It is really week three but I am a little behind. Just to recap, I gave my class a challenge to create a game for students to play within Minecraft. Our real hope was for them to actually program but it is taking us a lot longer then we originally thought so we are just having them create three worlds to showcase their learning of conservation of air and water. The first world is all about conservation, the second is on pollution and the third is a choice but must be on a water issue. The project is in it’s gaming phase (as I would like to call it). Students have completed their plan and are starting to make their plan a reality in the minecraft platform.
Here are some of my week two reflections:
1) students need to plan: I am all for creative play and working through problems but what I have been finding is that the students are way to excited about showing me what they can create that they really are not completing the task. In the middle of the week I made sure that the students had a plan using their google documents. This is linked to iPads and can be checked regularly. We are also using it to share information as the google doc allows us to write more information on the topic nd share the link. Planning also allows students to make goals and reach them. It allows them to self regulate and check their progress.
2) students are highly creative moreso then what the game may allow them. We have had to have a lot of conversation as students thoughts cannot be easily translated in the game. For insistence, some students want to create pollution in the water, this is really hard in the game but my students used chickens and had them floating. Now if I didn’t talk to them all I would see was chickens. The dialogue that we have had is the key to seeing their understanding.
Also students have a great mind to create things. The thinking that they have done with this project is truly remarkable. Take a look, this is a sink:
3) this is a longer process then I originally thought: we originally planned three weeks for the project but it has taken the students a lot longer than this. Now this could be we didn’t have a solid plan, they are in grade two, or it really takes this long.
4) as always you the teacher are very important in this educational process. I know I have said this before but as a teacher, even though the kids are exploring, it is our job to guide and direct. I am constantly asking questions about what they are doing, why and how it works. You are redirecting were needed and assisting them when they need it too. This has help with the process and keeps the project moving.
Overall, I know many of studied the impact that gamification has on students but from our two weeks on it, I am sold. This is because it has taught my students problem solving skills, it links many strands together, it gives voice, formative assessment is automatically built in and it’s a lot of fun.
Stay tune for more reflections.