Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gaming in the Classroom

(This blog post is an assignment I had for a MOOC I am in about Minecraft in the Classroom.)
How might you incorporate video games in general into the regular school curriculum?

After watching the TedEx video from JaneMcGonigal and reflecting upon some of my own difficulties with the incorporation of gaming in the classroom I have some ideas on ways to better proceed.

I have recently been mentoring another teacher in my school with our Minecraft club so these experiences have also given me a context for thinking about this.

In the case of a club, we wrote a grant proposal with the hopes that by beginning a club with interested students we could eventually branch into classroom and make it more applicable to the curriculum and a truly integrated project. The club allows us to learn more about the technical aspects while having a group of students who are willing to beta test our ideas. 

Our minecraft club has fell prey to chaos on a couple occasions with chickens raining from the skies. What I proposed to the group with that we proceed with a purpose that they define. 
Once a purpose was established everyone had something they could contribute to. While this was not tied to a specific curriculum, for these students it helped to form a group bond and an environment where they could work cooperatively together.  There goal now is to create a challenge for other Minecraft clubs to try to work through with a link to geography and continents. It is an constantly changing environment and it will be exciting to see it evolve.

So I think a club can be a starting point to work out the kinks, build some experts in the game and teach others how to use the game. It allows teachers and students to build challenges and test them.

I think it is also important for the novice teacher to understand that it is the meat of the challenge that matters and not the ability for the teacher to understand every facet of the game.

In the beginning, it is important to set ground rules. If students have played the game or a similar game at home they may not be as willing to conform to the rules at school or they could be very eager to play knowing what they already know about the game. 

Finally, I do think gaming should have that connection to real world problems. Kids have amazing idea and thoughts and games give them the creative flexibility to share these. The idea of Brick Trips could take on a totally new flavor with games like Minecraft.

For a great way to infuse Minecraft into the elementary classroom check out this amazing blog post!

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