Today at the Create, Make and Learn Institute in Burlington, Vermont, my 10 year old daughter (Rachel) and 16 year old son (Alex) shared some techniques with teachers about using redstone wiring in Minecraft to do some cool things. Kevin Jarrett led the session, which was an introduction to Minecraft for teachers. His Google Doc of Minecraft intro resources is fantastic.

Rachel showed teachers how to create a shower with redstone in Minecraft. She just started learning how to use redstone this week on our trip to Vermont, playing Minecraft on her laptop in the car and this week with her cousins. She explained that she’d watched several videos on YouTube to learn how to do this.

Alex showed several different redstone wiring techniques and tricks also, including how to use a redstone clock to repeatedly activate a fire dispenser.

This is a photo of Shannon Walters, Alice Barr, and Kevin giving feedback to both Alex and Rachel after the workshop.

We also took a photo together afterwards, with my wife (Shelly) and Sarah Sutter. What a fun morning we had!

The biggest takeaway for me from the morning was this: One of the teachers attending the workshop was very unsure about the educational value of Minecraft – almost to the very end of the entire 2 hour workshop. After hearing and watching Rachel share her demonstration, however, which included a good explanation of steps as well as thinking and problem solving, the teacher was convinced that Minecraft has a lot of positive potential for learning inside and outside the classroom. We need to engage in collaborative professional learning experiences like this one today as teachers WITH STUDENTS! Students in situations like this, sharing their skills in a program like Minecraft or Scratch, ALWAYS (without fail!) exceed adult expectations and change perceptions. It was a real treat to participate today in this workshop, to learn a lot from Kevin as well as the students (Jared, Rachel and Alex), and also watch these awesome learning dynamics unfold.

We need to let students do more teaching in educator professional development!

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On this day..

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  • Cheryl Oakes

    This is what the Fryer Family does on summer vacation! Thanks for sharing.

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