The students took part in a one day 'challenge' during which they had to work in teams to create two villages in Minecraft. The two teams were physically separated in two different rooms at school (in the real world). They were also separated within the game and spent the day creating at least three buildings for their village, with a choice of: a town hall, a castle, a tree house, a monument, a roller coaster or an artwork.
The students had to trade with the other team to overcome restrictions: one team was not allowed to mine coal and the other team was not allowed to mine iron. The items had to be exchanged at the trading post. During hour 1, the student could only build with wood, in hour two they could also build with stone, in hour three they could use glass and in the final session, they could use what they wanted.
The aim was for the students to learn about cooperation and collaboration, design and creativity and about the fundamentals of social and economic relations.
What is the time frame of the project?
Term 3, 2014: 1 hour student preparation session and whole day experience.
What are the outcomes and achievements for this project?
The students were fully engaged and enjoyed the experience a great deal. They had to cooperate with others and work as a team to achieve their objectives. They continued to discuss the day in their class online space long after the project day. The year 4 and 5 students were 'equal' in terms of their ability to be leaders in the space (which has been a challenge in this 4/5 composite class).
Testimonials about the benefits of this project.
"I think the girls loved that day and I think they were looking forward to it and continued to talk about it long after it was finished ... I don’t think there was anyone who didn’t come away with other than a happy experience and enjoyed it and were fully engaged. But it also stimulated a lot of interactions and the need to compromise and work together as a team. For me that was one of the biggest things out of it, just watching how they did or didn’t work together well."
What is next for this project?
Steve Baker will continue to use Minecraft, when appropriate, to enhance the students' classroom learning at St Aidans. In particular, he sees value in it to develop social and emotional skills and knowledge. He will also continue to investigate how it ca be used productively across the curriculum.