Minecraft Education and LEGO to Enhance Math Learning

I am not the best at math(I know, wrong mathematical mindset). Perhaps it was my poor math classes of sitting in rows, copying answers from the homework the night before, listening to a short lecture, and then working on the evens in the textbook.

Repeat process for 6 years.

As I am getting older and wiser(questionable) with STEM, robotics, coding, and more I realize how important math skills are and will continue to be.

I challenged myself to see if I could take a lesson that my son(6th grade) has been learning to see if I could spruce things up, mix up how it was taught without requiring more time.

In the end I used a mixture of LEGO and Minecraft Education to make it happen. Check out the video to see how these two tools can be implemented in a very quick, low entry fashion to help students grasp the concepts.

For this lesson we will focus on


  • Solve real-world and mathematical problems involving area, surface area, and volume.

In particular, we will be covering square units and area of rectangles

Enjoy and let me know what else you do.

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6th Grade Minecraft Interdisciplinary PBL Project Update 2: Firework Quest

After some setbacks and starting over, my son and I are making progress on this project.

Since the last update school started up so we have been limited in our work on the project. I have found this to be a great opportunity for us to connect as father/son as well and working through ideas and skills that I blog about so often.

We had spent time working on our ancient Chinese city, but something I did not realize is that the worlds do not save automatically in MinecraftEdu. I was not aware that we had to manually save our worlds. After losing everything we built, we had to start over. This was frustrating so we actually did not build for a bit of time.

At my school we are doing a teacher exhibition where we have asked all of our teachers to actually do their project. Today during our PD all teachers will be on display much like we do twice a year with our students. Teachers will share their work and their journey. I have been working on this project for my exhibition. What I realized is that my mind once again thinks so big and non linear. I have this idea in development so I had to narrow things down to what is needed to get started.

What my son and I did was create a sample quest that we would like to see students create themselves showcasing their learning. We have this idea of a Choose Your Own Adventure concept where they will write a storyline using social studies, math, and language arts standards through the quest. Obviously, this project part comes after we actually build the city, but this is where the beauty of this project really kicks in.

We made a sample quest on how to make fireworks. Keep in my mind my son is not in 6th grade so in the classroom we would have to pick the content a bit more as we do lack some social studies, math, and language arts standards, but there is enough to give you an idea of what we are after.


What I discovered from this project is how important it is to get my son screencasting. The idea of being able to teach what you know is difficult. How do we present our ideas in a way that makes sense? How do we help understand our audience? How do we showcase our learning?

I am just scratching the surface with what I am developing here with Minecraft in the classroom. I have so many notes scribbled down. I hope to get a class involved in this project after teacher exhibition so we can really dive in and see where things end up.

So…. we have made a quest. We need to clean it up. We need to build up our city more. We need to clean a few things up. I need to complete my lesson plans a bit more so anyone can use them. I will let you know how things go in update 3.

Here is my project structure

Update 1

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6th Grade Minecraft Interdisciplinary PBL Project Update 1

Yesterday, my son and I sat down and did some work for a project based learning unit I am working on. It was an amazing experience and helped me see how vital it is for schools to challenge students to think creatively, solve problems, and most importantly articulate what they have done.

We are working on a 6th grade interdisciplinary project where we will be using standards from social studies, language arts, and math as we create and build the ancient Chinese city Chang’an and use that as a platform to take learning to a whole new level. We have a massive idea with so many options, but for now we are focusing on the initial phases of the project titled: Building Chang’an

We have a long way to go in the project, but we should have everything ready to roll when school starts. I share this update because my son and I made two screencasts and to me this was extremely powerful in helping me gauge my son and his ability to share what he knows. It was powerful for me as a parent and educator.

I learned so many things yesterday actually doing the project and actually working with my son(student). Another blog post will be coming on these key things, but for now I will focus on the project.

First, we moved everything over to OneNote . It is so much easier to organize and scaffold lessons, projects, and ideas.

Second, my son and I made two screencasts to practice. He has never done this before so it was good for us to do it together. The screencasts are more practice than anything else, but we want to document our building and construction journey so we can help educators realize it can be done and it is not difficult.

You can check our two screencasts below.



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A Natural Course to Roll Out Minecraft to Students

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.

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Game Based Learning Reflection of Implementation

After four weeks of learning and actually applying game based learning I have a new appreciation for educators who use Minecraft/MinecraftEdu in their classroom. I have a new appreciation for those that can build with these blocks and bring ideas to life. I have an appreciation for the kids who do what they do so easily. I basically applaud anyone who can do anything with Minecraft.

One thing that was reinforced to me was that with about 25-30 hours of build time in my world I spent easily 18 hours learning through doing things incorrectly. I learned so much from things that did not work or making mistakes. It was not always fun as there were times I became frustrated, but……

[Tweet “There is no formula for Minecraft. There is no formula for game based learning.”] The minute we try to craft a formula we have killed the spirit of what games and games based learning is all about. This is probably my biggest takeaway from all my learning and unlearning. I spent a lot of time trying to develop some formula to create this perfect world for teachers. In the end I was killing the essence of gaming and struggled to find this answer because it did not exist. It reminded me of my many conversations with educators where I shared that any time someone in education tries to sell you on a product that will solve all your issues you should run like hell. I was trying to do this very thing.

In the end I did create a world. It ended up being a hodgepodge world of ideas. I have plans to develop a new world moving the school idea to a separate world. My son and I are going to move the Jurassic World idea to another world that is not flat. However, this world we have started we are going to continue to build and develop for fun and see what comes of it.(see video below)

Looking ahead I have a few goals that I want to achieve before summer ends.

1. Figure out how to share my worlds so people outside of my local network can join. I have seen this done and want to learn how to do it myself.

2. Clean up my three project ideas and get them fully developed and ready to go. I have some lesson planning and project work to do.

3. Get a server up and running in our school so I can begin to train teachers in Minecraft so we can begin to utilize the tool when it provides a key learning opportunity.

Game based learning is an endless world of possibilities. I am glad that I have found myself finally tuned into the worlds and am slowly learning how to do things. The amount of connections based on Minecraft in the last few weeks has been huge and I look forward to continuing to learn and grow. Who knows where I will be by the end of the summer.

Perhaps I will learn how to do pixel art like my son is learning.

Here is my update on my world with ideas that I tried to implement along with my struggles. Suggestions are welcome!

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Creatively Thinking with MineCraftEDU: Creative vs. Survival Mode

Holy Cow! If you want to force yourself to learn how to play Minecraft/MinecraftEdu in terms of game tactics, building, crafting, etc. then look no further than survival mode. For the first few days I have been just relaxing doing a little here and little there in creativity mode, but if you want to put your finger to the flame go all out in survival.

I died the first three attempts to survive the night. I had no idea what I was doing. I still am not savvy enough to build, craft, dig, etc. Basically, I am not basic skill savvy! However, by the fourth attempt I stopped and started to do some some research and learned more in 10 minutes of survival play than my previous few hours before. Why? You don’t have a choice unless you like being attacked by zombies, fire zombies, bats, arrows, and who knows what else was attacking me.

I checked out the book The Big Book of Minecraft and this book helped me understand that I needed to chop down trees. It took me forever to figure out this whole crafting thing. It is slowly making sense, but for now I had to use the Minecraft Wiki to figure out how craft and build a crafting table. I learned how to chop down trees –> convert to wood planks –> make either sticks, shovels, and axe. From there I could chop down more trees and slowly see the power and necessity for wood in this game.

I eventually built my first little tiny home. I realize I want to go back and build with wood planks so many house upgrades are coming.

Now, I just need to figure out how create light, craft a pickaxe, and keep developing.

It was a bit of a rush when you don’t want to die and the day turns to night.

On the flipside I have spent time in creativity mode. I like this mode because you get everything. You have no stress to worry and can just keep thinking “What if I do……” You can just play. This is where I like to experiment. When I go back to survival I need to learn how to acquire all those awesome things which I have no clue.

In the classroom I could see uses for both game modes. Survival would be a great team collaboration project where students would have to work together to stay alive and make things work. I like that element for them to understand allocation of resources, living dynamics, dividing up jobs, etc. The game provides plenty of social elements along with higher ordering thinking skills to problem solve. I am writing up a bunch of options for using survival mode. I am sure there are so many great ideas out there, but I just have not had time to track them all down.

The creativity mode is a real obvious option as students can build anything. Creativity fits well into any classroom and it just depends on the goals and outcome of the project and classroom.

Finally, I can see why the original Minecraft had no instructions or tutorials. When I played the tutorial world I played to simply get through it. When I jumped over to survival mode, I could not apply anything I learned. It did not stick with me to application. However, the need for survival forced me to learn and I can now recite how to do everything I learned to survive. I still think the Tutorial World is good to start I almost feel like just tossing them in Survival to learn with guidance from the teacher and expert students would be a better option.

I am finding my ideas and thoughts constantly shift as I dig deeper into this world of blocks. Below are some resources that I used with the link to survival mode being a very helpful one along with this book The Big Book of Minecraft which I just bought my own copy. Alright, back to figuring out how to survive day 2 in my CoffeechugSurvival World!

Either way if classrooms had students share their journey and learning I could see a great fit for


Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.


Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one–on–one, in groups, and teacher–led) with diverse partners on grade 7 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

Heck, even using Health Literacy standards for survival mode would work.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Utilize interactive literacy and social skills to establish personal, family, and community health goals.

Demonstrate social and communication skills to enhance health and increase safety.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Apply critical literacy/thinking skills related to personal, family and community wellness.

Demonstrate decision making skills.


I continue to see so many connections of using this game in classrooms effectively.

Extra Resources:

Glossary of Minecraft Terms

My YouTube Channels of Minecraft Gaming

Minecraft Crafting Guide

Survival mode guide:


Creative mode, you will not need to use tools, crafting, or worry about being attacked.  It is a sandbox mode of the game.  You have godlike power in the game.  Every resource in the game is in your inventory, and unlimited.



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Coffeechug Minecraft World: PBL and PD

Seeking Feedback and Ideas

Below is my current draft of a project I am working on. The goal of this world is twofold. First, to help students and classrooms connect in a place that excites and promotes learning in an interdisciplinary project. Second, the world will eventually be a teacher PD world for them to learn how to use Minecraft in their classrooms. Check out the idea and let me know what you think. I have two other projects, but need to figure this one out first.


The goal of this project is to design and create a blueprint copy of your school you attend. The school must be to scale. After the school is built you will then design and build your ultimate dream school that would ensure the highest levels of learning.



Design, plan, and build an accurate and to scale model of your school

Use Minecraft to support 21st century skills

Enhance writing skills through visualization and roleplay

Connect the various subject areas to showcase student learning


Organizing the Project


Step 1: Information Gathering

In this stage students will figure out how to get blueprints or a scaled map of their school. They will need to figure out how to use volume to determine the space needed in Minecraft to build their school to scale(this will help)


Step 2: Building in Minecraft

Once a map and plan has been established, students will develop teams with the help of their teacher to divide up the work. Students will go through the tutorial world to learn how things work before being deployed to the School World. Once their plot is established they will begin to build and create their school to scale.


Step 3: Writing

Along the way students will be blogging or writing their learning journey to creating their school to scale. Each post will require the use of connecting the standards to the learning. It is important for students to understand their learning and how it all ties together. These posts can also include screenshots and video tours.



The next step if time permits or for those who need more of a challenge would be to take on the challenge of creating a dream school. They will have to justify their decisions and why their creation would allow for the ultimate learning experience for all students.


Next Steps

Once students have created their school to scale, the world will be used for PD for teachers. A great entry point would be for teachers to design their own classrooms. Even better would be teachers designing their ultimate dream school and comparing to the students version. This project will be open to all students and schools so in the end we will have this world of real schools and ultimate dream schools which would lead to some great conversations. Last, it would provide a great opportunity for a virtual world tour.


Iowa Common Core Standards




Represent three–dimensional figures using nets made up of rectangles and triangles, and use the nets to find the surface area of these figures. Apply these techniques in the context of solving real–world and mathematical problems.


21st Century Skills


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using interactive technology.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Plan strategies utilizing digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.


Essential Concept and/or Skill: Use critical thinking skills to conduct research, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate technological tools and resources.




Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade–specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)



With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 6.)



Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.


Getting Started

Students will enter the large massive BMS Training Facility. This building is a square building built to scale based on the square meters of the building and applied to the Minecraft world. Inside the facility will be several rooms providing ideas and help for students and educators to achieve the necessary learning opportunities.



Once we have a replica of our actual school, then the design challenge comes into place. The challenge is as follows:


Create a world in Minecraft that reflects the values and mission of Bettendorf Community Schools.


Bettendorf Community School District will link learning to life with passion, purpose and pride so that all students can make a positive difference.

Educational excellence is the foundation of the Bettendorf Community School District. Working in partnership with the family and community, we will instill and nurture in all students the knowledge, skills, creativity, and confidence to pursue their dreams and to succeed in a global society.
We Believe:

  • Excellence in student learning, our measure of accountability, is the hallmark of our school district.
  • High expectations for students, staff, parents, and community lead to excellence.
  • Although not all students learn at the same time or in the same manner, all students can and shall learn.
  • Family and community support are critical to student success.
  • To best meet the needs of our students, staff should be motivators, innovators and professional role models.
  • Student learning occurs best in a safe, nurturing, respectful, and positive environment, which is supported by quality facilities and resources.
  • Basic academic skills are the foundation for successful lifelong learning.
  • Rigorous and relevant learning experiences challenge our students to think and solve problems creatively.
  • A quality school district embraces diversity and promotes mutual respect.
  • A quality school district seeks continuous improvement.
  • A quality school district is responsive and accountable.
  • Visionary leadership to achieve the goals of our school district is a responsibility shared by staff, students, parents, and community.

At this point we can divide students up to plot and design their dream school and learning centers. Whatever they create they must connect to the values and missions of the district. Before they jump into Minecraft they must unpack the statements and begin to visually map what elements they would like to add to their world.


Once the class unpacks and mindmaps what is needed to address these statements they begin to draft out their ideas. They will map out their ideas on paper. Individually or in small groups they will present their ideas. Once that has been complete, then students will work together as a class to create a prototype in class of what the finished product will look like. They will have to figure out locations of builds and how to incorporate all the ideas into one cohesive world.


Once this model has been created and approved they will be set loose to create in Minecraft. There will be groups created, roles for different tracks within the challenge, and regular meetings to ensure we are making the necessary progress. As we need to things to be taught or constructed we will add them to the BMS Training Facility.


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MinecraftEdu Game Modes – Tutorial World

I finally started playing. I figured out how to login, create my server, find the tutorial world, and begin playing. Now, when I told my son I was playing a tutorial world he laughed. He laughed and said, “Well, when I started playing I was not given any instruction!” He wears that like a badge of honor and I have several times now about how the no tutorial/manual idea forces kids to explore both within the game and outside. I can see the value in that now.

I followed the lines in the tutorial and learned the basics. Maybe for old peeps like myself this is a good thing. I checked books out at the library, I have been watching videos online, reading blog posts, and talking with my son to learn how to do things in the game. I still suck at it, but I am learning bit by by or should I say block by block.

When I think about bringing the game to the classroom I do believe that starting with the tutorial would be good for a staff inservice. We often run PD where we have breakout sessions and I could easily run this as a session. I would have the teachers do the tutorial to get comfortable. This would be a blast and fun way of learning.

I found the tutorial good. I did not finish it all. I quit right when I got to the crafting part of the tutorial, but I have a live built in helper in my son who wanted to help. He taught me how to craft

I recorded my tutorial journey where I talk about my thoughts and ideas to education while playing.

Whether or not I would use it with students would all depend on the project, the goals, and comfort levels of students. If we had a project where not everyone would be building, then perhaps it would not be necessary and it could be a resource for those who want to learn. If the project requires a lot of building I would expose everyone to at least one day of tutorial(even the experts) just to ensure we were ready and then I would set them free. I see the tutorial as more for teachers than students. You could easily tie theIowa Common Core 21st Century Skills into the tutorial by having students blog and share their learning through various means.

I would not change anything with the tutorial. Actually, if anything, I would have students work to build their own tutorial for others to use and learn from particularly teachers. I think you could make it really personable that way if teachers knew students were the creators and students knew they had an audience like their teachers.

The other idea would be to build a checklist of basic skills that students would need to complete the intended project. Students could showcase their skills through blogging, video, screenshots, live on the overhead, etc. Once they demonstrated their skills, they could earn a badge and move into the actual project.

These are just a few things I am learning and thinking while exploring the tutorial world.

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What are the possibilities with Minecraft/MinecraftEdu?

I am finally playing Minecraft. I am using MinecraftEdu to start with just to get my bearings as I will eventually create my own world with this platform. I have been recording my thoughts as I explore the game and conduct my reading for the class I am taking here and here. I did spend some time reading Teaching with MinecraftEdu after going through the tutorial. I even recorded myself going through the tutorial and shared my thoughts as I played so I could capture what I was thinking as I was playing in regards to education.

Teaching with MinecraftEdu  for MinecraftEdu is essential for any educator thinking about bringing the game into their classroom. It provides more than enough information to get started. You could spend days clicking on all the links. One of the things that I caution anyone with when using Minecraft is not losing sight about why kids love Minecraft to begin with. They have autonomy, purpose, and a chance for mastery. The openness and opportunity to carve your own path is what makes this game work. As I read through all the ideas for the first lesson, please don’t narrow the options so low due to your fears as educator that kids hate it. You have to let them go. Let them prove to you their learning!

I work with middle school students. As I continue to think about Minecraft as I play the game and slowly develop worlds to meet Iowa Common Core I continue to read and find ways to prove support to use MinecraftEdu to provide an avenue of creativity and critical thinking through game based learning. At the end of this article are 5 links to sites you can read. I will reference a few that really stood out to me in my support for making this a reality in my school.

I read a quick blog post, Why and How to Use Minecraft in the Classroom?, and the basic and key idea of the article and Minecraft is that

“Generally, teachers tailor their lessons as per the game. But with Minecraft, they can change the game as per their curriculum.”

This is a key idea because you don’t have to change your teaching. You change the game to fit your teaching. That is powerful with any tool or tech we infuse in classrooms.

I also read Mineclass – How to set up an Interschool Minecraft project and my brain instantly started spinning with ideas. I love global projects and colloboration so I am already reaching out to people to figure out how to develop a project where students would work together across the world in a Minecraft project.

So what am I going to create with all these possibilities? Here are my current ideas, but I would love any new ideas you can provide.

Where has my experimenting taken me in regards to education?

Idea 1: Use Minecraft to build trench warfare. Create a basic post based on schematics found online. Students would then have to conduct their own research and build the enemy trenches or add on to what currently exists. I would be focused on the following standard

Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand the use of geographic tools to locate and analyze information about people, places, and environments.

  • Understand the characteristics and purposes of geographic tools and representations of the earth such as maps, globes, graphs, charts, models, grid systems, aerial and other photographs, GIS, satellite–produced images and databases.

Idea 2: MinecraftEdu Free Play with emphasis on Reading Standards for Informational Text. With this idea students would have to do “research” on how to manipulate things in Minecraft. The project would explain the key standards and learning targets and through scaffolding leave it up to the students to prove their mastery of standards. In their world and along with screenshots and video they would demonstrate the following standards:


Analyze how two or more authors writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.


Employ the full range of research-based comprehension strategies, including making connections, determining importance, questioning, visualizing, making inferences, summarizing, and monitoring for comprehension.


Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

Idea 3: Students develop their own science experiment within Minecraft using Science as Inquiry. My thought here is that students create their own investigation and then conduct their ideas in MinecraftEdu to discover what happens. Throughout this process they are reminded of the scientific investigation process. I see this as more of a kickoff to the year to just get their brains working again.

Random Ideas

I don’t have these connected to standards yet, but here are a few others I have in my mind.

  • Build a world that with the use of switches and redstone you create a utopian world that can turn to dystopia. Thinking more language arts genre type project to showcase understanding of reading.
  • Recreate the lock and dam system along the Mississippi River to showcase science standards at a local level. I don’t know how to get water to move or how to build the locks and dams to allow water to flow and rise. Not sure if possible, but it would be cool.
  • Recreate the Quad Cities to provide a local historical map of what was.

Last, I think it is a no brainer that no matter what project you create you can easily cover every standard within the Technology Literacy strand of 21st Century Skills.

Articles to read

  1. Why and How to Use Minecraft in the Classroom?
  2. How Minecraft has Enhanced Student Learning (explained with the SAMR model)
  3. Making MinecraftEdu a Meaningful Learning Experience
  4. 6 Minecraft lesson ideas for your Common Core math class
  5. Mineclass – How to set up an Interschool Minecraft project
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What makes Minecraft/MinecraftEdu so engaging to students?

As I continue to think my way through the idea of using Minecraft/MinecraftEdu in the classroom I have had to do some digging into articles and really take some time to develop answers to the following questions posted below. To start with I read a blog post and watched the following video on Dan Pink. Here is the article I read to go along with the Dan Pink video.

Honestly, if you have never read Drive then you must stop and read it now. It is required reading for any human being. I wrote up a review back in 2010 and another little reflection.

What do you think about the Daniel Pink video?  What do you feel is true or false about his research and conclusions?  

The video discusses three motivators from his research as mastery, autonomy, and purpose. I don’t anyone would disagree with these three. Dan discusses a study where they gave people incentives based on work. Mechanical skill worked, but as soon as the skill was rudimentary skill the higher the reward lead to lower performance. The reason, for tasks that are if I do ___, then I get ____ it works. When the task is more complicated it does not work. He discusses another idea that you pay people enough money to take money off the table. Instead of money I instantly though tot school. How can we create an atmosphere of learning where grades no longer matter?  Can we take grades off the table for concern for learning in schools? How do we achieve this type of mindset and culture?

Mastery is the urge to get better at something. Why do people do it? It is fun and we enjoy doing it. Minecraft is an opportunity to become a master in the pathways you choose. Talking with my son who is 10 he believes his skill is working with other people and understanding the layouts of worlds. He readily talked about not being very good at redstone, but that is just no something he enjoys although he likes working with the kids who are good with it. He has figured out how to use his skills with those of others

He also discusses that people want a challenge and mastery with a chance for contribution are the keys to getting work done. Not money(grades), not bonuses(extra credit). You do not get the best ideas when you bank on these to get great work. This goes against the grain for how much of the world works.

Do you feel Minecraft/MinecraftEdu fits within the research of Daniel Pink on motivation?  

What I found to be the lightbulb moment when reading and watching the video are the three motivators described by Dan Pink. It does not really matter the the platform or content or technology. Rather what can we develop in our schools to allow for mastery, purpose, and autonomy? Minecraft might be that solution for some kids. It won’t be for all kids. We have to be careful not to generalize “kids” and think just because millions of people around the world like Minecraft does not mean all kids in our classroom like it.

Minecraft is a place where mastery, purpose, and autonomy are all ingredients so it does fit. As the blog post stated students can create their own goals and when they can do that “their goal is attainable”. One fear I have is that in a classroom would educators allow students to create their own goals or would it be the goals of the educator?

Look at the verbiage of the article and the video.  Where would they fit in the New Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Anytime we look at Bloom’s Taxonomy we must do so carefully. It is a guide. What do the words really mean? Looking at them: remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create are powerful. Minecraft or any high quality project can incorporate all of these. It is not so much that Minecraft is the solution to these elements, but looking at things differently. What are your lesson goals? What are your learning targets? Then, and only then do you look to possible ways to allow students to achieve those goal and targets. Minecraft might be the solution. What often happens with technology and other tools is that we try to fit the learning to the tool. It must be the other way around where the goals allow the chance for tools to help students achieve.

Is engagement enough of a reason for using Minecraft/MinecraftEdu as an educational tool? Can you think of ways that MinecraftEdu could be used to teach the Iowa Common Core?

As I continue to gain a sense of whether Minecraft is a fad in education or something that can really be valuable I read another article online where one statement really stood out to me. In the article, it states, “Kids are forced to explore — first in the game, then out of it.” Think about this for a minute. Anytime you can develop something where students must explore within the realms to develop high levels of thought and then they WANT to learn more so they research new ideas on top of the gameplay you have something powerful. My son will watch videos on YouTube to learn all types of new things. Now, the argument in education is that many of us would not consider this “research” because it does not look like how we did things. So, what are we doing as educators to understand the world of kids as opposed to forcing them to do things that just don’t feel natural to them?

Engagement is an essential piece to learning. If you are not invested learning will not take place. If you can get kids exploring for hours(autonomy) and then doing more work on top to become better(mastery) with the goals they have set for themselves(purpose) you have it all set up for optimal learning conditions.



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