TTT #293 Exploring Minecraft with Joel Levin, Chad Sansing, Liam O’Donnell, Denise Colby, and Diana Maliszewski 4.18.12

This episode of +Teachers Teaching Teachers was recorded in Minecraft. We were Livecasting from +Joel Levin‘s / @MinecraftTeachr ‘s server with +Liam O’Donnell / @liamodonnell , Chad Sansing / @chadsansing , +Diana Maliszewski / @MzMollyTL , and +Denise Colby / @Niecsa .

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Watch or listen as newbies +Paul Allison / @paulallison and a colleague of his, James Joseph learn first-hand what’s so engaging about Minecraft!

Consider this episode of TTT to be an “in-world” follow-up to these TTT episodes: https://edtechtalk.net/node/5001 and https://edtechtalk.net/node/4980 And also 21st Century Learning’s recent interview with Joel Levin: https://edtechtalk.net/ett21_166

This was lots of fun and the perspectives shared by these Minecraft teachers about their students’ lives in the game both profound in themselves, and easy to transfer to any classroom or learning situation.

Some ways to follow up:

Teachers Teaching Teachers #255 Exploring Minecraft w/ Jo Kay, Dean Groom, Bronwyn Stuckey, Joel Levin, and Chad Sansing 7.13.11

If you dig Minecraft (or wonder why other teachers–and their students–do) you’ll enjoy this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, recorded earlier this summer. We were joined by a few teachers who have recently launched Massively Minecraft:

The purpose of this community project is to trial the use of the game Minecraft (http://www.minecraft.net) in schools as part of voluntary student activity. The community will engage in exploration and research, not to decide or direct any particular application of the game but, to understand where students might take it and how they and their teachers visualise possibilities for it use within the curriculum. This ethnographic approach relies on you, as the professional in the school, to observe and reflect on student imagination, initiative, interaction, engagement and learning.

The facilitators of this site, Jo Kay, Dean Groom, and Dr Bronwyn Stuckey share their thoughts, questions, and stories about Minecraft on this podcast.

The Minecraft Teacher, Joel Levin and Chad Sansing (who had been with us for an earlier show about Minecraft) joined the conversation as well.

Check out Joel’s videos on YouTube. Also, Ed Tech Crew did a great interview with Joel and Dean as well.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #248 – Gaming Questions from Texas, Minecraft, and the “2011 Horizon Report K12 Edition” – 5.25.11

One of the more inspiring threads of our collective inquiry on Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT) has been to explore how to bring gaming into our classrooms. (See some of our shows on gaming from the past 18 months.) With this episode,  we add to that list of shows.

This episode of TTT began with a study group on gaming that teachers Janelle Quintans Bence and Colleen Graveskull have been involved with in the North Star Writing Project (Texas). We first met Janelle in July 2007 in the National Writing Project’s Tech Matters workshops.

Janelle and her colleagues in Texas are filled with questions as they plan to bring gaming into their classrooms this fall. She sent me some of them. What better way to jump back into gaming than with a bunch of questions — the kind of questions teachers often ask when they consider adding games to their classes.

Here are the questions we’ve been brainstorming in our study group on gaming:

  1. How did you all begin including gaming curriculum in your classrooms?
  2. What are some of your biggest successes? Challenges?
  3. How much game playing goes on in your classroom? Do students only play in social action games? What does that conversation look like? What norms are set prior to this?
  4. I’m thinking about using the games students play on a regular basis as media for students to deconstruct and analyze in terms of influencing identity. Should I be playing all these games to get a better idea? Or will observing the students play suffice? What does a teacher do if he or she is not good at playing those video games?
  5. Designing games really requires deep content knowledge. How much experience with game design did you have prior to letting the students explore that avenue?
  6. Could you tell us about Scratch? What are the benefits of this program as compared to Game Star Mechanic?
  7. What kind of evaluation do you use around gaming? 
  8. Is it all informal discourse based assessment, or do you do something more formal? 
  9. Has your game playing been limited to computer games or have you also used standalone consuls? 
  10. How much time did you have to dedicate to help students understand how to utilize the game design tool before they began designing? Do you feel that this time has been detrimental to fulfilling your ability to satisfy state standards?

Joining us on this podcast to help us to explore these questions is Samantha Adams, the Director of Communications, at the New Media Consortium (NMC).  Samantha is one of the writers of of the recently released Horizon Report: 2011 K12 Edition, which has a section on gaming:

Game-based learning has gained considerable traction since 2003, when James Gee began to describe the impact of game play on cognitive development. Since then, research and interest in the potential of gaming on learning has exploded, as has the diversity of games themselves, with the emergence of serious games as a genre, the proliferation of gaming platforms, and the evolution of games on mobile devices. Developers and researchers are working in every area of game-based learning, including games that are goal-oriented; social game environments; non-digital games that are easy to construct and play; games developed expressly for education; and commercial games that lend themselves to refining team and group skills. Role-playing, collaborative problem solving, and other forms of simulated experiences are recognized for having broad applicability across a wide range of disciplines.

As the lead writer at the NMC, Samantha Adams was deeply involved in the research and writing of the report. We can’t wait to see what she has to say about gaming and the other items in the report: Cloud Computing, Mobiles, Open Content, Learning Analytics, Personal Learning Environments.

Given the questions coming form the North Star Writing Project’s study group on gaming, we also invited Chad Sansing, from the Central Virginia Writing Project. This June, at ISTE’s Unplugged, Chad plans to “take a closer look at student writing and multi-media compositions created in response to game-based learning on Digital Is, the National Writing Project’s new media archive and initiative.”

And that’s not all! Fortunately, we were smart enough to ask Chad who else he thought we might invite. Thanks to his connections, Janelle and her colleagues (and all of our listeners) get to hear about gaming from these three educators as well:

  • Joel Levin, a computer teacher at Manhattan’s Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School. Joel decided to start using the game Minecraft to teach an entire unit to his first- and second-grade students recently. (See an with Joel, “Educational building blocks: how Minecraft is used in classrooms,” by Andrew Webster | Published about a month ago in ars technica.)

  • Melanie McBride, who also recommended…

    …my partner, children’s author and elementary teacher, Liam O’Donnell for this episode. He’s currently using Minecraft with a spec ed class and taking an interesting approach (I’m biased of course). In addition to his experience as a teacher, he’s been writing and advocating for games based learning for a very long time. As well he’s written extensively about reluctant readers, boys and learning and many of his graphic novels are aimed at those readers – high action, lower vocab.http://liamodonnell.com

    As for myself: I’m currently on a leave of absence from high school teaching to write my book and research *situated* informal learning (the out of school kind) of gaming and virtual worlds. While I still locate myself peripherally to the games based learning in schools/education, I quite intentionally chose to focus on “informal” and “situated” learning contexts rather than school examples.  We’re studying Minecraft for use with early childhood educators (post secondary) with small children. http://edgelab.ryerson.ca/2011/05/19/tinkering-with-minecraft-learning-from-the-edge/

  • Liam O’Donnell is on this podcast as well. Liam sent along this link:

    “Here’s a post about my first week using Minecraft with my kids. It’ll give you a sense of my teaching style and philosophy. http://liamodonnell.com/feedingchange/2011/05/messy-learning-with-minecraft/

    For me, it was the perfect vehicle to build the literacy skills of seven grade 5 and 6 students who come to me for reading and writing support three days a week. For these students, motivation to read and write is a big challenge. Previously, we had done a writing unit around their Nintendo DSi’s, specifically Pokemon, where they had drawn maps of the game areas, profiled their favourite Pokemon and written strategy guides for specific Pokemon fights.  I knew they loved video games and after screening a few Minecraft videos on youtube, they were totally eager to play.

We think you’ll find this to be a provocative podcast!  Janelle and her colleagues in Texas probably got some questions answered, and maybe they were inspired to ask a few new ones. Maybe you will be too!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #244 Juan Rubio and David Gagnon on Geo-locative Gaming, the ARIS Project. Also: Why Games? 4.20.11

We talked about games and new literacies on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.

jrubioJuan Rubio from Global Kids’ Online Leadership Program joined us to talk about a project he is doing with students after school in the NYC Public Libraries to develop “a geo location based game
using mobile technology to explore local history and global issues with
middle school students from the Bronx.” davidgagnon

Also David Gagnon, who had finished an ARIS Global Game Jam, joined us. David is an instructional designer with the ENGAGE program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he consults with faculty
about innovative teaching practices that leverage emerging media and an active member of the Games, Learning and Society Research community where he directs the mobile learning team and ARIS Project

It was inspiring! We hope enjoy the conversation.

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Teachers Teaching Teachers #219 -Gaming to learn about the business of the environment – 9.22.10

More gaming, more environment on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers.

We invited Andy Rosenbloom (plus a teacher from New Jersey who has used
Spill! in his classroom last Spring) and Tim Baker back onto the show to continue our conversations about gaming and the environment that started this summer with A Real Team Challenge: Spill! TTT 211 – 07.28.10.  This summer Andy Rosenbloom, Program Director for the Virtual Team Challenge: Spill! invited us to join Spill!:

Even though you’re busy this summer with countless poolside BBQs, it’s never too early to plan ahead for Fall semester curriculum. The Virtual Team Challenge is an entirely FREE online, multiplayer business simulation that takes place in the animated 3D world of New City. The team objective in the simulation is to help the mayor stage the most efficient oil spill recovery effort. Top-performing teams are eligible for prizes for themselves, their teachers, and local charities! Virtual Team Challenge will run this Fall from October 12 – November 24. See our article in The New York Times to read about one NJ teacher’s success with the program. Virtual Team Challenge comes complete with lesson plans and in-class exercises which form a curriculum that highlights general business acumen, business ethics, negotiation skills, decision-making processes and accounting while placing a special emphasis on important life/career skills such as teamwork, communication, professionalism and research methods.

We were also joined by Tim Baker, a graduate student who Susan Ettenheim
met this summer at a Scratch workshop at MIT. (Listen to: Lots of overlapping pieces: Laura Fay and Tim Baker on using Scratch in middle school – TTT #215 – 08.25.10) Tim Baker came to MIT from Orono, Maine with his project Sim Stream. University of Maine Undergraduate researchers are developing a grades 6-8 virtual, educational system that poses environmental issues for students to explore in their own ecological system, drawing from diverse areas of study. By learning to use scientific observations, analyze data, and draw inferences in formulating decisions and policies, students develop an appreciation and understanding for natural resources, human-non-human inter-dependencies and the need for civic responsibility.

We invite you to join this ongoing conversation by listening to this podcast.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #217 Low floors, high ceilings, wide walls: Using Scratch and learning about the BP Oil Spill 9.08.10

More about Scratch! More about gaming. More about social networking. Youth Voices. Voices on the Gulf. And we invited a couple of students too!

This was our fall semester kick off.

On this episode, you’ll hear:

  • Paul Allison, Susan Ettenheim, and Chris Sloan
  • Stacey Ferguson, 5th grade teacher in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi
  • Rafi Santos, graduate student at Indiana University
  • Michael, a senior at Chris Sloan’s school, Judge Memorial High School
  • Laura Fay, 8th grade reading and Scratch teacher at Fisher Middle School in Ewing, New Jersey
  • Tim Kong, a teacher who uses Scratch with his 10-year olds in New Zealand
  • Kylie Peppler, an Assistant Professor in the Learning Sciences Program at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Kylie Peppler is an Assistant Professor in the Learning Sciences Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. As an artist by training, Peppler engages in research that focuses on the intersection of the the arts, media, and new technologies. A Dissertation-Year Fellowship from the Spencer Foundation as well as a UC Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship supported her early work in these areas. Peppler has published numerous journal articles that will or have appeared in E-Learning, Learning, Media and Technology, Teachers College Record, and The Cambridge Journal of Education on the arts, new media, and learning. She also has a recent book titled, The Computer Clubhouse: Constructionism and Creativity in Youth Communities (Teachers College Press, 2009). Peppler is currently a co-PI on two National Science Foundation funded studies on creativity in youth communities as well as a PI on a grant to study the development of systems thinking dispositions through the design of digital arts projects funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #211 – A Real Team Challenge: Spill! 07.28.10

This summer, we could feel the energy growing around teachers building curriculum about the BP oil spill. This episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers one example. This conversation is part of our ongoing series of podcasts focused on collecting stories, ideas, curriculum, connections, and resources that will help us teach about the Gulf oil spill this fall. Our guests include:

Even though you’re busy this summer with countless poolside BBQs, it’s never too early to plan ahead for Fall semester curriculum.The Virtual Team Challenge is an entirely FREE online, multiplayer business simulation that takes place in the animated 3D world of New City. The team objective in the simulation is to help the mayor stage the most efficient oil spill recovery effort. Top-performing teams are eligible for prizes for themselves, their teachers, and local charities! Virtual Team Challenge will run this Fall from October 12 – November 24. See our article in The New York Times to read about one NJ teacher’s success with the program. Virtual Team Challenge comes complete with lesson plans and in-class exercises which form a curriculum that highlights general business acumen, business ethics, negotiation skills, decision-making processes and accounting while placing a special emphasis on important life/career skills such as teamwork, communication, professionalism and research methods. Register now at www.virtualteamchallenge.com.

  • Teachers from the Gulf join us as well. Even though on this show we feature teachers and resources from "elsewhere," it is always a welcomed moment when we can hear from our new friends from along the Gulf Coast.
  • Oh, if you listen to the end, you’ll catch Bill Fitzgerald who had just put up Voices on the Gulf hours before this webcast.

If you haven’t joined us at Voices on the Gulf and at Youth Voices, please consider joining now. These are the best ways for keeping up with the work of this community of teachers represented on this podcast this fall.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #202- The 3R’s of Gaming: Playing, Modding, and Designing – 05.26.10

On this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers, we learned more about playing, modifying, and designing games. press-villagevoice.png

One of our guests was Scott Price, a game developer or producer at Gamestar Mechanic. A few of us in the New York City Writing Project, especially Susan Ettenheim and Shantanu Saha — both of whom are on this podcast — have been using a beta version of Gamestar Mechanic this spring with their students.

Students or as they are know inside of this game, “Mechanics" can do a bunch of fun and interesting things with Gamestar Mechanic, and most of them fall into three categories:

Quest
You’ll start the game playing the Gamestar Mechanic Quest. You’ll start out as a new arrival in Factory 7. Along the way, you will play games, fix broken games and even design games of your own. As you complete challenges, you’ll collect “sprites”: avatars, enemies, blocks and other tools that serve as the building blocks for making games.
Workshop
In the workshop, you can use the sprites you’ve earned to build your own games. You can edit and change games you have created, add content that tells the “story” behind your game and, of course, play the games you’ve made.
Game Alley
If you’ve created an awesome game, you can publish it to Game Alley. In Game Alley, mechanics can play games created by other users and share the games they have created. You can review and comment on other mechanics’ games to let them know how much their games rock or what they can do to make them better.

 

On this episode of TTT, we were also priviledged to have a 6 grade teacher who has been using Gamestar Mechanic as well as other gaming platforms extensively with his students, Al Doyle.

Al is the “Sports for the Mind” domain teacher at Quest 2 Learn, a new public school in New York City “where students learn to see the world as composed of many different kinds of systems. It is a place to play, invent, grow, and explore.”

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Al Doyle, a native of Brooklyn, has interests ranging from art and animation to set design, digital imaging and most recently, game design. He was the producer and lead animator for the Salvadori Foundation’s Art of Construction, a web site designed to teach basic architecture and engineering to middle school students. For more than twenty years, he has taught computer graphics and multimedia at leading independent New York City K-12 schools. Al developed a popular course for adults, Learning Photoshop Through Art, at the Guggenheim Museum. Al received a Jerome Foundation Fellowship to create a portfolio of prints at Bob Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop which is now in the Library of Congress collection. Al studied stage design at the Polakov Studio in the West Village and was resident designer at HB Studio for several years. In addition, he designed over 100 educational theater productions and over 25 professional designs for ballet, dance, drama, musical theater and opera in off-Broadway and regional theater. As Director of Internet Training at the National Teacher Training Institute for New York’s Channel Thirteen / WNET, Al traveled extensively in a “train-the-trainers” model of technology integration for K-12 teachers. Currently, in addition to his role at Quest, Al teaches for the graduate division of Touro College’s Masters Degree Program in Instructional Technology.

 We hope you enjoy this episode, and we invite you to join us in our quest learn more about how to understand “game mechanics.” We want to imagine the different possibilities that Gamestar Mechanic and other sites like this provide to our students as we make room for these new literacies of game play, game modding, and game design!

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

Teachers Teaching Teachers #193 – Is Evoke a game? Why does it matter? Five Students with Rachel Smith and Suzie Boss – 03.24.10

We’ve been learning about gaming from students this spring, and on this episode of Teachers Teaching Teachers we were joined by two ninth graders from Susan Ettenheim’s class in NYC, a tenth grader from Paul Allison’s class in Queens, an eleventh grader from Austin, Texas, and a senior from Chris Sloan’s class in Salt Lake City.

We learned so much about gaming from Jake a few weeks ago (TTT #190) and Robin more recently (TTT #192) that we invited both of them back to talk more specifically about Alternate Reality Games and Evoke! On this episode, you’ll hear Jake and Robin, and a few other students talk about their experience of playing Evoke!

Is Evoke a game? Or is it just a trick to get people to use a social network? Why do serious gamers seem to know what Jane McGonigal is up to (See recent TED talk.), and get engaged with this game, while other students are less engaged? We invite you to join us as we listen to our students and our colleagues respond to these questions.

  • Jake is a senior in Chris Sloan‘s New Media class at Judge Memorial High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Robin is a sophomore in Paul Allison’s English class at the East-West School of International Studies in Flushing, NYC.
  • Perez and Phil are freshman in Susan Ettenheim’s class at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, in New York City.
  • Nathan is a junior and he’s a game-runner for Evoke from Austin, Texas.
  • Suzie Boss is the co-writer with Jane Krauss of Reinventing Project-Based Learning, and she has recently interviewed Jane McGonigal for WorldChanging.
  • Rachel Smith is the Vice President, NMC Services the New Media Consortium, and has taken on the role as a community organizer for teachers on Evoke. 

Please enjoy. And find out more about all of us and our work on Evoke at Teachers Teaching Teachers #192.

Click Read more to see a copy of the chat that was happening during the webcast.

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