Now when I have started to melt what happened yesterday I thought I should write down the thoughts. So many of my line colleagues has tried but not reached their hotspot. What did I do that was different?
I refuse to think it was the Minecraft because half of the class is not even interested in the game. Or at last, not usually interested but if a teacher tells you to play, then you play. I start to think it was because I made it simple. KISS
When I've talked, or more exactly, tried to talk with my colleagues they just shake their heads and compare my lessons with kindergarten. If I should be a real teacher I should forbid games (dot) (end) (stop talking).
And I'm doing the opposite, I allow them to play.
And I allow them to play a game that simple everyone can play it.
With a low learning curve, everyone can do it.
Some more open minded colleagues has told me that's easy for me, because I have the knowledge.
Sorry, they are all wrong.
Knowledge of the game, nah... more of getting experience of the game. Hey! My daughter, AquaVera 6yo, gives me tips every now and then how to play Minecraft.
Knowledge - wrong.
Know how - wrong.
No, what I'm doing is more scary than that.
It's spelled: D-A-R-E
I know where we're going, I have the policy documents, I have my goals as with every subject or method as you usually have. The method changes; it took a while before I had courage to let go of control, I don't have to master the method (Minecraft) as long as I have control of everything else.
And the benefits are huge!
I meet students at their own stadium and catch their interest. Proof that I got yesterday, everyone stopped what they were doing and started to participate in the learning.
And they realized:
- Learning is fun.
- Learning is multiplayer.
When we went through what they had learned at the end of the day, they told me not exactly, but close enough.
- This was a fun way of learning.
- You tricked us to learn.
- Now I finally understand the WHILE loop.
- I have never before been this active!
- I have had fun!
- It was easy.
- "I like this way of construct code better (design view)", the guy who said that has ADD (abbreviation for Attention Deficit Disorder). Finally he understood how to make code and he could also keep up with the others instead of always being the last (which is bad for self-esteem).
- Another one, with dysphasia (and probably design difficulties) said: "I could check my code by testing all the time". He was learning while testing and swore long chants every time he lost control of the turtle, but give up? not an option!
They, students of today, learn in an opposite way than we are used to. Face the fact, you should not teach yourself, it is today's youth (the millenium kids) who is your target audience. You have to change your didactics to fit them.
And yes, CAD or Blender gets better graphics than Minecraft, but you have to catch them (and their interest) before they can learn the more advanced stuff. Don't make it harder than it needs to be!
The key words:
Keep It Simple Stupid
D A R E !