Monday, April 30, 2012

Goals and server safety

More than anything else this year, I am coming to realize that at one point I did not know many of the things I take for granted today.  Speaking English, for example, or being able to navigate a video game world.  Last week I found yet another skill that must be taught and learned: setting realistic and meaningful goals.  Since the first foray into survival mode had been fairly aimless and confused I thought it would be good for the students think before getting in game about what they hoped to accomplish in their 45 minutes that day. They were to write down three goals in their journals before logging into the server, and at the end of the day they were to look at their goals again and see whether or not they had accomplished what they hoped. Most of the goals involved building a house, constructing weapons to fight zombies, or exploring the world. Maybe I am being picky, but I was hoping for more specific goals. The goals they came up with were very vague, and easy to accomplish. But the more I consider it now, the happier I am with the goals they set. Sure, they weren't specific, attainable, short-term goals, however, they did give the students a sense of self-direction. One goal that stood out to me was to have unrestricted exploration. This is the way I run things already in survival mode with the students, but it is a good reminder to me to keep things that way and let the students be the creators. My conclusion from last week is that if I want students to accomplish a specific goal, I shouldn't set that expectation unless I give them that goal and the means to accomplish it. Maybe this week I will do the goals assignment again, only this time I will supply one goal while the students come up with the other two. Ooh, maybe I could give each of them a different goal...a sort of secret mission...they could get into that. We'll have to see.

My main takeaway from the architecture group was that I need to find a new location for our server computer. Half an hour into our time someone accidentally unplugged the server's power strip (this is in a different room from where we actually played the game). Thus 30 minutes of coordinated lighthouse construction was lost. So the server will have to move to a safer location. But beyond that, I'm concluding that the current architecture project is too big of an endeavor for what we can do the rest of this school year. I'm going to let them finish the lighthouses they have been working on, but after that I decide what sort of direction to take the group. Maybe they would be more into building a model of something they know, like our building, instead of a lighthouse they have never seen or heard of before.  Any ideas on other sorts of projects that can be done in Minecraft?

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