as Ian Landy are more interested in the quality of learning taking place in classrooms as opposed to the quantity of learning. Thanks for your insight and time, Ian!

Reflective Blog Post: Edcamp

I just experienced my first ever Edcamp in EDCI 336. As a class, we had the opportunity to throw potential discussion topics on the board at the front of the room. Next, we were all given three stickers to up-vote topics. The top four discussion topics were then assigned rooms, and we could choose where to go. I chose the topic, “Special ED” because I wanted to learn more. Six of my peers and I were off to brainstorm and dig deeper into special education in the classroom. I really enjoyed the small group discussion because everybody got a chance to share their thoughts without pressure or interruptions. I think Edcamps are a fantastic way for lifelong learners to approach a wide-range of topics in a relatively short amount of time. Before taking part in Edcamp, I was under the impression that each group discussion would be lead by a single individual. However, I was surprised to find out that it’s a way more collaborative and interactive meeting. It was really fun to pose questions and explore potential answers together as a group. I think that in a larger Edcamp, more specialised individuals (ie. Education Assistants) would have taken part in our conversation. Having those more knowledgeable persons to answer our unanswered questions would have been nice. Nonetheless, our Edcamp happened on the fly and it went really well. I’m looking forward to attending more Edcamps in the near future!

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