Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Minecraft Workshop 1: #gettingschooled

Natomas Charter School is amazing. There is a school-wide expectation of innovation that permeates the classrooms, administrator meetings, and conversations from the staff lounge to the board room. Change is the only constant- and I love it. Risk taking and failure are encouraged. I have never experienced anything like is in my 17 years as an educator. And that was before Minecraft.
27 teachers. 27 kids. Awesome!
We blog. We tweet. We Skype. We create and build. Everyone is a learner.

Today I got schooled. And it was EXACTLY what I signed up for.

Along with 26 other teachers, we had our first Minecraft workshop. Every teacher had an individual mentor. My mentor was Serena, a brilliant 7th grader. She had her work cut out for her. Although I previously attended Diane Main's Minecraft workshop at Fall CUE, I pretty much only remembered how to dig. Joe Wood and Joe Cook led the workshop, taking us through Minecraft world with the hope that we would learn how to walk, run, climb, build, and hide. 
Raining on my Minecraft world
Everyone learned something new. All were successful, and yet not all survived. Here's my top ten list from Minecraft day 1.
Can't see anything? It's dark in my world and I have no torches!
1. I can walk, jump, climb and back up. I can also dig and chop down trees. 
2. When it's dark, you need a torch. If you don't have one, you just have to wait until morning. Or, if you are lucky, someone will give you one!
3. Pigs and cows run away from you. You have to chase them!
4. The + thingy is very important! It tells you where to place wood and dirt when you build something.
5. You can chat! Which means if you need something, you can ask for help and just maybe, if you are lucky, someone will send you some coal to light your way!
6. It's hard for kids to teach us. I could see Serena wanting to grab my mouse, but she didn't! It was hard for her to explain to me what to do... she was so patient!
7. Teaching 52 people at once is hard. And getting the attention of a totally engaged crowd is even harder- especially if they are facing their computer and away from the teacher. It reminds me to consider our classroom configuration and how it works with collaborative learning and tech.
8. In Minecraft, friends can save you! 
9.  I need to buy a mouse! Two years with a trackpad. Minecraft needs a mouse. So much easier.
10. I died at the hands of a creeper! No worries... I will still return for the next class!

I have so much to learn and am so lucky to have my own mentor leading the way!

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