Back to Minecraft Club for the first time post-Christmas. As usual, the whole class attended voluntarily at lunchtime and continued building their town / community space.
Other commitments meant that I wasn’t able to be quite as involved and attentive to proceedings as I usually am. I often make time during the session to enter the game myself for a guided tour, but didn’t get chance today.
I was pleased to note, however, that there was still plenty of discussion between children regarding their plans for building. Most children appeared to be collaborating with at least one other of their peers, both inside and outside the game. One discussion related to the number of blocks needed to complete a construction project, the materials they should use, along with some clarification of the geometrics involved.
Most children seemed to be working to add to and improve their existing creations, rather than starting new projects. I wonder if the town has finally reached its full size or if new buildings will start to crop up again?
Some children were working together on putting the finishing touches to a theatre in the town. Here are the seats:
And here is the stage:
Once completed, two children used the stage to put on a short, in-game performance of ‘Mamma Mia’ (!) for anyone who wanted to watch.
This rapid switch in identity (from builder to performer) in the game makes me wonder about the complex nature of persona being taken on by the children. Is this form of digital role-play initiated as a response to the constructed game environment, or is it more closely bound to the real-world social intentions of the individuals? (Does it matter?!)
I also wonder what the type of buildings chosen by the children tells us about their outlook, experiences or their priorities – where did their ideas originate? Is the absence of any structure as significant as the presence of any other? This town, for example, doesn’t seem to include a school, hospital, library or even any shops. As well as the theatre, a number of other creations focus on leisure activities include the roller coaster, the bar in the hotel and the ‘community swimming pool’.
Some buildings bring with them the suggestion that the town is being constructed with visitors in mind – namely the hotel and a number of Bed and Breakfast locations. (One B&B is interestingly located in the foot of a statue whilst others are slightly more conventional in appearance).
Towards the end of the session I noticed that one player was wearing a Halloween pumpkin on their (virtual) head. And as soon as other children caught on to this possibility there were many more pumpkin-headed avatars running around the town.