Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Minecraft, YouTube and Communication Skills

Yesterday morning I spent some time finalizing my podcast migration to Anchor. My “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” podcast channel, which I launched in 2005, now has 481 episodes. The RSS feed I used previously, (before Anchor: Created with the Podlove Podcast Publisher) just included the most recent 50 episodes. Those 50 episodes uploaded / cross-posted to Anchor during the conversation / switchover process. In reviewing them, I clicked on “Podcast 436: The Technology Director Speaks” from December 5, 2015. When I recorded that episode, our youngest daughter, Rachel, was in 6th grade. She was “into” playing Minecraft with both cousins and new friends she met online, via YouTube and Connected Camps. As her dad, I was navigating Internet safety concerns with Skype calls to new Minecraft friends she met through her YouTube channel, among other things. Here’s that podcast segment (audio only) from 2015, shared on YouTube:

Incidentally, if you are interested, I created this “audio only YouTube version of an audio podcast” by:

  1. Downloading the video locally with the website Y2Mate (be VERY careful when using YouTube video downloader software and websites, watch out for malware…)
  2. Using QuickTime Pro software to export the MP4 video as an audio-only M4A file.
  3. Using free Audacity software to edit the recording so a new clip included just the portion from 54:00 to 59:33.
  4. Exporting from Audacity as a WAV file.
  5. AirDropping the WAV file to my iPhone, where I opened it with the free iOS audio app Voice Record Pro.
  6. Saving a local version of the screenshot, “Rachel’s Stampy Monument in Minecraft at Connected Camps” from Flickr.
  7. AirDropping that image over to my iPhone Camera roll.
  8. Using the free iOS audio app Voice Record Pro to export a MP4 video version of that audio recording, using that image as a persistent thumbnail.
  9. Uploading to YouTube from my iPhone with the iOS YouTube app.

If you’re interested in more ways to create digital stories for YouTube and other platforms, using audio-only recordings, check out the resources for my October 22, 2022 workshop in Matthews, North Carolina, “Chasing Family Stories.”

I included a pretty extensive list of 45 links as shownotes for the 2015 podcast, “The Tech Director Speaks,” and these were the links I included for the podcast section about Rachel’s Minecraft and YouTube adventures. Her WordPress website is offline because it got hacked and I haven’t restored a clean version yet… and she’s since changed her Twitter handle, but all the other links still work:

  1. Rachel Fryer’s website: (@RachfMC) – links removed here b/c site is offline / handle changed
  2. Rachel’s YouTube channel: RachelArtist
  3. “How I Edit My YouTube Videos” by Rachel (11 minutes – using Screenflow software)
  4. Podcast430: Minecraft Summer Camp with Connected Camps
  5. Connected Camps (@connectedcamps)
  6. Our [MINECRAFT] Our Kid Club Is Now Free (by Connected Camps – 30 Oct 2015)
  7. Our Daughter Plays Minecraft with International YouTubers (21 Nov 2015 post)

This is Rachel’s YouTube video, “How I Edit My YouTube Videos” by Rachel (11 minutes – using Screenflow software), which is one of those shownote links. I think it is absolutely PRICELESS to have this digital record of her developing digital literacy skills as well as vocabulary, and it’s so fun to both hear her 6th grade voice and also SEE the worlds she was creating and exploring in Minecraft at that time. As a media literacy teacher and advocate, I also love hearing her explain her CREATIVE PROCESS!

A year later, when Rachel was in 7th grade, I convinced her to put together and share a TEDx talk up in Enid, Oklahoma, about an hour and half north of where we lived in Oklahoma City. The presentation was titled, “Tales from a Teen Minecraft YouTuber.” Rachel was one of the “youth voices” featured at TEDxWallerMiddleSchool. It was a good experience. I shared my second (of three) TEDx talks there as well, mine was on “Digital Citizenship in the Surveillance State.”

Fast forward to Rachel’s junior and senior years at Casady School. She and a group of her friends and classmates (along with a few other students who just heard about the opportunity and joined in) served as high school moderators in two different VIRTUAL summer Minecraft Camps I taught / facilitated / led. In 2020 because of COVID, virtual summer camps were our only option. In Summer 2021 I could have led an in-person / face-to-face Minecraft camp at Casady, but our prior VIRTUAL summer experiences were SO positive we went all-online again! Rachel and her fellow Casady upper school students (who earned service hours for helping with the camp, BTW) were a HUGE part of the success of all these camps! This 3.5 minute video was a promo trailer that I created and shared for the 2021 camps.

Rachel’s experiences with Minecraft and YouTube were very positive parts of her own digital and media literacy development. It embarrasses her now to hear me play some of those older Minecraft videos she made, but as her dad and a media literacy teacher, I think they are fantastic! I maintain a playlist of videos which Rachel either created or is featured in, and it’s up to 24 now. Today I added the video, “Rachel Fryer’s Curiosity Fuels Her Pursuit of STEM Learning & Engineering” from fall 2021, which wass part of her scholarship application to Rose Hulman Institute of Technology. This was a 3 minute video she recorded in the chemistry classroom of Julieta Zesiger at Casady School, who taught Rachel chemistry her 10th grade year. I know the skills Rachel developed both as a Minecraft YouTuber during her middle school years, as well as the three years she spent competing in policy debate at Casady with Coach Tommy Snider, were hugely beneficial in not only developing her passion for STEM but also her excellent oral communication abilities.

Those of you reading this blog post who go back with me to the late-2000s, when blogging and “web 2.0” was new, may likely remember Rachel’s Voicethread, “Getting My New Haircut,” which I helped her record and create when she was 3 years old. I created a screencast recording of part of that digital story, and shared it on YouTube as, “Excerpt of “Getting a New Haircut” by Rachel on VoiceThread.” I LOVE the fact that this ORIGINAL media creation is still online, and the hosting company (““) is still in business, going strong!

I added a final video to that playlist of Rachel’s videos today, her “Why Senator Thom Tillis Should Nominate Me to the Air Force Academy” video from November 2022. It’s just 30 seconds long, and took her quite awhile to plan, write and finally record at Randolph Macon Academy, where she’s completing a “preparatory year” as an Air Force Academy Falcon Scholar. Senator Tillis DID nominate Rachel to the USAFA Class of 2027, and I think it’s awesome his interview committee used short videos like this from candidates to get a better understanding of their background, motivation for military service, as well as communication abilities.

I love playing with media. I also love, however, having media documentation like this of my own thinking and learning as a teacher, as well as a parent and dad.

If you have an aspiring Minecrafter interested in creating YouTube videos to share, I recommend supporting and helping them along in that journey. It’s definitely a path fraught with challenges and potential perils, but also rich rewards and amazing moments.

You never know where a little holiday Minecraft playing with cousins and other family members might lead!

Thanksgiving 2013” (CC BY 2.0) by Wesley Fryer