I have been exploring Minecraft and MinecraftEdu for the past few weeks this summer. It has been a wonderful and challenging learning experience to say the least. In that small amount of time I have come up with a few big ideas that could be used in our school IF we were to get approval for a server and all that good stuff.
The idea that I am have working on lately is the presentation or roll out to students. How do we make this work where students are excited and teachers feel like they are getting their standards accomplished as well.
As an instructional coach and not a classroom teacher I see the first crucial step is helping teachers see the possibilities. It would be a waste of time to launch Minecraft with students if the educators did not see value in it first. My first goal is to create a PD world for educators so they can play, experiment, and learn together so that they can see a benefit. This was a similar method to our 3D printers. I gave some PD and suggested ideas but just let it be. Over time we started to develop more and more projects on the printers to the point where we really need 4-5 more. I hope to do the same with Minecraft. Give them some basics, let them think on it and add it to their tool belt and when the moment rises for it to be used they know where to go for help.
Once educators are on the same page, then we move to students. By this point I hope to have the approval from admin and the tech department to approve, install, and have everything ready to roll out with students. This is the crucial step. Hopefully with discussions over the summer we can begin to move and organize these essential pieces to rollout.
Let us say that everything goes according to plan. As we have early outs and inservices I will continue to provide sessions to teach the teachers in our building. I will just let it take the natural course and not force anything. As a coach we can look at projects and identify if there is any potential. We start small with maybe Minecraft being an option. Then it might grow to a class element to a project. The key is to not force Minecraft for the sake of Minecraft. The key is to look for entry points and identify if Minecraft would enhance the learning process.
I am lucky that in my building we have an amazing staff. Digital citizenship is being covered across the board in core classes as well as our digital literacy classes. As we push authentic audience in our projects we are presented with lessons in being a good citizen all the time. Minecraft is one more option to develop these skills.
I understand that Minecraft is not for everyone. I believe in developing exposure and providing support for those who need and want it. As things develop you continue to make the learning process better and better. To plan any other way would be troublesome because then you are planning for Minecraft and not learning.
As I continue to work through ideas and develop projects for teachers I will continue my summer obsession with Minecraft as I still have a lot to learn.