That’s an Ocelot!

Last week in a room full of amazing Minecraft Mentors I received a fun prize from the awesome Dr Bron Stuckey – a Minecraft bobble head hanger! I opened it excitedly then turned to my buddie, the equally awesome Noelene Callaghan, to ask her which character it was. It was at that moment I realised 2 things:

Firstly – whilst I can design authentic and enjoyable Minecraft: Education Edition learning opportunities for my students – my personal knowledge and vocabulary for Minecraft: Education Edition is limited. I realised, as I looked lovingly at my new little bobble head character, that I may be able to marry my ‘pedagogy expertise’ with the ‘Minecraft wisdom’ of my students, to design creative lesson plans, but I need to deepen my personal understanding of the game if I am to grow as a mentor. I need a broader vocabulary!

Secondly – I realised I was probably feeling exactly how teachers feel as they step into the Minecraft: Education Edition world, for the very first time. That is, a feeling of uncertainty as you try to comprehend your new world. Whilst Minecraft: Education Edition wasn’t new to me, the  complexity of some worlds blew my mind! I began to realise that learning to ‘speak Minecraft’ is like learning to speak any new language. If you know a few phrases you are able to understand what is happening and navigate your environment, and you are able to communicate and enjoy the experience. However, you miss the richness and intricacies of many conversations.

These realisations align with what Dr Bron Stuckey has written in her recently published  ‘Minecraft: Education Edition Pathways Across the Australian Curriculum’ (2018)

“You do need to acquaint yourself with the in-world environment. You do need to tinker in Minecraft worlds to at least get a feel and create a vision for where you might take it”.

I do tinker – but I need to tinker more! So where to from here?

I run a school based academy – the Hands Held Out Academy – and I see it as the perfect tool to  help colleagues learn to speak (and then play) Minecraft.

Hands Held Out is the underlying philosophy of my Microsoft Innovator Educator work, that is, I offer a hand held out to colleagues in the area of learning with technology. I work beside colleagues, aiming to build their confidence and skills, setting foundations for their growth, so that they may continue to evolve as creative and innovative educators. I encourage them to focus on ‘thinking in learning’ and to consider options for enhancing learning with technology.  I run 3 workshops per term. The academy workshops would be a perfect way to explore Minecraft: Education Edition and move it beyond code club and Library lessons, and take it into classrooms in 2019!

Across the 2 days I found the work of many mentors exciting and inspiring. However, others that are new to Minecraft: Education Edition may find their work overwhelming and confusing.  I guess in this situation we should consider ourselves ‘interpreters’ – and help those new to Minecraft to ‘comprehend’ the incredible possibilities. We should help them find inspiration too.

The mentor catch-up certainly clarified my direction forward and made visible an amazing network of Minecraft friends. As a group we were ‘infected’ and our brains were left buzzing with possibilities – and for that I congratulate and thank Bron Stuckey and Meenoo Rami.

So watch closely and you may notice a little change in my Hands Held Out Academy logo in 2019!


…and yes! My Bobble head was an Ocelot!