How’d I Get Here

“James, stop playing video games. Go read a book or do something productive.”

That was then. This is now.

“James, how did you build that? That’s so cool? What are those dudes with the funky green heads? Let’s start a server together?”

So what happened?

Last Spring something possessed me to open an email about an online workshop for teachers called 3D Game Lab. The goal of the workshop was to explore how to harness student interest in gaming to foster learning. I thought that maybe if I learned about gaming that I might reach a few students that I might not otherwise reach. In fact, I had one particular student in mind.

The workshop transformed my entire outlook on gaming. I am now totally convinced of the power of this media to create learning. moreover, I would say that it is necessary for students to learn gaming, but more on that later.

So began what I am now calling the WG (with gaming) era of my teaching career. The era before, well, I refer to that as WOG.

In the middle division at Brentwood School we have a 30 minute period once a week called Exploratory where kids choose an activity to pursue with a teacher. Activities include jewelry making, yoga, All Things Asian, kickball and more. In the past, I ran a garden club. I believe kids need this too. This year, however, due to some construction on our campus, my garden area was inaccessible. What was I going to do for my Exploratory?

I presented a never before offered activity to the students at our Exploratory fair. MMORPGs drew a huge cheer and was the first activity to fill up. I chose Minecraft because of the building and working together potential that it offered. After some server issues, the activity is up and running. In addition, I found ways to incorporate using Minecraft in my science curriculum.

Having taught for close to twenty years, I have discovered new tools that will keep me excited to teach for the next twenty.

Oh yeah, as for that student that I was thinking about last Spring? Well, he’s still struggling, but yesterday he excitedly shared with me his plans to create his exam study guide using Minecraft.

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7 thoughts on “How’d I Get Here

  1. Dear James,
    I, too have discovered gaming and am interested in teaching Minecraft! I look forward to learning from you. I am local also. Thank you for your site and sharing what you have learned.

      • Tyler,
        Is this comment for Bob or for Me? Bob, sorry I confused your name with your son’s. I would love to find out more about program and will contact you off the blog. Tyler, I think this message is for Bob regarding Brentwood and not me, regarding my school. If you do want info on my PreK-12 school let me know!
        Thanks.
        Catherine

  2. Hey Tyler and Catherine,
    This string of comments is a bit confusing but I will do my best to respond. Anyone in the Los Angeles area is welcome to apply to Brentwood School. Just go to the website http://www.bwscampus.com for information on who to contact.

    Also, Eaglecraft is only open to Brentwood School students, specifically only those in the Minecraft Exploratory activity in the Middle School.

    Hope this answers your questions.
    Bob

  3. Hello Bob!
    I run educational gaming camps here in Vancouver, BC and am attending Minecon this year. I’m hoping to gather some of the community together for an informal meet-up on Friday afternoon or evening the day before Minecon opens. At-least, that is part of the plan! Please let me know if you are interested in touching base. I really don’t know what Microsoft has planned in terms of panels and speakers, but I thought it might be in our interest to gather, as there are many of us which might not necessarily use MinecraftEDU and have LOT of XP to share!
    Let me know!
    Anna

  4. Anna,
    Sounds like a great idea but I am not going to be at Minecon this year. Still I would be interested in what you find out at the conference.
    Cheers,
    Bob

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