There’s one event that is the highlight for me on the calendar. Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education. There isn’t a conference in the actual or virtual world where you can see and interact with such a diverse group of educators and designers in my view. There are always things to uncover that kick you out of your chair. This year will be no exception – with demonstrations, game-tours, playgrounds, social events and plenty of well researched papers presented from people who have been developing immersive, blended learning for a very long time. Some projects are well funded and others run off the smell of an oily rag – but if you are remotely interested in game based learning, virtual worlds – or are working in any area of Educational Technology, the quality of the ideas, research and innovation will keep you awake for 48 hours.
We are delighted to say that the kids of #massivelyminecraft are not only keynoting, but have constructed an entire world and curriculum to demonstrate to adults what game based learning should look like. This isn’t kids placing blocks to pass time, these are kids who have developed everything from the back-end server to negotiating how their game fits into their school system (not just a school, that would be too easy) – and let’s not forget these are kids who are working together remotely in Massively Minecraft, where we don’t have lessons. There’s no teacher-scripting of what to say, everything is their idea, their creation. We could not be more proud of their achievement – and to be quite frank, they put plenty of other well funded and perhaps more high profile educational efforts into perspective and they did it on weekends and after school, not because they we’re paid.
But I would say that, I’m biased. However I am yet to see anyone else pull off such an achievement, no matter how many educational technology conferences they’ve been to or spoken at. And that to us is the point. Not only do they learn, but they have a deep understanding of how learning works, and the technical skill to build it. So don’t expect a cute demonstration, these kids are every bit as talented and innovative as anyone else at the conference. From zero to keynote in 10 months.
It will be a great weekend for them, not least as they’ll be hanging out with the people that have pioneered these things and I’m sure that they’ll learn a whole heap of new tricks. Anyone who’s using Virtual Worlds or Games should attend VWBPE – as this for me is the mecca for new ideas and thinking.
http://vwbpe12.vwbpe.org/v12_presentation.php?id=335 is our presentation – check the website for the rest. It’s all free and you can be sure Captain Obvious won’t show up … FTW.