Update: I’m keeping this title even though everything has changed. We’re pretty devoted to the platform now, and once we figured out that we could just use a hosted server for $7/mo, our technical setup challenges have been few. I’d like to emphasize that point – there is a lot of information about setting up a server, but for many of us involved in education or NFPs, using MC within out own problematic networks may NEVER work. Our great tech team struggled for weeks, then one night I just paid $7 to Cubed Hosting and Minecraft was up and running in 5 minutes.
A couple years ago I refused to jump into Minecraft and mod making, because I thought the game would fall out of favor – but now it’s clear it’s here to stay, and I believe, will continue to transform into some kind of development platform for students (both building with cubes, command blocks, redstone and Java modding (someday).
Our Minecraft club has been the cornerston of our new “Social Computer Science” initiative at Have Dreams (see info here) , and for a while, lesson prep involved Googling things like “how to rename a sheep so it turns upside down“, and I was questioning what I was doing with my life. Anyway
So let’s start with the basic setup and move into curriculum and activities.
– I just use vanilla Minecraft and the organization pays the one-time $30 fee for each license. Some kids have their own, which they prefer and saves money.
– No mods (yet – spring of 2015 we’ll start)
So those are the basics of setup.
But after a few sessions, the old questions creep back in: is anyone getting left out? Is everyone being served by this activity? How do we structure this and make it more social, without getting crazy on the technicalities?
Thus… Minecraft Treasure Hunts (with analog aspects) … see post The Book of Trust: Minecraft Lesson Plans (or “How to Gamify Minecraft without Modding)
The video clip below is a little out of date, but this is a tour of what had been built a few months back. I didn’t recognize the powered rails when I did this screen capture, but those are elaborate rollercoasters. The kids are amazing.