Minecraft: a community of practice.

So I’ve been having a great time in #massivelyminecraft with my boys and hubby. I really haven’t ever been excited about games – especially not the multiplayer, immersive, sword and pickaxe variety. I have been known to get competitive on Mario Kart, Wii Bowling and Lips but they’re probably the lamest games known to gamer-kind. Oh – and Tetris, yeah I dig lining up those little shapes.

So why minecraft and why now? Couple of obvious reasons.
1. Twitter. My PLN has gone a bit games mental in the last 12 months and it’s easy for me to get pulled along with the edu-trend tide. I tried to ‘gamify’ my classroom but felt in my heart that it didn’t work for my kids in the way gaming in edu should. I got frustrated by the focus on extrinsic motivators and it just felt a bit daggy. Good learning design can learn from good game design. Good game design doesn’t begin by deciding on badges and XP – it begins with fun. Finally, two people I admire greatly (Dean Groom and Jo Kay) have a big interest in Minecraft and learning.
2. I have two young sons – 7 and 10. They have been gaming most of their lives – mostly together, sometimes alone, sometimes with my husband and very occasionally with me. Their lives revolve around gaming and that’s no English teacher hyperbole. And if I don’t game with them I’m out of this world. Mostly I master their gaming language second-person. Sometimes I have no idea what they are talking about so I zone out. Not very responsible parenting!

So a couple of weeks ago I jumped into #massivelyminecraft to follow in the footsteps of my two mining boys. Since doing so I have learnt heaps from my boys, my husband and the insane community of miners led by Aunty JoKay 😉

Every morning my kids begin to prattle on about their latest missions into Nether or Skyland. The speak with passion (and volume) about their builds and inventory of diamonds and obsidian. They challenge each other to make houses out of pink wool or ice. They despair over their flooded mine and discuss the best strategy to fly to the square moon. Best part about this? I know what they’re talking about – I am of their community. We share a common language. Both boys have demonstrated to me first hand their impressive mastery of multiliteracies. I’ve witnessed them strengthening these literacies via immersive practice and proximal learning with expert miner JoKay and young expert novice miners.

And because I’m a teacher at heart I can’t help but wonder how this very authentic learning space can be used to transform education as we know it.

Thanks Jo and Dean. You guys continue to rock my world!

Here is the blog post about our ‘Cool 3000 Family’:

http://minecraft.jokaydia.com/2011/09/cool-family-3000/

Here’s Mr 7’s video he made:

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4 thoughts on “Minecraft: a community of practice.

  1. Amazing how Minecraft crosses generations and draws everyone into the world of dwarves and the “diggy, diggy hole”! Our current crisis is that Mr 11 found out about a school on the northern beaches that has its own Minecraft server… “Not happy, Mum!”

  2. Hey thanks for comment Deb! My boys were spewing when I told them you said that – what school has one? I’ll email them and ask if my students can use it too! I really want to have a go using it with my Year 10 class. Have some ideas about how playing it together can be impetus for writing. Mebbe.

  3. Great post Bianca! My kids are also enjoying Minecraft at the moment. I helped them set up a Hamachi server so they can play with their friends. We even have a “permission note” that kids give to their friends to explain Minecraft to parents 😉

    I go in there (they’ve called it Redland – they all have red hair) now and then and it is amazing to see what they have built. At first, I was trying to “control” it – I’m so anal when it comes to building so they sent me to another island to build my own house 😉 – it was only once I let go of the ‘control’ that magic happened. They built a “TV room” where you go into a small room that has glass windows through to a “set”. Whoever is in the TV room is watching the “actors” on the set perform. It’s very funny to watch.

    I think it’s time they created a video like your Mr7 did. What did he use to make it?

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