Minecraft for Higher Ed? Try it. Pros, Cons, Recommendations?
Description: Why Minecraft, the online video game? How can Minecraft improve learning for higher education? We’ll begin with a live demo in which all can participate (see “Minecraft for Free”). We’ll review “Examples, Not Rumors” of successful adaptations and USES of Minecraft for teaching/learning in higher education. Especially those submitted in advance And we’ll try to extract from these activities a few recommendations/questions/requests re Minecraft in higher education.
These affordances develop both social and cognitive abilities of students
Nebel, S., Schneider, S., Beege, M., Kolda, F., Mackiewicz, V., & Rey, G. (2017). You cannot do this alone! Increasing task interdependence in cooperative educational videogames to encourage collaboration. Educational Technology Research & Development, 65(4), 993-1014. doi:10.1007/s11423-017-9511-8
Abrams, S. S., & Rowsell, J. (2017). Emotionally Crafted Experiences: Layering Literacies in Minecraft. Reading Teacher, 70(4), 501-506.
Nebel, S., Schneider, S., & Daniel Rey, G. (2016). Mining Learning and Crafting Scientific Experiments: A Literature Review on the Use of Minecraft in Education and Research. Source: Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(192), 355–366. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.19.2.355
Cipollone, M., Schifter, C. C., & Moffat, R. A. (2014). Minecraft as a Creative Tool: A Case Study. International Journal Of Game-Based Learning, 4(2), 1-14.
Nebel, S., Schneider, S., & Daniel Rey, G. (2016). Mining Learning and Crafting Scientific Experiments: A Literature Review on the Use of Minecraft in Education and Research. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 19(192), 355–366. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/jeductechsoci.19.2.355
Uusi-Mäkelä, M., & Uusi-Mäkelä, M. (2014). Immersive Language Learning with Games: Finding Flow in MinecraftEdu. EdMedia: World Conference on Educational Media and Technology (Vol. 2014). Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved from https://www.learntechlib.org/noaccess/148409/
Birt, J., & Hovorka, D. (2014). Effect of mixed media visualization on learner perceptions and outcomes. In 25th Australasian Conference on Information Systems (pp. 1–10). Retrieved from http://epublications.bond.edu.au/fsd_papers/74
The emergence of the chief online officer position at many institutions is strong evidence that online education is becoming more mainstream
Revenue generation and tuition
most responding institutions have online program tuition rates that are aligned with standard tuition or that are higher. Those higher tuition rates ranged from 12 percent of private institutions to 29 percent of four-year public institutions, and lower than standard tuition rates ranged from 3 percent of community colleges to 37 percent of private institutions. None of the larger online programs reported tuition rates for online students that are lower than standard tuition rates, and 20 percent reported higher tuition rates for online study.
Forty percent of chief online officers in larger programs larger programs use instructional design support, and 30 percent use a team approach to online course design. Ten percent outsource course design.
This kind of course development is in stark contrast to practices of chief online officers in mid-sized and smaller programs. Among the smallest online education programs, 18 percent of chief online officers expect faculty to develop online courses independently, and 53 percent treat instructional design support as a faculty option. This means that a combined 71 percent of smaller programs do not mandate the use of instructional design specialists.
In 13 percent of mid-sized programs, faculty are expected to develop courses independently, and in 64 percent of mid-sized programs, they are free to choose whether or not to involve instructional design specialists, yielding a combined 77 percent of programs that do not require the use of instructional design expertise.
Teaching, learning and technology
The CHLOE survey also asked chief online officers to name three technologies or tools they consider most important or innovative for their institution’s fully-online programs. Eighty-one percent first listed an LMS, while others named audio and video conferencing and lecture capture. The technologies most-cited for second- and third-most important were conferencing, video and lecture capture software. (see Plamen’s effort to start faculty discussion on lecture capture here: http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/coursecapture/)
“There was no sign of much-hyped innovations like adaptive learning, competency-based education LMS solutions, or simulation or game-based learning tools,” according to the study. “Such tools may be in use for specific courses or programs but based on responses to CHLOE, these have yet to achieve institution-wide adoption at any scale.” (see Plamen’s efforts start a discussion on game-based learning here: https://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=game-based+learning
Borden and his colleagues teamed up with Edchat Interactive, a company that is working to transform online professional development into a more interactive experience that reflects how people learn best, and Games4Ed, a nonprofit organization that brings together educators, researchers, game developers, and publishers to advance the use of games and other immersive learning strategies in education.
“People don’t learn by watching somebody discuss a series of slides; they learn best by interacting with others and reflecting. Great teachers always have people break into groups to accomplish a task, and then the different groups all report back to the group as a whole. That should be replicable online.”
Adult Learning Through Play
Using simulations for professional development is fairly common. For instance, in SimSchool, a program developed by educational scientists at the University of North Texas and the University of Vermont, new and pre-service teachers can try out their craft in a simulated classroom environment, doing the same activities as actual teachers but getting real-time feedback from the simulated program and their instructors.
Christopher Like, a science teacher and STEAM coordinator for the Bettendorf Community School District in Iowa, developed a game-based model for ed tech professional development that has been adapted by K-12 school districts across the nation. His game, Mission Possible, has teachers complete 15-minute “missions” in which they learn technology skills and advance to successively higher levels. “It engages teachers’ competitive nature just like Call of Duty does with my eldest son,” he wrote in a blog post.
My note: excellent Australian article, which presents a very strong point on digital literacies (metaliteracies, see URL below) from educators (versus library) perspective. Connected with game-based learning, it clearly renders the traditional perspective of information literacy as miniscules and the notion of digital literacy being “information literacy on steroids” as obsolete. It clearly shows that the “xxx-literacies” are clearly not a domain of the librarians and if the librarians do not wised up and allow other faculty who are “not librarians” to equally participate, they might well count with those faculty going on their own (as it is transparent from this article).
connections will be made between digital game-based learning and digital literacies to show that digital game-based learning is a powerful pedagogy that incorporates the elements of digital literacies. Through the adoption of game-based learning, digital literacies can be taught in context. Digital literacies are the skills that connect the learning content (curriculum) and digital games are the platform that these digital literacies can be practised within a meaningful context.
Digital literacies is an umbrella term that includes a combination of literacies – visual literacy, media literacy, collaborative literacy, ICT literacy, information literacy – that are needed to take an active, participatory role in life, now and in the future (Hague & Payton, 2010, p. 2).
Bawden (2008), cites Gilster (1997), who defines digital literacy as “an ability to understand and use information from a variety of digital sources and regard it as literacy in the digital age” (p.18).
Jisc, identify in their Digital Literacy Guidethat it is a concept that is contextual and it is not static. Change is imminent as new technologies develop “at breakneck speeds” (Becker, 2011, p. 76), therefore, it can be inferred the digital literacies required to use these new technologies need to be adaptable and flexible to these changes (Haste, 2009).
Cooper, Lockyer & Brown (2013), highlight this plurality by using the term “multiliteracies” which can be understood as synonymous with digital literacies. Cooper et al. (2013), explain multiliteracies is required as a “broader view of literacy” (p. 94), is needed as a result of the diverse range of communications tools, therefore, context is implied. Ng (2012) also highlights this idea that digital literacy is “the multiplicity of literacies associated with the use of digital technologies” (p. 1066). The combination of multiliteracies and technologies would also suggest that multimodality is an important element of digital literacy (McLoughlin, 2011) .
digital games (Pivec & Pivec, 2011), which can also be called computer games (Whitton, 2011), video games (Turkay, Hoffman, Kinzer, Chantes & Vicari, 2014) or serious games (Arnab et al., 2012) rather than gamification.
Digital game-based learning then is using digital games in the learning environment with the purpose of achieving learning aligned with learning theory.
Cognitive constructivism is a learning theory that game-based learning could be aligned (Orr & McGuinness, 2014; St-Pierre, 2011). This learning theory builds upon the theories of Piaget and Bruner, therefore, an important consideration in the digital game-based classroom would be that choosing games needs to fit the age and level of intellectual development the students are at (St-Pierre, 2011).
A major focus of the socio-constructivist learning theory is that of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (St-Pierre, 2011). The learning is designed “just beyond what the learner can do” (Orr & McGuinness, 2014, p. 223) and takes them beyond where their knowledge already exists.
More on digital literacy (metaliteracy) and DGBL in this IMS blog: