In 2014, some students tried to introduce me to video games. They enjoyed immensely telling me all about them and teaching me stuff, but without actually experiencing the game all became just information. I could not see what they were seeing and neither could I feel what they felt playing.
Even though I felt there was something great about games that made my students invest so much time on them, the truth was that I didn’t believe back then that games had any contribution to give to education, until I had this group of 3 intermediate-level students who were all gamers (two boys and a girl) and they argued that in games they had been learning much more, including English than in school. Trying to get what they were actually talking about, I came across the book “What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy” which gave me lot to think about.
I started 2015 determined to understand games and its potential for education. I started observing my son playing games on the PC and wondering if I ever would be able to use the keyboard like he did and gain the skills he already had at the age of 5. To be honest, I just felt too old to play games. In fact, I had never really played computer games. Last July when I learned about Jeff Kuhn’s presentation in Brazil and contacted him, he told me just to play. I had already been hanging out around games by observing my son playing and having wonderful conversations about the games he played, it was time to start messing around. “Hanging out, Messing around and Geeking out” is a publication from MIT that Jeff Kuhn often mentions in his presentations and it’s worth reading.
Knowing of my interest in games, Jeff and Vance invited me to join the moderation team of EVO Minecraft. And I’m so glad I accepted. As soon as 2015 school term ended, I got my minecraft username, personalized my skin and started playing with my son who already had his and it’s so much fun (Did I actually use the word fun? ) that my husband decided to join us. But fun or the enjoyment we feel while playing in MC is just the result of all the stuff that goes on while we are playing. We plan, we discuss our moves, we run to rescue one another when in trouble and we share our resources when in survival mode.
I’ve heard about MC in education and I had a wonderful year learning about game design and developing/adapting card and board games. In 2016 though, my goal is exploring digital games. And EVO Minecraft MOOC is a great opportunity to get started. Being able to learn with a community of teachers through play, collaboration and reflection is truly awesome. It surely gives us the space we need to experience what those playing actually experience and in good company while learning from each other how it can be used in education. 🙂
Week 1 started today!