Daily Archives: November 5, 2012

Tech Talk Tuesday: Google Maps and Apps

When: Tuesday, November 6th 4-5pm, Melbourne, Australia time gmt+11

About this session:

  1. Learn how to create active google maps and add pins which feature images, videos, hyperlinks etc. See skippy, a year 10 student’s google map
  2. How to embed them on to an online space so that they are still live and editable.
  3. Discuss some classroom and personal applications
  4. Walk through some other collaborative google apps including Document and Presentation

Come along with your questions, your curiousity and experiences and share in the conversations. Here is the link to the recording of this session.

Are there any questions that you might have? Have you used google maps in the classroom? How have you used them? What could you share? Please add as a comment below.


Early Days with Minecraft

After hearing so many positive comments about Minecraft, I was keen to introduce it into my year 9/10 Gaming elective. Over the last 5 years, I have chanced upon, deliberately chosen to experiment with and used a network to learn how to immerse technology into the classroom. However, with minecraft, I faced my first real technical, unsurmountable hitch that was completely reliant on the technicians doing it for me and I had now lost control!

There were troubles getting minecraftedu in a useable form, allowing students to log on with individual usernames. Year 7 students were working on minecraft with Quantum Victoria. All stops were pulled out and our technician worked with the games developer from Quantum, but due to the problems, I was told by both my principal and technician “It is only a game!” Fortunately, contact with minecraftedu has now allowed us to use a BETA form and the game was ready to play last week.

Here is how it played out last week:-

  1. Surveyed the class – 2 of the 10 students who are playing minecraft are experienced – the rest are completely new
  2. I had a quick 1 hour lesson on minecraft from the technician. That was ‘mind’ overload, but I was really impressed with the nature and potential of this game. As a teacher, I was shown some of the control that I had over the students.
  3. Quick decisions were made to simply throw my year 9/10 students into the world and just let them go! The night beasties were deliberately turned off to give the newbies are start in life in minecraftedu
  4. The lesson started by sharing the logging on process. From the newbies the first question was “How do I move?”

What I saw:-

  • The newbies simply explored during the 100 min class time – they dug down, killed pigs, got lost, bumped into each other, had to respawn, drowned in water etc.
  • The experienced proceeded to build shelters/homes, gather tools for building, hunting etc
  • The kindness and generousity of one of the experienced lads who quickly built a house, added light torches, a stove for cooking and put many tools for others to grab in his tool box. The other students made use of his tools and added them to his inventory.
  • Another experienced player, went straight to the temple and grabbed all the hidden treasures there for his own inventory. Greed was starting to make a play.
  • Students helping each other, sharing what they learnt, answering the questions of others, spending time to mentor.
  • One of the newbies, went wandering far exploring (but he is an experienced gamer). Decided to add to huge cactus to his roof top so that he could find his space again.
  • Engagement for the complete 100 mins

What I heard:-

  • lots of questions initially
  • sheer silence at time
  • lots of laughter
  • shouts of excitement

What I felt

  • a sense of pride and achievement in the students
  • a sense of collaboration amongst the students
  • community building
  • collaborative group work

Day two – unfortunately illness in the family prevented me from being with the students for this class. When I questioned them as to how they went:-

  • the boy who put the cactus on his house couldn’t locate it at all, so started building again. He does not want to build near or with the others
  • the girls excitedly told me that there were creatures that came in the night now that they had to fight off. They commenced a building of their own and were intrigued to see ‘admin’ floating above them and chatting to them in their world. (That would have been our techie). They didnt know what to do next, so started to find tutorials to teach them. One of them spent several nights at home learning online about it.

Overall Result: – I am having problems with the number of students who are wanting to come in at every possible recess or lunchtime to keep ‘playing’ with minecraft!