Over the past few months I have been piloting different projects at different age and grade levels using Minecraft PE (MCPE). Since we have a 1 to 1 iPad problem in our little school it was only natural for us to try Minecraft PE over Minecraft PC. MinecraftEdu is an educational version of Minecraft that allows teachers to create more academic lessons through Minecraft. Even though I have an EDU account with only two computers in the classroom using Minecraft PE was more accessible to all students.
Our first projects were based on the stories we were reading in class. For example, one of my classes created their own wacky schools based on the book Side Ways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar. The girls created their own schools in MCPE and gave a short tour of the school.
Following the success of these project I introduced a Minecraft Movie project to one of my 5th grade classes. Because all of my students had access to MCPE at home I setup a Pocket Mine server to allow children to connect to our world from home. We began the project by writing Movie Scripts. We used a new app Celtx Script which was perfect for students to create and collaborate on movie scripts. Once the scripts were completed and the building of the world finished we began to film each scene.
Filming the scenes proved to be more difficult than I had originally thought. For example, in order to record an iPad screen you need a mirroring program. Luckily we found a program called Reflector. Another challenge was acting as the cameraman within the MCPE world. I have no movie making experience so the first few scenes were hard to view for anyone who gets motion sickness. Therefore, we decided to allow the each student to take turns filming the movie from a first person point of view.
Currently we are filming scene 4 of 8 and we hope to finish by the end of this month. Here is a short movie trailer the students made with iMovie on the iPad.
Through Twitter I was lucky enough to connect to a teacher from Ontario Canada who shared my enthusiasm for using MCPE in classroom. Scott McKenzie a 3/4 grade teacher was already creating MCPE projects with his students and was thrilled that we could create a joint project.
Again I sent up a Pocket Mine sever so that students from Korea and Canada could connect to the same world at any time. I should mention that Pocket Mine is a free program which allows you to run a MCPE server from your home computer.
For our project we decided to create Choose Your Own Adventure Stories. For those who remember these stories as a kid, the stories give you a choice at the end of each page, which allows the reader to dictate what happens to the characters.
Scott’s student went to work on building their backgrounds in MCPE while I had my students write their stories using Book Creator. The app was simple for students to use and also we could easily add hyperlinks to jump around throughout their books. Once my students were nearly finished writing their stories I opened up the server to them. Some of them even logged in at night so they could interact with the Canadian students. Both groups of students were very polite and were excited to be speaking to students from the other side of the world.
Currently we are in the final stages of the project. Both of our classes are adding signs to the world to lead other students through each of their stories.
We the MCPE update right around the corner which will bring huge worlds to PE I’m hoping to use Minecraft PE and MinecraftEdu in future classes!