This week I have spent most of my #givercraft time creating usernames and passwords, making wiki pages, and troubleshooting with various team members to ensure they have what they need. Oh yes, and monitoring and helping teachers with the challenge.
I was thrilled first that so many of us were able to help with the challenge, and second that so many teachers came in and experimented with the teacher test zone. Some teachers were quite accomplished. I think we all learned some things about redstone from Walker. I noticed while at the Minecraft Club with Colin, that some students had books about redstone that they were passing back and forth to each other and reading about the things that you can do with it. I noticed switches and locks that they made, but hadn’t really understood the full implications. The use of redstone really makes potential engineering integration within literacy exploration possible. I am very excited to see what the kids (and the teachers) come up with.
I have been a little stressed about data collection with the project particularly as it became very clear that management of the project was going to be somewhat all-encompassing and that we weren’t going to have a great deal of time to plan for data collection. So I reached out to a colleague in Israel, Emanuel Gruenwald – and asked him if he’d like to join with us. He did respond today that he will be able to make our Handshake meeting on Tuesday (it will be 11PM in Israel). It will be challenging finding a time for the whole group to meet with him, given this time difference. Perhaps we will try to do it on Saturday?
The primary reason I am stressed about the data – in a good way – is that we have such a large sample. Usually, particularly with technology research – we are bound to a context and very small sample sizes. However, with potentially 1200 students in the world, and with over 30 teachers who self-selected this project as participants, we have the ability to actually run some stats which could be generalizable beyond any particular context. This isn’t an experimental study – but we should be able to identify some variables for measurement. But I have been so immersed in the practical details I haven’t made as much progress on the methodology as I would have liked.
The next benchmark is the handshake meeting. I am very looking forward to it. I am going to try to keep it to one hour with Q & A. I do hope that the teachers have read the information on the site closely and that they understand they will be evaluating student work using the Wiki. I anticipate we will have a survey each week that will allow us to determine the engagement of students and I also hope that we can ask students to complete a survey indicating their level of engagement and learning. This would allow us to perhaps run some correlations. I anticipate kids are going to want more time in Minecraft than we have allowed, and plan to recommend that teachers encourage kids to build at home if they like – using Minecraft PE – but not on our server :-). If they have Minecraft EDU at their school, we can do a world copy for them and they can run it locally; however, I don’t have the expertise to walk them through this. They would have to already know what to do with the world copy for this to work.
Lori’s kids came into town this weekend, so I haven’t been able to talk with her about the documents. Perhaps we’ll get those finalized on Monday. I think Lori has them pretty much finished. Onward and Upward!