I. General Information
School Name: Dorothy Peacock Elementary
School District: SD#35 Langley
Inquiry Team Members: Manny Chui: firstname.lastname@example.org, Shawn Davids: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Name/Email: Manny Chuifirstname.lastname@example.org
II. Inquiry Project Information
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Areas Addressed:
- Applied Design, skills & Technology
- Arts Education
- Career Education
- Language Arts – Oral Language
- Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving)
- Experiential learning
- Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Students will build and strengthen their core competencies, experiential, and growth mindset skills through collaborative and independent learning with Minecraft Edu.
III. Spirals of Inquiry Details
Scanning: Students were engaged when they drove their learning in a medium in which they were interested in, thus creating greater student ownership for their learning growth. Students had the opportunity to develop new skills, reaffirm learnt skills, and peer support each other through creating Minecraft worlds that built their grit and perseverance. By working collaboratively in creating their worlds, students went through trial and error in their designs and collaborations, and in building expectations for guests to enter their world. Collaboration provided an opportunity for students to build on their communication skills through active listening, sharing and compromising on differing ideas, and in taking constructive feedback.
Focus: As a first year teacher librarian, I was interested in learning opportunities that integrate technology and connect to students’ interest in Minecraft Edu, with the support of our district literacy coach. Through this learning experience, I gained greater familiarity with Minecraft Edu, as well as teaching through digital games/opportunities and having students drive the learning progress forward, while taking feedback to help facilitate and support their passion. Students were both leaders and learners as we had a diverse range of student familiarity with Minecraft. The combination of high interest and interactive learning opportunity fostered an engaged and collaborative learning environment for all participants, staff and students alike.
Hunch: Staff and students had opportunities to lead, learn, discover and facilitate our class and individual progress in creating our homes through Minecraft Edu. By facilitating the learning, it provided the space for different “expert” students to take on leadership and mentoring roles to peers who were less familiar with Minecraft. Students do well when they are interested and engaged, and when we provide opportunities for them to demonstrate their knowledge. This was evident through our Minecraft unit.
New Professional Learning: I explored a new avenue to deliver learning: gamifying the learning experience. There are many opportunities to engage learners to create and interact through facilitating game experiences. My instructional coach was a great resource in supporting the facilitation of the learning experience, but also modeled how we do not need to be experts to teach a new experience. Often, students can also contribute to the development and learning processes.
Taking Action: We scaffolded the learning experience and checked-in on students progress before teaching the next steps. This helped ensure we are all equipped with the basic skills to navigate the tasks. Experienced students were able to provide support to their peers and further clarify any Minecraft queries. We went through the Minecraft modes in which we will guide our learning through, and invited students to a teacher created world first, before tasking them to create their own world and then visit it.
Checking: I feel that we have a lot more learning to experience and build upon. Minecraft Edu has already created worlds that can facilitate learning for different content areas, and teachers can have students demonstrate knowledge through their creative builds in Minecraft (ADST, Science, Socials, etc.).
Reflections/Advice: I would encourage colleagues to not be afraid of the learning curve that may occur in trying something new, as students and staff are a team navigating through new endeavors. It’s also a great opportunity to model life-long learning, perseverance, and grit when we struggle and make mistakes. Experiential learning can have unknowns, but it also honours the potentials and avenues in which learning can happen or be demonstrated.