Colin's Sandbox

Where to go from here?

by on Apr.29, 2013, under #diffimooc

I just finished up my project describing assisting others in implementing Minecraft in the classroom for about the 10th time.  Due to some of my core principles I started quite late on the write up of this project, detailing my role in an ongoing collaboration that I am a part of along with Anne, Dr. McMillan, and two teachers in the Juneau School District: #diffimooc’s own Nathan Adams, and more recently another middle school digital media teacher.

I started out in my usual fashion, writing down quick blurb after blurb in what may be described in outline fashion that I move around and flesh out later.  I was bumping into problems trying to describe the mentoring aspect of the project.  To me I simply responded to a bunch of questions in email and IM, made some videos, and just in general tried to make sense out of new stuff for the other group members.  Some days (and nights) I’d take half a mind to go on a tangent, learning quite a bit about an interesting aspect of the Minecraft ecosystem and then I’d try to write it up to benefit the others.

There, done, and in a lot less time than I thought it should take!  Well, not so fast, you have to account for standards, for assessment, for some specifics on how you would differentiate instruction for your collaboration partners.  It’s also really hard to separate the methods you used for teaching others about Minecraft from the methods used for general group communication as they take the same form.  To make matters harder, due to the breadth of the group’s work and the uniqueness of the collaboration’s circumstances, I was asked – why not consider make this part of a larger study?  I changed the format around a few times, bouncing from Google Docs to Google Sites to allow for a more flexible layout.  As I starting getting all of those random thoughts down however  I started getting the realization that writing from that vantage point of the coach separated me from the rest of the group and only told one portion of what I hope will be considered a successful endeavor.  To get the whole story, we would have to hear much more about the actual classroom experience.  I frantically sent out some requests to some of the others in my group, late for the requirements of the class to be sure but I would still like to combine our knowledge gained in this project in one place that I can point to and say: “we did that”, not so much “I did that”.  If we are interested and can find the gumption and resources to continuing this effort in the future, we can craft this effort instead as a action research study. “We did that” then becomes “we’re doing this”.

The document still feels a long way from done however.  IF it’s to be part the record of a larger study involving more collaboration partners, I feel we really need to do a more thorough job reviewing the literature and reporting on how our experiences fit within those findings.  We should make an effort to show how we find teachers to work with that will be a good fit.

As for the presentation, I intend to do a screencast showing Minecraft being used to build something: I will be narrating a brief scenario where a teacher presents a problem to the class and helps the class come up with answers with the use of Minecraft.

I’ll likely be elaborating on some of these topics in greater detail over the next couple days as I work through the screencast.

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