For my final project, I created a learning experience through MinecraftEdu. This was my second time using MCEdu as a learning tool, and I felt that overall, it was a very powerful engagement for my students.
The videos I created to document the process will speak for themselves, so I will not repeat what can be viewed here. The first one is the learning engagement overview, which summarizes the set-up and the story I created within the virtual world. The second video is a compilation of student reflections and thoughts about their experience after learning through MinecraftEdu.
What wasn’t fully covered in the videos above were some of the comments, quotes and dialogue that came out of the engagement. MinecraftEdu is where the experience happens, but most of the learning comes from student-centered reflection and dialogue that occurs offline and in-between the virtual sessions.
Before students even entered the world, and right after they were notified of their country of citizenship and socioeconomic standing, there were many questions about what was permissible. I tried to remain ambivalent and neutral about many of the concepts that came out of the initial conversations, so as to allow students to navigate the morality or need-based nature of these actions. Though not in their exact language, the questions, concepts, solutions or ideas that were generated before even stepping inside the virtual world centered around:
- illegal migration
- human trafficking and slavery
- overthrowing governments
- government leaders living abroad
- escaping prison sentences
- socioeconomic mobility
- coalition forces
- accidental migration
- government ascendancy
During the two week period students were interacting within the virtual world, there were many quotes and concepts that emanated from student-centered discussion groups. Some example quotes and concepts can be read here. Though not always exactly quoted, they are paraphrased to make them clear and concise:
- “Can we change the government?” (poor citizen)
- “Our country needs an army. I know where to get the money.” (wealthy citizen)
- “Middle class should be in charge of law enforcement.” (middle-class citizen)
- “Why don’t we just create our own economic free trade zone, since we can’t use the wealthy’s?” (poor citizen)
- “We should look at MinecraftEdu as a place to increase opportunities and make it better for everyone, just like the real world.” (wealthy citizen)
- “Sneaky thieves and those who illegally cross borders need to be publicly identified.” (middle-class citizen)
- “I’m not sitting next to my countrymen because I’m doing a business deal. I felt it was better to do it face-to-face.” (poor citizen)
- “We should build hotels for the middle-class and wealthy who travel here, and then tax them.” (very poor citizen)
- “You are not allowed to trade until you have x amount of blocks.” (middle-class citizen)
- “We can build a gift shop for wealthy travelers, like they have in airports, and then use the money to increase public services for all of us.” (very poor citizen)
- “Anyone who tries to steal more than once will go to jail and won’t be allowed to cross borders.” (middle-class citizen)
The number of concepts that emerged from this engagement were so numerous that the leaning could have been taken in many different directions. However, we always brought our focus back to the central idea, lines of inquiry and related concepts. Here is the Understanding by Design unit overview. Any and all feedback is welcome.