You are invited to join Massively Minecraft, a professional community of educators preparing to explore a new game suitable for children as young as 4 years of age, yet expansible enough to still stir the imagination and interaction of late teens and adults.
The purpose of this community project is to trial the use of the game Minecraft (http://www.minecraft.net) in schools as part of voluntary student activity. The community will engage in exploration and research, not to decide or direct any particular application of the game but, to understand where students might take it and how they and their teachers visualise possibilities for it use within the curriculum. This ethnographic approach relies on you, as the professional in the school, to observe and reflect on student imagination, initiative, interaction, engagement and learning.
Currently we have two sessions a week for exploration of New City, which is our second Minecraft world. It is open to the public (we need to know you first), twice a week.
Our first world, District One is closed and only open to the kids and developers. These are also our mentor kids – our senior miners, who we hope will help other kids new to the game.
We have a live map running on our blog if you’d like to take a look at the structures that they have been creating along with a Miner’s Charter, which explains the ‘rules’ of the game – which are developed by the kids playing it.
We will be running some teacher/parent short online courses on game based learning, which is prelude to having linked mutli-maps to connect kids and schools around the world. From experience, we are aware of the need to provide a space for teachers to bring kids that is safe, fun and fully maintained, and in doing so, Massively Minecraft is not a ‘general game server’ or a child minding service. We expect parents and teachers to come into the world with the kids and help them and us.
We are working on getting District Two up in late August so that we can host worlds for schools, rather than individuals an again this will happen through the community portal, as we begin to explore ways in which teachers can be in the game, and start to build learning activities from it. We hope that we will have over ten more districts by the end of the year – with interconnections and shared practice.
Our intrepid traveller, Bron Stuckey has the hard task of attending the US summer games and educational conferences, including ISTE, so I hope that you’ll ask her about where this is heading.
If you want to connect with us, and to New City, you will need to get an account, which cost approx USD$2o.
We suggest that you spend some time playing in single player, take a look at the blog, join the community and then enter the multi-player world.
Currently there’s no cost for doing this (apart from the buying the game). We are especially interested in parents, organisations and groups outside of schools who would like to begin exploring game based learning and digital citizenship – and that you’ll find our young miners an inspiration.
Later in the year, we will be putting on an event in Sydney and another in Melbourne around games based learning with a hands on immersion and workshops on how to design learning with game, play and flow – as well as meet curriculum objectives.
We invite anyone interested to jump into the community space between here and then and share your ideas We hope that the project will find international players, and that we can also find some international friends to help them – not least as our worlds are only open when there is an adult on deck. Not because we need to keep an eye on the kids, but to support them in whatever it is they want to do – safely.
The project is facilitated by myself, Jo Kay, Bron Stuckey and Kerry Johnson.