Minecraft Student Letter…Chills

Below is an email from an eighth grade student. This is the third year of the Minecraft Exploratory at Brentwood School. Looks like the kids might take this to the next level. Three has always been my favorite number.

Mr. Kahn,                                                                                                                     When you sent me the email about league of legends, I happened to notice you had your blog link in the signature, so I decided to check it out. I am planning to join the [Minecraft] exploratory again this year, and had a few ideas about Eaglecraft.

I have recently been experimenting with a terrain generation program for Minecraft that allows you to customize your world map. I think it would be fun to have a game where we put everyone in a variety of environments with varying difficulty and see how well we can survive as a team. I have also found plugins that can add a harder survival environment, such as adding thirst and seasons, as well as things like heat, increasing the need for fire.

I think it would be fun to have Dylan (See previous post) help run the server as well. I took a java  corse over the summer, and have done some experimenting with plugins for Minecraft, and would like to learn more. It would be great to have someone with experience in plugin development manage the server. I look forward to meeting him, and having a great year in the Minecraft exploratory.

I hope you like my suggestions,

The more I think about this letter, the more moved I become. Being a middle school (within a k-12 school) with only a 7th and an 8th grade, there has sometimes been friction between the two grades. After all, the totem pole only has two levels, the top and the bottom. This year, a considerable effort is being made to stymie this friction and turn the tide. Indeed, the eighth graders this year do not even see a totem pole. The letter above speaks to this point as well as to the power of Minecraft.

Furthermore, this takes me back to a post from March of 2012, the day “Minecraft Ends.” I wrote,  “I am now even more determined to provide a safe place for the “geeky kids,” to be, to play and to explore their interests. And I thought I was just getting into Minecraft.”

Minecraft is not only a wonderful game, but also a conduit for creating incredibly valuable human interactions and friendships, ironically born out of a virtual reality environment.

What if Sander and Dylan strike up a friendship centered around Minecraft that lasts a lifetime? Who knows what, together, they may create.

I have the chills.


Opportunity Clicks: STEAM Through Minecraft, Teacher Wanted

As a new school year ramps up, I have been preparing for my usual eighth grade physical science course. In addition, I am teaching the first ever robotics elective course at Brentwood School. My plate is full, and that is why I am passing the following email on to the Minecraft community. I believe it is indicative of the present paradigm shift in education away from “stand and deliver” instruction towards more technological and experiential instruction. My question: why not take an environment that kids absolutely love playing in and use it to create learning about the world they are living in? I can’t think of reason. The email: Minecraft teacher wanted “to engage [kids] in topics of geometry, biology, physics, architecture, etc.” Hmm, I think Minecraft would work for that.

MINECRAFT TEACHER WANTED- Ojai/Ventura/Santa Barbara area

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