Minecrafts tipping point

The mainstay of the internet is interactive productivity. This means people are no longer represented in the media by celebrities and journalists, there are more people self directing and self mediating than simply reading.

Significantly these people have acquired sufficient language to use complex channels to discover and sustain a distributed dialogic.

I firmly believe that certain technologies appear or fade with tremendous serendipity. Great ideas die, and hopeless ones get picked up. It isn’t until time passes that we can go back and make sense of them. For example, modernism actually contained plenty of things that post modernists at the time said they lacked. With hind sight, not rethinking faculties before thinking technology was a missed opportunity for schools.

When Minecraft appeared, it was at the right time for its new significant user base. It spread like wildfire among kids … not because another games are boring, but in the remediation of play, sufficient kids could now self meditate, discover and share its benefits and joy, which kids even four or five years earlier couldn’t do because the time want right.

She won’t get off minecraft because she now represents herself. She has reach, audience, imagination and no desire to use media in the literal ways her parents and older siblings did. I find it depressing that in school minecraft projects, teachers hold special in game powers and use it toward literal goals. They have missed the point and opportunity to learn so much about children.

Minecraft isn’t just a better game, it appeared at certain time when where a generation needed something to emancipated itself from the adult media panic about the evils of online.

Minecraft, if you like was a remediation of Woodstock for teens, it just uses different media which appeals to them, and is immediately accessible.  In a hyperbole whet kids have no power, Minecraft gave kids power, which is lot more than an escape from reality, it has taught them how to represent themselves and the real world using multi modal media.

It’s as authentic and important to her, and the innovation of lithography in printing was to baby boomers. The fact teachers and parents don’t see it like this yet they themselves use the internet to the same ends is because parents and kids find it hard to find a common language, which leads to so much frustration.

Parents have learned the language of Facebook, googling and cyber juvanoia, but not that of dialogic gaming. Mojang staff have no such handicap. They are more important media celebrities than “brangelina”. They are not representations of “us” but real people “we” can relate to as part of our productive systems.

When parent address this gap, their relationship with children improves (in my view). It gets worse when they don’t.  Sadly, clinicians tend to want to cure an addiction (myth) and ignore the reality that more people use media to self represent than to consume (which is where their assertions began in the nineties). Their views appear increasingly irrelevant in the future of media (more opinion).

And we know what people do when faced with that …. assist journalistic media panic to scare the reading public.

(Tapped on the train)

5 thoughts on “Minecrafts tipping point

  1. “I find it depressing that in school minecraft projects, teachers hold special in game powers and use it toward literal goals. They have missed the point and opportunity to learn so much about children.”
    Me too – why impose the restrictions and the endless frenzy to fit wretched outcomes? The kids will come up with outcomes we never dreamed of, if we just give them the chance to self-direct. Great post.

  2. “I find it depressing that in school minecraft projects, teachers hold special in game powers and use it toward literal goals. They have missed the point and opportunity to learn so much about children.”

    Dean, I am not sure how I feel about this comment.

    Is it my role as a teacher to learn about children, or is it my role as a teacher to provide opportunities for students to learn the skills they need to be successful in what ever future they choose?

    I don’t think they are mutually exclusive and the work I do is only improved when I know more about the students I am teaching. However, as a teacher who uses Minecraft in my classes, holding ‘special powers’ and utilising game mechanics to relate their learning to the real world, I feel that the work I do with students in Minecraft provides great learning experiences for them, in which they engage with the process and gain an understanding of whatever learning goals I have for that particular lesson/map.

    Yes, we get to work together on a level that without Minecraft would be much harder to reach but I still think there is a place for literal learning goals and games like Minecraft in the classroom and in our schools.

    The vast majority of feedback, and I ask for a lot from my students, is overwhelmingly positive, they enjoy learning in Minecraft over standard ‘textbook’ based learning. The engagement of students and application towards the tasks that are set still astound me.

    One of my projects in the latter half of this year has been a group of 20 disengaged students that hate Maths. I chose to set this whole course up in a virtual world, where students need to manage their time in class and in game, manage money in game effectively to get their houses and businesses up and running. I could not have had the levels of engagement and real applications of the Mathematics from basic money skills to complex measurement problems without utilising some pretty ‘special powers’ and Minecraft.

    Having spoken to students about your comment, and the projects I have run, both older and younger students, even those that play Minecraft outside of my classes, really value the time and effort I put in to giving them opportunities to learn in a different, more engaging way. They also are intrigued by the way I use game mechanics to help them learn and do not dislike the fact that I have ‘special powers’.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, really appreciated. To elaborate on special powers, its really a case of school (by their nature) holding a modernist suspicion that ‘new media’ is somehow demotic and unworthy, and that print remains the best way to educate future citizens. From a culture/media perspective, and indeed post-modern view of harnessing ‘consumer entrepreneurship’, I think something is lost when COTs games are reworked for Educational purposes in an era where kids are all about user-productivity and can represent themselves in ‘new media’ far more authentically than how they are conceived and then represented in ‘old media’.

      Having said that, I am sure that without special-powers, you would have achieved many things too. At the heart of my dislike of special-powers in games, is a believe that the media kids are routinely engaged in is about creativity, complexity and is evolutionary. Granted, moving kids towards specific goals, rooted in timetable sequencing is going to be more difficult, but in doing so, kids sell-off some choice, agency and enterprise.

      Clearly you know your students and your subject, and have set about amazing things with Minecraft which a text-book could never achieve. My point really is that schools are far more likely to buy Minecraft with Edu-powers, but not Minecraft regular, because of on-going suspicion about new media.

      Reflexive creativity is what enables human nature to change, where as converting a COTS game to education’s modernist sensibilities is a commercial (economic) arrangement. So yes, I do think many opportunities are lost in school, casualties of the curriculum, time or whatever – but essentially, the remediation of the game – results in an experience which is quite different in my view.

  3. What’s underlying it sounds like is an argument about educational approach. Pure discovery learning versus guided inquiry? All depends on which theories you’d support I suppose. I’d like to think that some educators wanting these ‘special’ or ‘edu’ MC powers are probably seeing themselves more as facilitators of learning rather than controllers, and they would probably lie within the social constructivist spectrum.

    • I am questioning the reason to have an augmented version of the game at all. Regardless of educational style/ideology, the addition of teacher-only power appear unwarranted and certainly without emperative, not least in social-constructivism I guess.

Comments are closed.