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Minecraft pic of Rachel's world

Special Guests Joining Our Minecraft Day in EDCI 336!

So this is pretty awesome… young learners teaching adult teachers. It started last spring after I had MinecraftEDU installed in our MacLaurin D211 computer lab up at the University of Victoria. My then 8yo loves Minecraft and builds the most amazing worlds and has taken me into the most wonderful servers to explore and build together. As a teacher educator, I stood witness many times to amazing critical thinking and collaborative teamwork among the children in this immersive world. I decided it would be a great experience to let them teach preservice teachers about this space. I brought in my daughter and Dominic Smith brought his son – both of whom were in elementary school and were avid Minecraft players. I storified a few tweets from the class last March:

The young mentors were so pumped up about the experience and having their passion and experience being recognized. One thing I would have changed is that there were only two young learners to a class of approximately 30 adults, so when someone got stuck, didn’t know how to break a block, etc., they were run off their feet. I also want to expand this so more young learners can share in this positive experience. This year, I have 34 in the class and I will be bringing in a maximum of 15 young mentors. I have my list, but I would love it if you could reconfirm your attendance by emailing edci336 at uvic dot ca – if you haven’t contacted me yet and are interested, you can still email me but please put “wait list” in the subject line. I might put together some other events.
For those confirmed as young mentors (or their parent/guardian), here is the schedule and the scoop:

Location: MacLaurin Building Education Computing Lab Room D211, University of Victoria

Date: Tuesday, November 17

Time: 12:30-2:30 structured and 2:30-3:20 exploration and sharing time.
Should any learners have after-school activities to go to, they are welcome to head out as needed.

Proposed plan:

12:30-12:45 Introduction to Minecraft and to the guests
12:45-1:45 EDCI 336 students to explore Minecraft supported by the young mentors (basic functions, creative, survival, etc. followed by exploration of a MinecraftEDU world)
1:45-2:30 Swapping places – young mentors take a turn to enter the world and show their stuff or to co-play with a EDCI 336 student
2:30-3:20 Exploration and sharing time

Note: the TIE lab adjacent in room A210 will be open for students who wish to bring their own laptops to show and share their own personal Minecraft worlds in a 1-1 or small group manner. Wifi access will be provided as well.

Parents, guardians, and teachers bringing the mentors: There is the TIE lab next door for you to wait or play minecraft yourself if you bring your own laptop. Also, there is a cafeteria on the main floor of MacLaurin should you wish to wait or grab a bite or a drink. Should you plan to leave, be sure to connect with me personally to do a sign in/out process.

Minecraft pic by Valerie Irvine is licensed under CC BY 2.0

pic of the TIE lab before construction

New Beginnings

So my blogging experiences have been an up and down one… I started (and left) my first blog in 2009. My second iteration was hosted on site by a colleague who did a multi-site buddy press install and was the super admin and, well, it got hacked. I was told that we could not access the content, were not allowed to even try, and furthermore there were no back-ups, and to move along. It’s gone… It’s been a learning lesson for me. Being in edtech, I should have known better than to put trust into an individually-hosted complex installation without more due diligence on my part and minded my own work closer. Ah well… I spend most of my outreach time on twitter anyway! Though, you’ll probably see lots of retro-posting to repost some work I have done in the past.

I’ll be doing a lot of creating, editing, and testing of my site while I pull it together again. A virtual rebuild is nothing as difficult as the physical rebuilding I had to do when I was given lab space I had negotiated on hiring. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears over three years went into building the TIE Research Lab. Like anything else that is highly appreciated, it’s usually hard-earned. The featured photo above is something I get strength from as it shows how far the journey has been for me in my career. It was one of the “before” shots of the space. Without any direction or suggestion, I went out to seek funding and turned that space into the TIE lab. I am going to rebuild my digital presence in the same way. Make it a place where people want to come to, to connect, and to share.

TIE Lab VC room