This term, a group of Year 7 boys from Hawkesdale College have had the opportunity to access the Quantum Victoria Minecraft world each week. This is part of their “Skills for Living” class, in which the remainder of students have been learning to dance. The idea of a “Skills for Living” class is for students to have time to think about and document their learning goals, reflect on their achievements and areas for improvement and to target specific knowledge and skills that require more work. In addition to the “Tribes” framework, our school uses the “You Can Do It!” principles to discuss appropriate behaviors and attitudes for effective learning. It has become apparent during our participation in Minecraft activities, that this gaming platform is an excellent tool for students to demonstrate their understanding and application of the five “You Can Do It!” principles – Organisation, Persistence, Confidence, Resilience and Getting Along.
Organisation – Registering and setting up a Mojang and Minecraft account to access the Quantum Victoria Minecraft world is a complex task, requiring several steps. It took all students at least one period, and usually two, to complete the process. Students were required to remember usernames and passwords on three separate sites, so those with good organisational skills had much better success. Those students that had difficulty learnt that recording your usernames and passwords in a safe place was a helpful strategy to avoid frustration.
“Stuff you make in Minecraft is made in a similar way in real life.” – Chewy12345
Persistence – Some students came across many obstacles on their journey into Minecraft, but by Week 5 all students had access. Several students demonstrated remarkable persistence each week, attempting logins, waiting for updates and connections and repeating procedures to allow them to participate. The “carrot” was there, so finally they were all able to jump in and start creating.
“It takes time and effort to make awesome stuff.” – PorkChop
“Eventually you can do it, even if it looks too hard” – EaterofBacon
Confidence – Some of this group are lacking in confidence, which is one of the reasons they would prefer not to participate in dance, which is enjoyed by the more outgoing and self-confident students. Minecraft does not require the memory and full-body co-ordination that dance requires, but fine motor skills, problem solving and creative thinking. This group of boys are not all highly skilled sportsmen, but have gained remarkable skills in finding their way around the Quantum Minecraft world, working out the rules and how to play the game and creating structures that they didn’t believe they could.
“Not everything is as hard as it looks.” – GeneralCheese
Resilience – We did have some issues when one week we were unable to access the Quantum Minecraft server and the computer technician allowed us to use the school server which had been set up for another class, the Year 9/10 Gaming elective. Despite being warned about “griefing” – a gamer’s term for stealing and/ or destroying another gamer’s virtual property – some of the boys raided a treasure chest of tools and damaged a house that had been built by another player. When their misdemeanors came to our attention, we asked that the culprits stay inside during recess and lunchtime until the gamer’s property had been restored. Both parties displayed resilience by bouncing back and returning to the game with a lesson learned.
“You shouldn’t damage or steal other people’s stuff”- MVS999
Getting Along – This is the principle that gives me the most pleasure – to see these boys, some of whom have difficulty working in teams and accepting each other’s differences, sharing tools and strategies and helping each other plan and construct houses, bridges, towers, tunnels and railroads, is fantastic. The buzz in the room as they make suggestions for improvements, give and receive materials and laugh at the possibilities in a virtual world, is delightful.
“When people annoy you, you can go somewhere else.” – Bippy14
Thanks to Paul Taylor from Quantum Victoria for supporting our journey into their Minecraft world. Thanks to our computer technician, Nathan Calderwood, for setting up the school server, downloading the software and supporting Minecraft at Hawkesdale College. Thanks also to my delightful class of Year 7 boys who kept on trying, even when I didn’t know how to help them!