IT@UC Leadership Academy:  Team Minecraft 2014-2015

As part of the 2014-15 IT@UC Leadership Academy, the Team Minecraft team has developed a Minecraft tutorial world to help educators understand how Minecraft can be useful as a teaching tool. Targeting lessons for K-12 students, the IT@UC Team Minecraft world includes example lessons in the subjects of math, English, history, and science. Teachers can download the world file and explore the Minecraft tutorial on their own server to learn more about using this flexible platform for teaching and learning in an engaging way.

 

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Project Team (L to R):  Erma Fritsche, Phil Rawlinson, Chris Collins, Dale Hofstetter,
Maria Younghans, and Vernon Jackson.

Project Design

Requirements Definition

  1. Vision/Goal – To demonstrate the use of Minecraft as an instructional tool for K-12 teachers.
  2. Minecraft for K-12 Teachers Project:  curriculum driven
  3. Objectives:

i.    Build a curriculum world — Learning how the game works within the action of the game:  Training Game

ii.   Curricular gaming spaces:

  1. English-Charlotte’s Web Grades 3, 4, 5
  2. Math – Perimeter & Area Grades 3, 4
  3. Science – Scientific Method Grades 4, 5, 6
  4. Social Studies – Discovering Serpent Mound grades 4, 5, 6

iii.  Develop a resource pack for instructors

iv.  Develop a Web Site with project description, game world download

 

Team Work

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What lessons have you learned about yourself? Your teammates?

We each learned more about working as a team to complete tasks and join together for the final product. We worked well together and brought different strengths to the team, and most importantly, we were accepting of people’s strengths and weaknesses.

What leadership capabilities did you utilize or practice during the process?

We each naturally fell into our roles, building on our strengths (organization, scheduling, technical, service, documentation, etc.). The project was very well scoped to keep in mind our limitations, but it was challenging at the same time. We also spent a good deal of time thinking outside of the box about how to demonstrate using Minecraft to engage kids.

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We also practiced “outsourcing” and “delegation” through the generous donation of labor by Team Younghans.  

 

What do you think worked best about your team? What did not work well? Why?

We structured our team with bi-weekly meetings where we tracked minutes and tasks in the SharePoint Collaboration environment. This helped us stay on track, on task, and on schedule.  We also leveraged different resources in UCIT to help build the Minecraft server, including members of the Server Administration team (Jeremy Harrison, Jim Dusing, & Russ Langford), the Network Operations Center team (Brian Reuhl and Frank Curry), and UCSIM students who helped with testing (Rebecca Drury and Ian Anderson).

What are your major takeaways from this experience?

We built stronger relationships with our team members and accomplished a great deal in a short period of time.  We also hope the output of our project will inspire more teachers to explore using tools like Minecraft to “meet kids where they are” for teaching and learning!