19 september 2015

You are doing it wrong dad!

Doing it wrong?
According to who?
I still don't now what she - AquaVera - meant by that. Or, is it possible that learning can't be fun??

As I want to encourage her to read more I'd set up some tasks, a school, in our Minecraft world. Her teacher want the kids to practice reading for 15 min a day. So I told her the great news: "I've set up some reading exercises for you!"

And she started to scream: 
"Noooo! It's Saturday!!! I don't want to do homework!"

"OK", I told her, "if you change your mind later we can start Minecraft"
  1. "Minecraft!? wait! I'm coming!!"
  2. "You have to join me! Come! With YOUR computer dad...
But she did also let me know, I'm doing it wrong! And wrong, I have another approach to the problem as the teacher has ...but as she didn't want to hurt my feelings she tried. 

(Kalle (dad) is building a school)

But how to tell dad, the words were too long...?
She wanted to show me, rather than just tell me, what the problem was. 

"You see dad, we started with 2-letter words, then we continued with 3-letter words and now we try to learn 4-letter words!"

So I had to read the sentence, she corrected me and we discussed it in three (3) languages as she tend to start talk English in Minecraft. (She rehearse to be able to join Wizard Keen in a WonderQuest episode).

Then she started to do the reading exercises. "Kaksi lehmää" (two cows) and she found the right (cow) eggs. We continued to the sauna, kitchen and bedroom. She was confused. Every single room was empty, only signs on the wall.

We went out again, outside the room. Spelled S-A-U-N-A and entered the room with new courage: she understood the signs described what to build inside the sauna.

Benches wasn't a problem but the heater, or more exactly, the way she built the heater. Lava and wooden floor ain't a good solution, so she had to fill the room with water... When she had to build the shower, she went out to a test area just to be sure nothing more unwelcome should happen. I think her shower is brilliant, it's working in her fantasy and she has also both warm and cold water. And even if you don't have water you still need the edges.

By practice reading there's a lot of unintentional learning that occurs: 
  • lava = fire, you must be careful with fire
  • water extinguishes fire
  • experience changes the method
  • languages
  • math
So I started to wonder: 
What exactly is she learning?

Or even more interesting:
What does she feel she might be learning?
Is she aware of the learning process?

WHAT do you learn, WHEN do you do it and WHY do you learn? Big questions, but interesting ones.

I learn to read, when I practice, discuss and build. I learn because its fun and I can build it."

And I asked myself the same question: 
"I learn Finnish words, how they are pronounced and spelled. I learn when we are discussing and I learn because it is fun."

But again: How could this be wrong????
Is there really only one right way to learn???

Can't learning be fun???

17 september 2015

The reading homework

AquaVera has started first grade and they have homework every single day. In addition to mathematics and spelling, they must also practice reading for at least 15 minutes.

But as the language they learn is Finnish (which I struggle with) my wife (AquaVera's mother) does that part. Yesterday I started to thought how I could help, relieve my wife and give my daughter another way to practice.

How can we benefit from our gaming interest?

First I tried this and failed:

  • Lots of text in one sign was too hard.
  • One word at one sign didn't make sense, she didn't put together the words into sentences.

Instead, I started to make those animal pens. The keyword with both uppercase and lowercase letters and in her (second) mother tongue Finnish.

So what happened?

She began to spell out the word, pronounced each letter and put together words. The reward attracted, it was something as simple as put out the right block in the animal pen.

Suddenly she had cracked the code:
"L-A-M-M-A-S! Lammas! Det är ett får! It's a sheep dad!"

With traditional methods she was learning one (1) language, with game based learning she connected three (3) languages! The Power of Minecraft...

8 september 2015

Minecraft Math

My very awesome colleague Edward starts to be a really splendid MinecraftEDU teacher! He really thinks out of the box and for example one of the first thing the students should build was a hexagon. 

And I thought for myself: 
How on earth will they succeed with that and at the same time learn Pythagorean theorem?

I had not had to worry about.
They wasn't supposed to build the line but finding the correct coordinates. When find the right spot put a sign with the groups name on it. At each hexagon corner each group started to build their own math area.

As you rarely starts at the coordinate (0,0) the first thing you had to do was to find origin. The class did chose themselves to each side (of the hexagon) would have the distance 100 and therefor the height should be approx 87 blocks.

Away you (they) go to find the location...

Out of the box thinking
Coordinates, not lines of blocks! 
Why havn't I thought of that??

One other thing that's truly amazing and also serves as a good example of minecraft tend to be cross curriculum
We're not only learning geometry (what's this course is usually is about) but also the coordinate system (the next math course), programming (python) and a foreign language (English (vocabulary))

He made the class to navigate where to execute python online! Copy-paste this code:

It's a formula for the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle with cathetus x and y, the distance between the two points (x_1,y_1) and (x_2,y_2).

Also, he and the class, also found this awesome tool Mineconics where you can draw geometry figures with an online tool and later build the same inside Minecraft, like lines, rectangles and circles.