Well I went through a very interesting lesson with kids today. I decided to try and teach them what they would need to know to survive in a minecraft world by getting them all in a server and walking them through basic crafting and block placing. I would not do it this way again. I think next time I would use a tutorial world and a tutorial sheet to go with it.
I figured that they would know the basics of gaming, and some did, but the majority didn't. This caused some issues with people keeping up. On the brighter side the Edu mod was fantastic, I could keep teleporting the kids back to me when they wandered off. I could freeze them in place so that they would listen while I was giving them instructions. When they were getting a bit silly with the digging of holes I could stop them building/breaking blocks. I could switch to creative mode with the click of a button and place blocks down to show them what they looked like, and then give them the opportunity to mine them.
I am really happy with the way the server and mod work, I just need to work on my students. I am planning to leave the limited resources survival map for the kids to play on tomorrow, but have left alternative work for them to do if they don't want to play, if they get sick of it, disinterested or start behaving poorly. I will be very interested to get the feedback from both the teacher taking them and the students themselves after an hour or so in the world. And of course to see what they have managed to achieve and build by working together as a team.