It feels a little strange to write this blog post as if this is the end, because in my head, I feel like I am only at the beginning of my journey.
The use of MinecraftEdu has allowed for the creation of new tasks by me, but more importantly by my students, that would not have been possible without the use of a computer. Students have been free to imagine new assignments and share how we can
implement them into our studies. They have felt empowered to dream big about how to showcase their learning in an environment where they are all totally engaged and working collaboratively. Because of the use of this kind of technology, I have seen 100% consistent, active involvement, like I haven’t seen previously. Reluctant learners are asking (and sometimes begging) for more time in Minecraft.
Teresa Coffman and Mary Beth Klinger have done considerable research about using virtual worlds in education. Their article ”Utilizing Virtual Worlds in Education: The Implications for Practice“ explores SecondLife, but I think the concepts they explore are easily transferable to the use of MinecraftEdu in the classroom.
“This higher order learning is created through the interactivity of the environment and the ability for learners to manipulate content through exploration. This complex environment has the potential to frustrate learners but as engagement in the complex problem becomes more meaningful, students become more stimulated bringing about opportunities for a more intense learning experience.”- Coffman and Klinger
This is exactly the kind of thing I have seen consistently this year, and other 5th grade teachers have begun to comment on it, now that their students have experienced our grade level simulation (see last post for more information about that.)
Eric Walker, a colleague whom I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts, led me to the research done by Teresa and Mary Beth through his reference to them in his chapter in Minecraft in the Classroom. I’m grateful to him for continuing to inspire me through his dedication to his work.
The outcome of this project (to date) has FAR exceeded my expectation when I started dreaming (literally) about it last May. Bumps and roadblocks are normal for any quest for change and I imagine there will continue to be more as we forge ahead in our mission to redefine education.
Recently I was asked to join the Research and Development team that has just been formed at our school. The group includes one teacher from each division, the Director of Educational Technology and the ES Associate Principal. After only a couple of meetings, I am energized to think about where we will go and how we will help students as the world of education transforms and changes in years to come. It is exciting stuff and I’m so thrilled to be part of the growth. Without my involvement in COETAIL, I don’t think this would have happened. COETAIL has inspired me and pushed me harder than I would have pushed myself independently and I’m excited about the opportunities this has opened up for me.
I unveiled my video for my family at dinner a little bit ago. My daughters (7th and 8th grade) both gave me very high scores. YEAH!!
My hope is that others will be inspired to jump off the cliff, dive into the deep end or whatever other idiom you want to use. The bottom line is… be like the Nike commercial and “JUST DO IT!”
Enjoy the show…