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Gaming in education | An Enabling e-Learning webinar and discussion

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Started by Tessa Gray 05 Nov 2013 11:40am () Replies (19)

More and more teachers in the VLN are interested potential of using Minecraft in the classroom. The idea of harnessing games in the classroom for both motivation/engagement as well as effective learning experiences (curriculum driven) - is not new.  

imageBig picture ideas: 


Ewan McIntosh has often blogged about the importance of ‘fun’ in learning as well as the potential of games to enhance creative writing. In terms of online gaming, Lisa Galarneau has said,

“People are playing games with other people, which means they have to develop skills around co-operation, communication, working with others…all kinds of things like being patient, having a sense of humour, helpful attitude etc are becoming increasingly important.” Gaming in Education.



In A change in perspective, Diana Oblinger makes reference to consumers manipulating what they watch and when through choice and control (think MySky). As a result of technologies, users, including our students have much more influence over self-service, self-publishing, self-control, personlising learning, remixing and multi-tasking. Diana asks, “If the thirty-second ad is losing its power, where does that put us?” [as teachers].

More recently a Herald article, Booming NZ game industry faces skills shortage (30 Oct, 2013) highlighted how creating computer games is a huge money-making spin for New Zealand, yet this is hampered by a shortage of NZ school graduates (The world needs programmers).


  • What does this mean for teachers when we design authentic learning experiences for our students?
  • What else can gaming ‘do’ for our students?
  • What are your thoughts about gaming in the classroom?


Hamish Chalmers about his interests in gaming research and shares some experiences with impact projects in the classroom in this Gaming in education webinar recording from 13 Nov, 2013. 



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  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 13 Mar 2015 11:53am ()

    Using Minecraft in the classroom


    Here's a great article, Create fun, interactive classroom projects with Minecraft  on the virtues of using Minecraft in the classroom where students can:

    • Collaborate and communicate with their peers
    • Self-direct their learning in a games-based environment
    • Use computational thinking to build functioning worlds in Minecraft

    This short article shares contexts as well as practical management ideas when integrating Minecraft into learning opportunities. Any to add of your own?

  • Heather Harper (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 2:43pm ()

    Do we need to "teach" Minecraft? Thought Provoking.

    Last year I started a group session of Minecraft during one of our break times during the school day. This happened through pressure from a couple of individual students. I was very hesitant at first,as I had a negative/uninformed view of gaming but they finally convinced me.

    Word spread... I tried to sit down and do tutorials about Minecraft in the holidays, but I'm sorry, I don't have a gamers brain and it really was over my head. (Do I really need to be able to understand how to play the game?) I really wanted these students to have the opportunity to get involved in something during their break times, as interestingly alot of the keen students were the students who tended to be loners, slightly social misfits, quiet and introverted...and yes obsessive.

    These students have blown me away with the problem solving, collaboration, tech savvy, creative abiity and the way they appreciate others ability and skills. The room is loud and active. Every time they come in I have a task for them to build and when they complete that, they take a photo on the ipad for me to either print or just have a copy of. I know that the social interaction that is happenng, has to be beneficial, even if, when they explain to me what they are doing still goes over my head.

    I wanted to see what a small group could come up with so I have them creating a virtual tour of the school....listening to the conversations..."shall we make the rooms 6 by 6?"..."No that might be too small to fit in "... maths perspectives, design, trying and failing so trying another way... great life skills. This will probably take them all year...

    The virtual school caught fire the other day so I had 4 boys racing in after school "Miss, miss the school is on fire can we try to fix? We've got Chase to help us as he's an expert..." The school was slowly getting filled with water... but ten minutes later it looked like the libary was flooded, the fire out and the water started to drain. " well " said one student. "We will just have to build it up again next week and make sure we don't test those fire alarms again" These guys rock. I think of the Key Competencies, these guys rock them.

    Do we need to teach minecraft??  Nah!  Digital Citizenship  Yes.

    How can we use Minecraft to enhance students learning?  Well....


  • Sandie Haddock (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 2:34pm ()

    guess what just happened...

    I was watching the educade Minecraft clip and it didn't take long for three very interested younger members of the family to wander over and surround the iPad.  

    All of them use it in a variety of different ways, I have also dabbled however didn't really know too much about it.  The 13 yr old son - confident with the programme walked off saying there is sooo much more to understand as well, it also gave him some inspiration and possibilities to add to his existing creations.  The 8 yr old was - oh that's what an anvil is used for and also how to make charcoal and the 11 yr old daughter is keen to make a hoe, she has played for two years in a very collaborative space yet had never asked anyone how or why she would need one, interesting.

    experience in the environment is foremost, I'm keen to  go and have a go at building my first pick axe!  I'd hate to think I had to go through hours of watching, listening, reading etc before I would have the chance 

    we often don't know what we don't know - I certainly had no idea how to build tools, not that I have spent as many hours as the children engaged in Minecraft or asked the right questions.

    I've loved overhearing conversations with children when they have joined games, the collaborative talk blows you away.  at home when the can put it up on the tv screen using Apple TV to. Either share their creations or play against each other(Total recreational)

    the eldest needed multi link blocks to build a soma cube this morning.  Unfortunately our motorhome doesn't have any of these, I went on the scout for any dice I could find - next thing problem solved create it in Minecraft.  

    learning is a spiral staircase - it is all about which step you start on.

    ps they have just opened other Minecraft video clips on another iPad- I will now have to use some clever tactics to alter their thought patterns to get them back on track with their correspondence bookwork - or will I?

  • Ross Hampton (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 1:32pm ()

    Yes, it's thinking we need to "teach" everything which is holding our students back.... Always worth revisiting http://youtu.be/y3jYVe1RGaU and this is also relevant... http://www.3news.co.nz/Students-mine-history-for-Anzac-anniversary/tabid/412/articleID/339897/Default.aspx. :-)

  • Monika Kern (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 1:31pm ()

    This is an interesting question, Tessa - do we limit our students if we do or don't allow them to explore Minecraft in a structured or an unstructured way?

    I know that I learn best within a flexible structure, so I tend to replicate this in the way I teach. The Minecraft sessions I have run last year were a mixture of structure and free exploration, and that worked for our purposes. I would love to hear what others think!

    • Lesson 1: Set up, customise your settings, start exploring. Digital Citizenship, Sustainability

    • Lesson 2: Building Activities (choice from a long list or your own)

    • Lesson 3: Recreate a real object (choice)

    • Lesson 4: How can we use Minecraft to show our learning to our teachers?

    • Lesson 5: Free Choice

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 14 Apr 2014 12:17pm ()

    Here's a lesson plan for using Minecraft in the classroom from Educade.org (thanks Claire Amos for Twitter link). 

    This lesson plan is meant as the first lesson when using MinecraftEdu. It will help you get your students up and running in Minecraft, navigating the world, building their own creations, and collaborating with each other to explore and solve puzzles. Read more in this link >>>

    Mind due, some of the best learning I've seen - is from students as young as 5yrs old, teaching themselves and each other in collaborative Minecraft spaces.

    What do you think, do we need to 'teach' Minecraft?

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 26 Nov 2013 7:36am ()

    In the recent gaming webinar Karen shared the concept of failing up, where failure is used to build progress. 

    Here is another reference to using the failure component of gaming in education from the Teach Thought blog.

    How To Help Your Students Embrace Failure Through Game-Based Learning. "One way of overcoming these fears, and thus helping students to learn from their failures, is to develop an understanding for how to actually use games in the classroom, and how to take advantage of the failure process that they rely on."

  • Catriona Pene (View all users posts) 25 Nov 2013 2:02pm ()

    Minecraft maths map.

    Over on the VPLD community Justin Hickey has shared a Minecraft map made by a year 8 student from Awahono School.

    Each level of questions ties in with Number Knowledge Stages so could therefore be used as an assessment tool.

  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2013 11:20pm ()

    Hi again, now that I am alerted to Gaming (using the wonderful idea of Eric Frangenheim RAS alerted - Reticular Activating System) I am finding gaming links everywhere... I think this is well worth adding bringing yet another view to adding gaming to your programme.

    Roll your dice and move your mice 


  • Anne Kenneally  (View all users posts) 21 Nov 2013 10:49pm ()

    I saw this link on Twitter tonight and thought it was well worthwhile adding in here!

    The future of gaming by Steve Wheeler

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