We are so looking forward to having Stephen Reid at the SchoolNet SA conference taking place at Brescia House School on 5 – 7 October 2017. Stephen will be doing a keynote about “Emerging Technology in Education” If you haven’t booked your spot yet, be sure to register HERE, –http://www.schoolnet.org.za/conference2017/, by the end of August to secure the early bird rate.
If you are a Minecraft: Education Edition fan you’ll definitely want to attend some of Stephen’s sessions. He is the Minecraft Guru from Scotland who presents on Minecraft: Education Edition all over the world. Across the three day conference, Stephen will also be offering a number of breakaway sessions including the Problem-Based Learning Course which encourages students to think more critically and to work collaboratively through being faced with solving ill-structured, open-ended, messy problems. Minecraft novices and experts will also have opportunities to explore Minecraft: Education Edition and the “Small South Africa” world which Stephen created for use by teachers and learners who want to build solutions in Minecraft that relate to a South African context.
Recently at the E2 Conference for Microsoft’s MIEExpert Educators in South Africa Stephen presented sessions on problem-based learning. The #MIEExpert Educators and the other invited guests completed a problem-based learning activity in groups using Minecraft: Education Edition as a tool to demonstrate how they would solve the problem they had identified. This was a great learning experience. Let’s take a look at how one of the groups experienced problem-based learning under Stephen’s guidance.
What is problem-based learning?
Problem-based learning is a great way for everybody in the group to learn together. It facilitates active learning, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. Dr Preetha Ram says “Problem-based learning enables students to embrace complexity and joy in their learning, and enhance their capacity to make creative contributions to real-world problems.” Learners in groups come up with a problem you have observed in the real world and they work on creating solutions for this problem. At the E2 the groups used Minecraft: Education Edition to demonstrate their solution.
This was the task at the E2: “Come up with a problem you have observed in South Africa and demonstrate how you will solve this, using Minecraft: Education Edition. Present your solution on a Sway or as an Office Mix.”
They decided to use:
a) A shared online OneNote notebook to work on. OneNote is very suited to problem-based learning as you can share content, images, videos etc very easily if you have a good Internet connection.
b) Then there was Minecraft: Education Edition which they used to demonstrate their solution. A Minecraft world had already been created for the E2 by Steven Reid.
c) The final product was to be presented on a Sway or an Office Mix.
Step 1: Identifying the issue
As a group they brainstormed problems in South Africa. Of course there were many! They then narrowed it down to three and eventually voted for one – under-resourced schools in the country.
Step 2: Create the driving question
The next step was to create the driving question related to their enquiry. A driving question is one that captures the heart of the project by providing the purpose of the enquiry and by using clear and compelling language. The question should drive the participants to discuss, inquire, and investigate the topic.
Step 3: Brainstorming
This step involved brainstorming what they would include in their under-resourced school to provide the needed resources. Here are some of the ideas they came up with and discussed these at length.
Step 4: Using Minecraft: Education Edition to demonstrate the solution
Now it came to the part of building using Minecraft; Education Edition to demonstrate their solution.
Steven had taught the E2 delegates some of the basics so that they knew how to move around their Minecraft world.
Each group could only see their group’s work and each group member appeared as little characters in the Minecraft world. So the group could see what each one in the group was doing at any stage.
The group divided up the solutions they had thought of, and each one in the group built theirs. They had to take screenshots of the different objects that they built as proof of their solutions.
The group then created a video of what they had done using Minecraft: Education Edition and one of the members embedded this video into the group PowerPoint. Here is their video.
Step 5: Presenting the solution
The important thing when you present solutions in problem-based learning is to have some relevant role players present – even the people who could make this solution happen if that was possible. These people could even be invited in via Skype.
Step 6: Giving the project a final title
This group decided on the title of ‘A self-sustaining school.’
This problem-based learning activity was a great learning experience. Group members felt that they were starting to understand Minecraft: Education Edition and its potential in the context of education. Stephen Reid proved to be an exceptional presenter
So, if you would like to experience something like this and learn from the amazing presenter, Stephen Reid from Ireland, consider registering for the SchoolNet ICT in the Classroom Conference on 5-7 October in Johannesburg http://www.schoolnet.org.za/conference2017/. .