For those of you who have never played Minecraft.
Playing Minecraft is a whole heap of fun. You can dig up the earth, rocks and precious ores in the ground and turn them in to useful building materials to make houses, castles and dungeons. You can craft things into weapons, tools and armour.
You can punch a tree and get wood to turn in to planks and sticks. You can turn those planks and sticks into chests, torches, boats and a whole many different things.
You can find the magical redstone ore which acts like electrical wires to connect with other crafted electrical circuitry. You can use this to make redstone contraptions of almost infinite variation and use.
You can engage in combat with other people (Player vs Player or PvP) or you can hide away in a single player world and never see anyone else. Or you can build fantastical and complex structures with others on a server. You might want to trade with a villager or go hunting skeletons in dungeons and caves.
You can choose to play in survival mode and run, fight or protect yourself from the hoards that come out at night. You can hunt for food and make recipes for cake or bread from crops grown and harvested. You can even breed your own animals on a farm.
You might want to play in creative mode where you have the whole world of building blocks at your fingertips so you can build whatever you like without having to mine, dig or hunt for it.
Minecraft can be so many different things to so many different people.
For those of you familiar with Minecraft
You know what the game is about, or have seen it in action right? Well, have you ever tried to control a group of 30 kids on a server at the same time? Do you know what happens when they get hold of a bucket of water and try to flood the world? Well, working with Minecraft in an educational context is a very different experience from playing yourself either on your own or on someone else’s server.
If you are going to be serious about running Minecraft in an educational context with more than 1 participant (home schoolers teaching their child at home may also want to listen up) you should know about setting up a server (week 2), whether the server should be in the cloud or on your own network, how to administrate a server and decide how or if you are going to protect your worlds (there are two schools of thought on this which we will be discussing in week 3). You need to know whether the MinecraftEDU version is right for your use and what the limitations of running it are for clubs and out of school activities.
You might want to know about how to convince your administrators/managers/Principals, whoever holds the cash in your organisation, about the benefits of Minecraft in education and have to put together a presentation on the topic. You might even be writing bids for funding and have to explain why you want to play a game in your lessons… (We will cover that in week 5).
What about extending the game beyond the virtual world? How can you increase your impact? Have you thought about 3D printing from Minecraft? or baking Minecraft cakes? Week 6 is all about going beyond the game and looking at ways you can leverage the power of this engaging tool to extend your reach.
How do I achieve?
So, Hopefully this gives you a bit of an idea about why you are here and some of the topics we will be covering.
How do you achieve on this MOOC? By taking part, contributing to discussions, helping other people and trying things out in your own games.
Those of you who have contributed to the glossary already are achieving. All of you who have posted in the discussions and helped another person out are achieving. The Assignments are simply a way of structuring your learning and are the core of the MOOC. There is so much more to gain from having a go and sharing your experiences with us all.