This is my first activity proposal for my EDUC5105 class.
Minecraft, the insanely popular game with 54 million copies sold as of July 2014, has been used extensively in the classroom. As such, I would like to create a lesson plan based around Minecraft.
With the use of Minecraft, I would like to explore the concept of virtual fieldtrips. I.e. using the web to explore places/environments without leaving the classroom. I think Minecraft provides a great oporunity to explore virtual spaces, and would be useful for demonstrating far-off places to an elementary classroom. Specifically, I would like to use the 1:1 recreation of Denmark that was created by the Danish ministry of the environment.
By combining the ability to “walk through Denmark” with a Geography/cultural studies lesson, I think it would provide a great opportunity for students to learn in a way that engages them.
In order to create the prototype of the lesson, I’ve hosted a Minecraft server at: 126.96.36.199:25565
This gives an idea of the ease of setting up a server, and this specific server would eventually host the Denmark map files.
As the class goes through Minecraft, they’ll be required to add screenshots of the various landmarks they find to the class custom Google Map. As you can see in the screenshot below, this allows us to add markers to various locations and add a corresponding picture.
As the students go through the Minecraft map and add images to the custom Google map, we can explore the history of the various locations. I’ve started a website that acts as the course shell.
Meaningful: As stated by Allen (2007), “learning experiences must always be meaningful if they are to be successful” (p. 137). As such, it’s best to design a lesson that does it’s best to engage the learners, and doe snot lead to boredom and frustration (p. 138). Given that Minecraft has over 100 million users, many of which are in the age range of 8 – 15, creating a lesson using Minecraft would be a great way not to bore the grade 5/6 students.
By having the students go through the virtual version of Denmark, we can get them to find and identify various landmarks throughout the country. As such, this will allow us to “match the activity to the objective” (Allen 2007, p. 146). As we can’t go to Denmark, this interactive version will do. The use of Minecraft will also allow them to explore and experiment, and develop individual strategies (Allen 2007, p. 151).
Motivational: Allen writes that to motivate students, you need to “make the context appealing (use novelty, suspense, humor, fascinating graphics, sound, music, animation, etc.)” (p.180). By presenting the world of Denmark within a videogame, the graphics, sound, and music presented will hopefully motivate these students to learn. The unique presentation of Denmark, via Minecraft, will hopefully also motivate the students more than a book or documentary would do. It should also be noted that Allen mentions “successful video games demonstrate
that motivation can be sustained over long periods of time” (p. 181).
Memorable: By using Minecraft in the course, we can implement success-based learning. By first teaching these students the various landmarks/history of Denmark, we can then let the apply that knowledge. “To complete the process and keep new information from evaporating, we have to create a network of relationships to the new information and rehearse the use of that network in activities that require the recall of the new information” (Allen 2007, p.160)
Challenge and assessment:
Allen, M. (2007). Designing successful e-learning forget what you know about instructional design and do something interesting. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.