Using Minecraft for Education

Minecraft education edition is “a game-based learning platform with standards-aligned content across K12 subjects and special features designed for classroom use. Minecraft is already supporting thousands of educators in over 100 countries.”

Today in class we had teachers and students visit from Colquitz Middle School to talk to us about how they use Minecraft in their own education. The students lead us through our own learning experience using hands on tutorials to navigate through this immersive world. We also were given time to explore and create. I had fun being creative and built a skyscraper house as seen below. It was a valuable learning experience to see how this edition had classroom friendly features while still maintaining its ability to have children be creative and innovative. Minecraft allows students to be in a world with endless opportunities, having the limitations only being their imaginations. The games unique features still allows teachers to keep control over students to manage and asses their learning. There is a great network of teachers that have already implemented MinecraftEDU in their own classrooms. Click here to view @PlayCraftLearn on twitter which has loads of previously completed lesson plans and ideas within the K12 setting.

Having a Professional Twitter

A professional educational twitter can be a great resource to use throughout a teaching career. It is a great way to network with the teaching community and form professional relationships with people you would not connect with otherwise. As a future teacher I think it is important for my career to start networking as soon as possible. I will continue to post more on my professional twitter to become visible within the educational community.

Jesse Miller

Jesse Miller, the founder of “Mediated Reality” had useful insight into what we should be aware of on the internet as future teachers. Jesse really got me thinking into how the use of social media can effect myself and others inside and outside the school. I learned how interconnected all online platforms are. I found it crazy how so many different things are connected just by my email. It is important to keep professional emails/ social media accounts and personal emails/ social media accounts. This is because these can become connected and personal accounts can become easily discover by students and parents. Because of this teachers should be cautious while posting to their own person accounts. As teachers we should always keep it professional and refrain from having alcohol or questionable behaviours being posted online. These posts are never really deleted and may be found by future employers. A good rule of thumb before posting to social media would be “Would I mind showing this to my principal or colleagues at work”.

EDCI 306A Reflection Three

I believe that our mini lesson plan went well, but there were some improvements that could of happened. I felt confident with how our lesson was going to work and how I was going to go about explaining it to the students; however, there was confusion with who was going to present what parts of the lesson while in front of the class. I think this was because we were such a large group. Nevertheless, we could of benefited from more collaboration as an entire group. While demonstrating the game, I noticed that everyone was listening and engaged. However, I have a monotone voice when I speak regularly and some of my monotone voice could be heard when I was instructing. Next time, I would work on having a more lively voice with the students. Checking for understanding with the students is important and when asked if anyone had any questions, we could clarify the confusing parts to help make the lesson run more smoothly. During the game the students appeared to be having fun. It was a good length as well, taking under a reasonable amount of time to explain/set up and learn. During the game, I could have moved around more as I stood in more or less the same spot the entire time. The end of the lesson was very abrupt; I could of brought everyone in after to review the skills we learned during the lesson to elaborate on why we were learning certain aspects of music. From my own observations, I thought overall the lesson went well. The consensus from the class was that this lesson would have been engaging for students and that they would be open to teaching it in their own classes. I will use the constructive criticism given by the class to better my teaching abilities in the next lesson planning assignment. Overall I think this was a valuable experience in getting us comfortable teaching music to a class of our peers. I think it was important to have a “dry run” through the experience first so we are able to correct mistakes before we are marked and in turn learn from these mistakes.

Things to decide before starting your classroom blog

As a teacher starting a classroom blog it is important to have a solid idea of what the blog will look like before actually creating it. Having a good plan and sticking to it can mean the difference between failure and success for your classroom blog.

First off as a teacher you should think about who your audience will be. What is the purpose of the blog and who are you trying to reach are great questions to ask yourself. This could include parents, students, the school or just the general community. Dependent on this the creation of the classroom blog will take on different forms.

Secondly, the teacher must decide the name of the classroom blog. This can tend to be more challenging then you would first think. This is because the domain has to be unique and with the sheer quantity of people on the Internet the teacher may have to be creative with the name they choose. A tip for finding a domain name that has not been used is to choose something that is obscure and unique to the classroom or school. That way it is less likely that someone else will have already taken the name.

Arguably most importantly, what will the students be blogging about? The blog can take on whatever form the teacher can imagine and has no limitations to what it can be used for. The most obvious way a classroom blog can be used is to build on information that is touched upon in class. The teacher could also ask questions on a particular article or video and have students respond with their thoughts.

Who will be blogging and how often is another important question a teacher can ask themselves. Will all the students’ blogs be posted every week or will only the best students blog be posted? It is important to set up a routine for the students to follow so they can be prepared and know what is expected of them.

Creative commons is a website that is devoted to increasing the work that can be legally shared and add to on the internet. Pictures with CC licenses allow the creators to voice what actions they want taken when their work is used elsewhere on the internet. These licenses are easy to understand and are helping creators and consumers share data legally throughout the internet. Click here for more information.

Photo by Anabell Alicia Licensed CC BY 2.0

EDCI 306A Midterm

 My Musical Growth plan goal by the midterm point of the semester was to accomplish the ability to read sheet music and play a song that is equivalent to a grade 1 level of the Royal Conservatory music book. I had a few assets that I believed would help me while trying to reach my goals as well as some liabilities. First off playing piano as a child for 6 years would give me a good musical background that I believe helped me greatly; however, I had not touched a piano or any musical instrument in 6-8 years. This would prove to become a problem as I was very rusty and would have to relearn everything, even how to read basic sheet music. I also did not have a piano at home, which limited my ability to practice at certain times throughout my learning process. Although, with my great determination and a friend who plays the piano while also majoring in music, I was able to overcome the setbacks. I first wanted to relearn sheet music because I believed that it was a basic skill needed to play the piano. I also liked the idea that sheet music is universal and that re-learning how to read it would prove to be beneficial for all instruments. I used YouTube videos and found great resources online that helped me re-learn basic theory concepts. I was then able to apply this knowledge to eventually begin reading piano sheet music. When I felt comfortable enough with my abilities I started re-learning how to play basic songs on the piano like “twinkle twinkle little star” and “Marry had a little lamb”. I believed that it was important to warm up and develop my skills before jumping into a difficult piece of music. I then started my second goal: learn a song that is equivalent to a grade 1 level of the Royal Conservatory music book. I choose the song “piano man” to learn because there were lots of resources online to help me study this song. In hindsight “piano man” was probably a very hard song for me to learn right away because of the speed it is played at. Due to this factor, it took me a lot longer than I had anticipated to learn the piece. By the midterm part of the semester I had reached my goal, however, I was only able to play the song at half the regular speed. While learning the song, on a couple occasions I debated trying to learn a different song instead of “piano man” because of the sheer frustration and difficulty I had. I am very proud that I finished learning the song and am amazed by what I was able to do with determination. I think that it is important for me to continue with my musical learning. Music is so important in a classroom setting. It can be used to improve memory, decision-making and learning in students. Music can be used as an outlet for students as well that in turn will lower their overall stress. This is why I am excited to continue the journey through my Musical Growth Plan. In the upcoming weeks, I will choose another song to learn that is now equivalent to a grade 2 level of the Royal Conservatory music book. Although, this time I am going to be certain that it is a true grade 2 level and choose a song that is slower than “piano man”.