Saturday, 12 December 2015

Minecraft: Douglas L Watkins recommendation.

Doug Watkins - DGBL (Digital Games-Based Learning) expert.
Link to his most popular work, Darkewater

I am overseeing the introduction of a 'Minecraft club' at school, along with Dale Evans, Teaching Assistant Extraordinaire!  As a Second Life user, I have a broad understanding of 'virtual worlds', but I quickly saw that pupils were way ahead of me, and I posted a plea for help in a Teacher's Minecraft Google Group, specifically saying that I'd like to 'try it out' as a user within a community and be able to ask questions.

Doug Watkins got in touch and offered to help by showing me the basics using his online server. I am so impressed with all aspects of the support he gave and it is without hesitation that I offer this recommendation.

Firstly, Doug was extremely thoughtful in his preparation for giving support. Via email, he checked carefully with me what my starting point was, and put together a very clear plan of what he was going to cover during our first online meeting. When we met, he had prepared the 'agenda', he had all documents to hand and made extremely effective and efficient use of the time we had.

He offered a Skype or Google Hangouts meeting, and I was extremely impressed by the 'lesson' he gave me. As well as learning a great deal about Minecraft, I experienced excellent use of technology for distanced learning as Doug exploited Skype, Teamviewer and Google tools. We greeted each other on Skype video and Doug shared links in the IM chat to his comprehensive and clearly laid out documents relating to Minecraft on Google Docs. We used Teamviewer to allow me to see Doug's screen as he explained Minecraft, and for Doug to see my screen as I made my tentative first steps into his Minecraft world. All aspects worked well throughout our 3 hour meeting!

Doug has a very clear understanding of the issues associated with using Minecraft in the classroom. He very enthusiastic about the educational benefits of using Minecraft, but can also understand why some teachers may hesitate from using it and can offer strategies to address this.

He has a superb, patient manner. Although clearly an extremely experienced Minecraft user, he was able to put himself in the place of a new user, and at any point I got stuck, he was quick to go back a step and start again in a patient way, not making me feel stupid, and going at an appropriate pace! It was lovely to be able to feel free to ask any question along the way. I can imagine that he would work brilliantly with pupils and teachers alike.

Doug explains things to a novice in a way that you could understand, both through clear verbal instruction, and through using 'screen share' and giving clear instructions about where to click and drag

Doug freely shares links to a folder on his Google drive which contains a wealth of information and practical help. His documents are clearly referenced and easy to read. I have downloaded and printed most of them!  Direct Link to his Education drive.

He was quick to follow up our meeting with a summary and links to his google drive documents.

In summary, I cannot recommend Doug strongly enough to anyone who is looking for guidance for using Minecraft in a school setting. Thank you Doug for your generosity in sharing and the quality of your work! I look forward to learning even more!

REFERENCES
Doug's Drive:
A collection of guides (for teachers), activities (for individuals), and lessons (for classes or groups). Always start here if you are looking for new material or inspiration. Please send me the results of any lessons you try so I can incorporate your experiences.

Doug's Maps:
Maps (finished and in progress) by Doug Watkins

EduElfie's Youtube Channel: Learn about Minecraft in French!  This is my plan .. to switch it to French every now and then - de temps en temps!

A good place to start if you have questions about or problems with MinecraftEdu.
MinecraftMaps.com: http://www.minecraftmaps.com/
This is where Doug starts when looking for maps and hosting his own.  He reminds you that you should always check the content of the map before you let your students play on it.

Minecraft Crafting Wiki:
A helpful wiki that shows every single crafting recipe in detail.

BDouble's Note Block Tutorial:
Doug passed me this link  as I was curious about whether you could get soind in Minecraft!

Minecraft Command Wiki:
A helpful wiki that explains how to use commands and the effects of each command (think teleporting players/changing gamemodes/giving items and status effects).

Additional links:
The Anthill -
A really great adventure map (with little to no violence) that can be used with any class size. Should work for 1.7.10


The Tourist -
A Paris map Doug told me about  He said it's a good map for just exploring Paris, but he has a lot of issues with the story. Some of the students will like the plot, but most will ignore the story.

Dr. Wasteland's Minecraft Server: I have a direct link to Doug's server so that I can practise!

Edugaming I have created an account on Doug's recommendation.

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