Minecraft Edu

I have always been fascinated by Minecraft. It is simple and easy to use, kids love it and it is an open ended creative virtual environment that has a wide range of applications for learning. I must admit that I do not have a Minecraft account but two of my children share an account and they are hooked. They spend time creating dwellings mostly, designing living environments and watching videos of what others are doing in Minecraft.

What motivated me to write this post was an article (passed to me by Wardy) in the Kadina Memorial School newsletter. Teacher Luke Atkinson wrote about how his 5/6 LA class had used Minecraft to learn about Sustainability. I have copied and pasted the article directly from the KMS newsletter below.

As part of our ‘Sustainability’ focus within Design and Technology the 5/6LA (TR2) class used Minecraft. This wasn’t just any random level, but a specifically designed map with 2 islands. Each island had limited resources. The aim for students was to create a sustainable environment. I had my own underlying focus on sociology and wanting to watch how the students interacted with each other. The students formed 2 groups, each of which had an island to themselves. My role was to watch and not influence what the students chose to do. This type of learning is dependent on reflection and what outcomes the students see as important.

By the end of the lesson many students had much to say about what they had achieved. Island 1 was decimated, with barely anything left. There was no food (apart from a pig stuck in a tree) and limited trees were remaining. The group was so focused on building a huge and amazing house for everyone… they ran out of resources. Island 1 commented that if they had to do it again they would build a smaller house and focus on re-growing trees, rather than cutting them down without future planning.

Island 2 built many small houses on their island, some into the hillside, others made of wood. The students commented that if they were to do it again they would maximise the land for food (animals and crops) and not build houses out of wood but stone, as wood is flammable.

Oddly enough there was also an Island 3. Two students didn’t agree with what Island 1 was doing so they dug out some sand and dirt and started to build their own island. They discussed the importance of working with others and planning when using limited resources. The students had countless stories to tell and wrote up what happened. There were discussions on how to improve for the future and how this reflected upon their own lives. They had created a system of law enforcement (a prison I was to run for them), discussed resource management, the correct use of resources and even built a separate nation for those who didn’t agree. Only in minecraft could this open and deep version of learning be possible.

Luke Atkinson, Kadina Memorial School

This is a great example of how Minecraft can be used in the classroom and thought it was worth sharing with everyone.

Not having much experience (none) with Minecraft in schools my understanding is that schools can use the original version created by Mojang or MinecraftEdu a version designed by Teacher Gaming with full endorsement from Mojang. The total cost to purchase MinecraftEdu across 28 computers would be a one off cost of $433.

Below are some videos helping to explain Minecraft as an educational tool.

Click here to visit the Educrew YouTube Channel.They have 12 instructional videos to help you get started with MinecraftEdu.

PBAS Planning & Programming Expectations

As semester 2 approaches I thought it was timely to remind staff of the expectations around programming.

Teaching staff are expected to pass in a unit outline for curriculum areas that they teach. For staff who are new to this process please have a look at teacher unit outlines kept in the staffroom or catch up with me personally.

There is a standard proforma which can be accessed on the Admin drive in a folder called Programming Proforma. Staff are free to hand up their unit outlines on their own planning tool as long as certain basic requirements are met, which include:

  • Teacher name, Term/Semester, Year level, Year
  • Content outline/major topics
  • Assessment tasks/evidence
  • Resources
  • Pedagogy focus

The expectation in term 3 for program outlines:

  1. Teachers will email their program outlines to their line manager by the end of week 1 term 3.
  2. Place a digital copy of the program outline in the Admin drive\CURRICULUM AREAS\select the appropriate subject and year level folder. It is my intention is to phase out the paper copies stored in the staffroom.
  3. Program outlines can be for either term 3 or semester 2 (term 3 & 4).
  4. All SACE subjects are exempt from this process. SACE has its own process for submitting Learning and Assessment Plans. SACE plans are to be saved in Admin drive\CURRICULUM AREAS\SACE\2014.

At some point early in term 3 there will be some discussion about modifying this proforma to include the Australian Curriculum. This could be a one page addition to our current proforma that includes the Achievement Standard and content descriptors for that subject and year level. This page would involve no writing for teachers just the requirement to highlight the aspects of the Australian Curriculum relevant to the unit in question. Click on the link below to view an example of how this could look.

Click here to see the Year 7/8 HPE Australian Curriculum cover sheet that will be considered as an addition to the program outline currently handed up by teachers at the beginning of each term/semester. The intention of this document is to assist teachers to track how effectively they are covering the Australian Curriculum. Please view this document and consider if it is a worthwhile addition to our current documentation for 2015.

Please note:

  • If you want to view the link above you need to unblock the computer you are on i.e. go to You Tube and use your curriculum login to unblock that site (you may have to do this twice to make it work) and then click on the link above. Alternatively you could do it at home.
  • Individual teachers will not have to create the Australian Curriculum sheets. Adele Keleher has already completed many for R-7 and I will develop the 8-10 versions for each subject area.

PBAS Student Free Day Term 2 2014 – Compass Tool and AC

As there where a number of staff not at PBAS for the student free day for a range of reasons I thought I would share the Power Point presentation that we went through in the morning session.

Our discussion centred around the TFEL Compass tool to provide student feedback to teachers and using the Achievement Standards and Content Descriptors to plan units and assessment tasks for term 3. After our morning discussion the day was spent focusing on these things. Teachers then met at the end of the day to share what they had been able to achieve during the day.

As part of the presentation we also revisited the DECD policy regarding A-E grading. I will be printing a copy of this to put in trays in the coming days. A copy is also in the presentation below.

It would also be great for the JP teachers to share any useful resources that they found during their time at Moonta/Kadina looking at moderation and Learning Design. Ange has already approached me with what looked like a great resource for keeping track of the Australian Curriculum developed by Adele Kehler.

Growth Mindset Poster

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I came across a version of this poster via @gregwhitby on Twitter (see below). The poster is a great reflection tool for the classroom allowing teachers to get students to self reflect about their growth mindset.

The poster above is one I put together (copying the original) with the thought that maybe it could be a useful resource for teachers. It provides a visual that allows us to challenge our students and ask the question, “which step have you reached?”

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