10 Simple Ideas for Minecraft in the Classroom @ #EdCampDetroit

May 9, 2015 by

If you’re a parent with children of gaming age, or a teacher that hasn’t been hiding in a bubble of luddite ideals, Minecraft is huge! So much so that LEGO has gone on record as wishing they had built it and Microsoft bought it for a cool 2.5 billion dollars late last year; yes, that’s billion. It’s a juggernaut, and while I’ve played with it off and on for a few years alongside my daughter and DS106 folks, I haven’t really dipped into the Minecraft EDU waters; a special version of Minecraft made just for classrooms. For those that have explored Minecraft in the classroom already, these ideas may not be terribly new, innovative, or informative; it’s just a place for me to gather some good starting points as I begin to explore the world of Minecraft beyond  the playful building I’ve experienced. If you want a quick idea of what Minecraft EDU...

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Video Story Problems – A Heap of Examples!

Mar 11, 2013 by

It’s been awhile since I shared some of the video story problems that I’ve created, and even longer since I showcased some of the great work by other educators and learners out there. Shame on me! There’s a LOT of awesome work getting published, and I’ve been so wrapped up lately with Read Around the Planet and travelling around to conferences getting other people excited about video in the K-12 classroom, I feel as though I’ve neglected some great digital math-based storytelling. So here goes! A whole heap of video story problems for you! Oreo Permutations A video story problem in which I use a big math term, wax philosophic on the nature of stuffing an Oreo with Oreos, and challenge students to create their own flavor combinations of Oreos.   Emily’s Driving Dilemma Andy Losik’s first venture into the video story problem space (at least through the channel)...

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How I Finally “got” STEM

Mar 23, 2012 by

STEM is one of those edu-acronyms that gets tossed out at large conferences, as models for new innovative schools, and a “catch all” for science and math stuff lately, yet it still seems to mystify many teachers. An informal poll of teachers in my district revealed that while a good portion of them knew that it stood for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, many of them weren’t sure what it meant beyond students taking a more project based approach to science and math. Other teachers I’ve talked with around the state have a similar understanding, but a growing number of them have begun to understand that STEM is really about flipping the traditional classroom structure, from teacher-centered learning to more inquiry, problem solving, and exploratory learning. Yes, science, technology, and math play an important role in that, but language and communication skills are also are an important part of...

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Video Story Problems 101

Mar 1, 2012 by

Traditional story problems are dull, disconnected, and often don’t offer much opportunity for students to work with material and challenges from the real world that may connect with them in an affective or meaningful way. Video story problems are an attempt to capture curiosity and examples of math and science from the real world, and bring them into the classroom, where students can provide narrative structure around their learning. I’ve been blessed to present this concept for the 2012 K12 Online Conference, the annual MACUL conference in Michigan through the REMC association, and will hopefully be able to continue developing the concept in the months and years to come as school districts tackle integrating more social media and digital literacy into their learning environments in hopes of amplifying student voice. These have been great opportunities for me to reflect on why I started playing around with the concept of video...

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4 Icon Challenge in the Classroom

Feb 19, 2012 by

I recently had the opportunity to spend a day in my old teaching position; an elementary technology class. I was always big on working with media when I taught the class for the 4 years I was in the position, so I took the opportunity to give the students a challenge taken from the pages of ds106, the wonderfully playful and media-rich digital storytelling community. The particular challenge that I gave them comes from the 4 Icon Challenge Assignment found on the ds106 site, and asks those willing to complete it to break down a story into 4 basic elements or themes, and then whittle those 4 ideas down into 4 basic icons. The students LOVED IT! I had them open up Neo Office on their school Macs, though it could just have easily have been done with Pages, MS Word, or some other word processing application. I then...

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Video Story Problem Planning Template 1.0

Jan 25, 2012 by

The Video Story Problem Channel and concept have both been gaining steam since a small group of educators started collaborating on them in the fall. Currently there are almost 60 videos of math, science, and inquiry based problems that have collected over 4,000 views! That’s close to 70 views per video! I don’t want to applaud just the numbers we’re all amassing, because the learning and work that students are accomplishing added to the new avenues educators are exploring for publishing and creating materials for their classes is really what payout here. Just take a look at this recent submission from Tyler Hart, who has managed to capture an amazing “any questions” type of open ended video story problem, in which he asks his 3rd graders to create their own word problems to this video. It was such a fantastic concept to see in action at the elementary level...

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