Thursday, March 29, 2018

Seussville in MinecraftEDU

Over the past few years, I have been using MinecraftEDU in my classroom (see Recreating a Painting in Minecraft). This is a discontinued mod of Minecraft 1.7.10, which has since been replaced with Microsoft's Minecraft Education Edition. As a subscription-based service is not currently viable for my school, I continue to use the version I purchased several years ago.

One of the projects that I have consistently done with my students is to have them work in small groups to create settings from a Dr Seuss book of their choice. This year, we took it a step further, and students recorded videos of their creations to share with their parents and peers.

We used Screencast-O-Matic to capture the video, and then iMovie to record the narration. This worked well for my students, as they were able to use iPads to record narration and edit it together with the visual component. Allowing students to find a quiet space to record their voices streamlined the process, as everyone was able to record on the same day without the scheduling nightmare of sending one group at a time to a computer lab. By design, I ensured that each group of students had a relatively tech-savvy member, and most technology-related challenges were solved by students without too much intervention from me. This freed me up to work with a couple of groups who had fallen behind in the recording process.

I love the effort students put into their Minecraft creations, and into planning and recording their videos. Some groups struggled with what to say, while others were trying to cram as much information into their videos as possible!

Enjoy the final products below :

Green Eggs and Ham

The Sneetches

Oh The Places You'll Go!

The Lorax

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The results of the students efforts have inspired me to develop a project for next year in which students will write stories, then create the visuals for their stories in MinecraftEDU and record videos to share. Until this year, I wasn't certain which programs would be best suited to this kind of endeavour, so I am pleased to have done a smaller scale version of what I hope will be a longer-term project next year!