Posts Tagged ‘history’
craft /kraft/ tr.v.: to make or produce with care, skill, or ingenuity
After about 100 hours of playing in Minecraft over the past couple of months, I have two conclusions: 1) As a gamer, it’s a lot of fun, and 2) As an educator, it’s a lot of fun – to learn! And, much of this fun comes from being able to create things – i.e., crafting.
There is so much educational potential using Minecraft. You can have students learn practically any subject at all by having them craft in the game – all it takes is just some creative instructional design thinking.
For example, you can have them learn about:
- History – have students research a historic event and have them recreate it in Minecraft
- English – have students write about the above historic event and critique how the Minecraft version compares to the actual event
- Math – have students build a replica of a historic landmark to scale
- Physics – have students build a roller coaster and do experiments on velocity and acceleration
OK, those are just a few examples off the top of my head. But, as you can see, the educational possibilities are endless! The Minecraft world is your oyster.
I’m planning a Minecraft workshop this summer at a local community center with middle and high school students. The objective of the workshop will be to have the students learn about the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. I plan to have the students collaborate to create replicas of an internment camp and then create short machinima to highlight their creations.
I decided to craft my own internment camp to use as an example for the workshop. Interestingly, I found that I not only had to learn history (research on how the camps looked) but also had to apply some algebra skills in order to get the camp proportions just right. So there you go, history and math in one quick lesson.
I also learned a lot about how to “craft” a screencast to display my Minecraft creation in a video. At first, I considered using FRAPS because I read it’s supposed to be the “industry standard” when it comes to recording gameplay – but it costs $ and I’m not sure I’ll be doing a whole bunch of these screencasts. So, I ended up trying out a host of other free screencasting programs, including:
- ScreenCastle – online tool that worked great but the quality was too low
- Taski – crashed Minecraft when I clicked Record
- Camstudio – failed to launch for some reason
I ended up using WeGame, which worked perfectly (despite the annoying setup routine where it scanned my hard disk for installed games). WeGame is super easy to use – just press F6 to record and F6 again to stop. Movies are saved in AVI format, and you can record your voice as you go through your game.
Here is the walkthrough video of the internment camp that I “crafted”:
So, hopefully this post has inspired you educators to go ahead and craft away – inside the game, outside the game in making things like this screencast walkthrough, and, most importantly, in designing fun learning activities for your students.
BTW, for any educators interested in joining a Minecraft server with other educators, please see this post. Also, here are a couple of good sites for educators interested in Minecraft: Massively Minecraft Network (community out of Australia) and The Minecraft Teacher (blog).