I had an idea for experimenting with Minecraft gravity with students in my Year 7 Science classes. I knew exactly how I wanted the experiments to work, and I even have a pretty good idea of the results I expect the students to get. What I didn't count on was that I would come up with something that I have never really done before, but that 'something' makes this lesson more like a learning game than anything I have done so far, at least I think it does anyway.
Normally I will set up a map, throw the students into it and get them to do the activities I set up. The whole reason the students are completing the task is because I have asked them to, which is fine, that is my job. However, I think this is where those discussions many moons ago with @adriancamm, @vormamin and @chadsansing about what it is to be 'doing' game based learning were leading. It may have taken me a while, but I think I am one step closer to where I 'think' I want to be, or at least where I 'think' their idea behind GBL is.
Now the map I have created now is the same, in terms of the experiments included in it, however I have designed a backstory, recorded some footage (with students from other year levels to help) and I plan on 'playing a role' this lesson, we are going to tell a story, follow through and complete the tasks, not because it is the activity I have set (I think) but because that is what the 'game' is requesting us to do. Is there a difference between the teacher saying "do these activities" and a game saying "do these activities" especially if I am the 'designer' of said game?
I guess I will find out in an hour or two when my lesson is complete. I just thought I should clarify where my head is at now, with the aim of recording for reflection and sharing with you perhaps a giant leap in my game based learning teaching practice.
I will most likely be writing another post in a couple of hours reflecting in the lesson, trying to work out if there is a difference between the game requesting tasks to be done and the teacher requesting them to be done. I think in terms of education there will be little difference, but in terms of engagement with the task I am hoping to see something, something that those twitter people above were trying to get me to see earlier but clearly I was not ready for.
For the first time in a while I am actually nervous before a MinecraftEdu lesson. Which I think means that this lesson means something to me, I have put in a fair amount of work, included students in a small way (something I hope to expand in future) and made a lesson in which I, in theory, can be the 'game master' not the teacher, and maybe not even that, perhaps all I need to do is supervise the students in the room and offer advice on completing the tasks.
That is all for now, feel free to comment below and thanks for reading.