Authors: Patricia Dillon, Marta Nattkemper, Alejandra Quaglia
For years we have delved into Educational Neuroscience which we consider fascinating. One of the biggest thinkers on the Science of Learning is the noted neurologist and educator, Judy Willis. We have read several of her books, articles and educational journals and we attended some of her conferences. She has even inspired us to to take our first steps in making our students create simple video games after reading her research paper called “Video-Game Model”. She here states that if the students would dedicate the same amount of time to their assignments as they do to their video games, and make the same effort, showing the same commitment, willingness and concentration, their learning process would be fully successful.
At the same time we realised how popular Minecraft is among our students. Minecraft is one of the best examples of the potential of learning with games as it embraces exploration, discovery, creation, collaboration, and problem-solving. It is a sandbox or “open world game” that, in creative mode, allows students to build structures, add characters and actions with almost unlimited tools. Most of our children spend time playing the game at home and some of them are real experts at it.
So we thought that using this 3D environment that allows children to have the freedom to imagine and create their own content in a compelling and engaging learning environment would be the ideal tool as an option for our final product in our Y6 unit of Fantasy. Minecraft will be the means the students have to imagine, represent, and develop their creation by visualizing the settings, characters and plot. Finally, they will put it into action by touring their 3D story as they narrate it. This will enable us to combine students’ learning objectives and academic outcomes, with a virtual world of their own.
We contacted one of our expert students who actually made the connection between us, teachers, and this new environment that we are exploring. We feel that this first experience will pave the way into a new teaching approach which can later be applied to different content areas and age groups, even beyond the boundaries of our community.
We invite you to watch our expert student giving his personal views about what Minecraft is, its different uses and features, and how he would adapt it to an educational setting.
Or click on this link
Don’t miss our next post where we will be sharing our students’ productions in this new learning environment.
These are some of the sites that have inspired us for this project. Please feel free to add any resources, suggestions or thoughts that you consider would help us improve it.
Categories: Professional Development Contest 2014