To recap, my Y6 class have been working on creating their own town (Bradborough) in Minecraft Edu. This has taken place over the last month during a lunchtime club that lasts about half an hour per week. The only brief given was that they should work together to build a community.
As of today, the town now includes a hotel, a cinema, a large statue of a miner, a rollercoaster, a communal swimming pool and a number of houses. I’ve been observing the creation process both in and out of the virtual world.
I have not yet used the game as a prompt for writing – I have purely been interested in looking at what the children may be learning from participating and collaborating.
Today, as it is almost Christmas, I offered access to two servers: one running a pre-created Christmas adventure map, the other running our own in-progress map. After initially investigating the Christmas map all children returned to their own map – this was perhaps at least partly due to the Christmas map performing rather slowly.
Also worth noting is that, today, Minecraft was offered as a choice against the traditional end of term DVD – all children chose Minecraft!
Some additional notes from today’s session:
- The whole class continue to attend entirely voluntarily, in their own time.
- Some children are very possessive about their creations and do not want other people to enter their buildings until they have finished.
- Some children enjoy sabotaging others’ creations. This behaviour is not popular with the group.
- Some children are now disassembling their previous creations in order to improve them.
- There are no longer requests for enabling additional features such as nether or PvP.
- Collaborative building tends to happen in pairs, sometimes with two children on one computer, sometimes with children using separate logins.
- A few children use the in-game chat to communicate – however, many seem to prefer communicating with each other using their voices – often quite loudly!
- When I’m in-game, I am quickly inundated with offers of guided tours around certain areas of the town.
I’m looking forward to observing how the town develops after the holiday. I’m thinking about whether I should give a bit more direction, maybe adding a new element to the design brief.