Thursday, 30 May 2013

Minecraft Day 1, Thursday 30 May - We're under way!

Today the 12 successful applicants for being part of the Kiwiana Theme Park project met and we organised our Charter, our groups, group names, and player names. Players organised their own groups of up to 3 players. We abandoned the idea of mixed groups across classes and year levels as students weren't keen on the idea. 

Students felt they didn't need to sketch out a plan with their group, and wanted to get straight to work in the game........ Hmmm, not a good idea, and some will be going back to the drawing board before they play again because chaos reigned once the game was under way.

Next we had a look into the map that one of our amazing students (DOXINWHAT) had created for us. Areas were marked out for each group. He'd spent about 4 hours on the work at home and had done an impressive job.

We had about 45 minutes to see if the client version of MinecraftEDU worked on the laptops with our iMac server. One computer didn't seem to work, but we had enough to use. Some students had remembered to bring a computer mouse - well done!

In spite of everyone designing, agreeing to, and signing the Charter, some players started to create havoc straight away, and one has already received a 'warning'. As agreed by the players, a second warning would result in a ban from play of one week (actually a session of 1 and a half hours, because we can only meet once per week). A third warning would result in a complete ban. Some students were disappointed that we were playing in Creative mode for our first experience at school, and that we had no creepers or Nether etc. They obviously weren't listening before they signed up. This is the way it's going to be though, as we get to grips with how this might be used in our school.

Carol didn't manage to get the Teacher account running, but worked it out later with DOXINWHAT. So any problems next time will result in all players being frozen on the spot and then we'll see who is doing what! It's a pity to have to be thinking that way right from the start though, but it's all about working as a community and behaving appropriately, whether online or not.

The senior group of 3 students (L & Pixels) managed to get quite a bit of construction done (an L & P bottle), but are going to rebuild it as they're not happy with it. DOXINWHAT did a quick flyover before shutting down the server for the day. You can see some of the havoc created, and that not much was achieved in the 30 minutes or so that we had to get started. Next week things will be different!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Thursday 23 May - Meeting the successful applicants and the unsuccessful...

What a job, choosing 12 successful students from the 15 applications sent to me. All the applications were great, and in the end I made the decision that the three Year 4 students who applied would have to miss out for now.

Successful students were given notes to take home, get signed and returned.

I wrote a special letter to the Year 4s who had missed out and spoke to each personally. That was a sensitive time...

DOXINWHAT and I tested the Server and Client. Then we discussed the proposed layout for a map with allotments for building. We decided on allotments of 50 x 50 squares. Each storey of a building will be 4 blocks DOXINWHAT built a map at home for me, spending several hours on this task. Such a great help!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Monday 20 May - Applications coming in

It is great to have applications coming in - several have been emailed to me from iPads, with movies of students describing why I should choose them. The applications were simple but sincere, and making the effort to be involved. It makes me smile to see how eager they are. No applications from senior students or girls yet....

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thursday 16 May - Meeting to announce project and invite applications

Over 20 Year 4-8 students eagerly showed up for this meeting, to listen to the project description and take away a paper describing what was involved. There was a mixture of students - some with lots of experience, and others with none, boys and girls, all keen to try. Some students expressed disappointment at not having survival mode - I won't be having it this term anyway.

Students had to apply to be involved in the project, and would need the permission of their parents if they were accepted. There could only be 12 places. Applications could be in any format (written, printed, emailed, voice recorded, video, anything - I wanted to make it easy for those who might struggle with writing) but they had to explain why should I choose THEM to take part in this project. Some looked put off by having to apply, but I will soon see who is committed.

I had some applications back within the hour!!

I was struggling with when to find time to fit this in to a school day, only having half hour breaks available. Allana (one of our Year 4-5 teachers) kindly suggested a bigger block of time once per week, rather than partially disrupting time on two days, and by finishing at 2 pm (the end of a half hour break), this would mean students would not be late back for the start of a class. I will try Thursdays 12:30 - 2 pm.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wednesday 15 May - Installation!

I finally got my head around how to do the installations on the student Macbooks in the pod. No help forthcoming from our tech (without wanting to charge a huge fee to work it out), but got it working myself, albeit with some tech glitches because MinecraftWDU simply won't install properly (ie- as it describes) in the Applications Folder.

I was again VERY grateful to have DOXINWHAT's help in working this out and doing installations alongside me - showed it to him once, and he was away - and we got the installations done and tested on 14 computers in half an hour!

Notes to self:

  • Install on Server - add server tool and client
  • Search in Library for Minecraft EDU folder
  • Make shortcut
  • On student computers, install but untick servertool
  • No need for Mojang accounts.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Thursday - 9 May Trying to understand installation

I sat down after school with DOXINWHAT who was kindly helping me. We clarified that everything I needed was within the one MinecraftEDU piece of software (server and client). We could install the server and client on the one computer (iMac) and play. He was an awesome help and VERY patient.

I tried playing when I got home and began the Tutorial World - yay. But I got stuck when I couldn't climb a ladder! Sigh - I'm such a newbie.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Friday 3 May - Christchurch City Library Learning Centre Minecraft Sessions

Today I caught up over lunch with a friend and former work colleague, Danny McNeil who now works for Christchurch City Libraries and is in charge of Special Projects at the South Learning Centre. Imagine my surprise to find that Danny has been running Minecraft sessions for the past year! These run after school, and in the holidays.

So, after some excited and animated discussion on the subject of Minecraft in education, guess where I headed after lunch - to the Riccarton Library to watch a session in action. This was being lead by an incredibly knowledgeable Year 11 student and the conversation with him ranged widely - even to a new economy  involving Bitcoins and trading. I wonder what this young man learns about in class...