Friday, 18 October 2013

Karyn Gray: Update On Our Minecraft Journey

October 2013

So in the last post I had these questions:

Can letting these kids loose on minecraft a couple of times a week do something dramatic for their learning or not? 
What about the fact we are meant to be spending all our time on literacy and numeracy because our kids are mostly all “well below” national standards?
How do we facilitate it so they can acknowledge and articulate their learning in order to accelerate their learning across the curriculum? 
How do we harness this engagement into literacy and numeracy? 
How do we give them sustained times on something like minecraft to really get into it and balance this with all those other demands? 
How do we ensure we are not being completely dictated in the learning we support our students with by an arbitrary timetable? 

We spent most of the term using Minecraft two periods a week as part of our inquiry into innovation for the term. (Our periods last for 100 minutes.) This was in a shared classroom with Year 5 through to Year 10 students- about 60 students in total, supported by three teachers and a teacher aide.
A few students chose to inquire into other thing to develop their understanding of innovation, about 2/3 of the students stayed with Minecraft.

I think some amazing learning happened. I saw Year 10 students asking Year 5 students for help and vice versa.

I saw students develop a real life understanding of the term innovation and be able to pally this understanding to something real in their lives.

Students used literacy and numeracy skills to navigate their way through mine craft as well as to present their learning.

And I think, most importantly, I saw a lot fo students move to a new depth in understanding themselves as learners.

I have seen over three years, many of our students move from being non compliant with learning and seeing school as somewhere to try and get away with things, to being compliant with teacher instructions and completing learning as requested. Over the last 12 months I have seen students begin to take a lot more ownership and responsibility for their learning. They are becoming interested in their achievement and assessment levels and becoming more accomplished at using this information to take a fuller role in working alongside teachers to plan their individual learning programmes.

But through minecraft they started to develop a new awareness of themselves s a learner- outside of the 'tighter confines" of "usual classroom" learning. They started to understand the true value of collaboration in learning, of accessing online tutorials and tools to help them with a specific purpose, of using twitter to request help, of when it was useful for someone to show them things and when they learnt better by practicing themselves.

I think two periods a week was time well spent in the learning lives of these 9-15 year olds.

This learning has led really well into our focus literacy inquiry learning for Term 4- Te Awa o Te Akoranga- The River of Learning. We will keep you updated.

Have a look at a few examples of the learning students completed outside of mine craft about innovation. Some of the students created keynote presentations about some of their learning. It's not perfect by any means. But its a start and they would love some feedback.

Innovations Summary

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