- How easy was it to find a relevant resource? What feature of the search function was useful to you in your search, and why did that appeal to you? Conversely, what feature was missing or prohibited you from easily finding a resource?
- Are there any limitations to the use of your preferred resource for your learners (e.g. copyright licence; login requirements)?
- If the resource’s license and your institutional policy allow use, how could you incorporate this resource into your professional practice? Would you use the whole work as-is, pick-and-choose parts of it, or create a derivative resource from it?
- If the resource has another institution’s or company’s branding (logo, watermark) will that create conflict with your institutional policies?
- How will this help your learners?
- How do you decide when a resource is worth adopting?
- What criteria did you use to evaluate this resource?
- Which source did you find more useful (and why) – the ‘official’ resource bank or the open search?
My topic for research in this exercise was the use of Minecraft in Education. Jorum turned up a blank when I searched for the term ‘minecraft’ no OERs existed in this repository for this subject so I broadened my search to ‘gamification’ and again Jorum returned a blank.
A quick search of YouTube and I quickly came across over 46 million hits that mentioned minecraft, so i revised my search down to ‘Minecraft in education’ which returned 234,000 results. Better. I was further able to reduce my results down to about 11,000 results with the phrase ‘teaching minecraft in education’. Last try to reduce further down; trying ‘teaching minecraft in higher education’ returns 42,000 results. Oh… Ok? so Adding higher education has increased my results, not reduced them.
What if I put Quotes round my search to search for an exact phrase? Ahhh.. better. 3,870 results…
So what have I learned from this experience?
I have learned that the dedicated OER Jorum has no resources to help me teach using minecraft. We know that there are plenty of resources out there, over 3000 on YouTube that can help people to teach using Minecraft, but nobody has written any academic papers on it or created downloadable resources on Jorum. It could also be that YouTube is the preferred channel for distribution for minecraft users generally as it is easy to record your own screen, do a voice over as you are playing and create your own channel on YouTube. Basically the model of home journalism and the ease of self-publishing means that you can quickly and easily get your message out there.
It is also worth noting that although the predominant demographic of minecraft players is suggested as 15-21 years old, (there are no official figures from Mojang on this yet) there are a substantial number of players who are older or have been gamers in the 80’s and 90’s and therefore respond well to the gamification of learning.
I decided to try the other ‘official’ OER resource and these were my findings.
- Merlot had 1 result for Minecraft. It was a link to the iPad app for the Pocket edition of minecraft.
- Learn Higher had 0 resources
- Higher Education Academy had 0 resources
- OpenLearn had 1 resource. It was a description of a project to replicate Stockholm in Minecraft.
- Re:Source returned 0 results
- Society of Biology returned 0 results.
- University of Nottingham returned 0 results
- Creative commons search returned 3 results but none of the links were still working.
Interestingly, searching youTube for ‘Minecraft biology’ returned over 42,000 results. There is even a Biology MOD available for Minecraft, (Mod = modification to the original vanilla, out-of-the-box installation of the game or server). The presence of a mod would indicate that there are developers keen to push the educational aspects of Minecraft and therefore add weight and validity to it as a teaching tool.
So far, the clear winner is the open resource rather than the official resources in this subject.
Key criteria for evaluating these tools for teaching would have to be availability, sharing potential and relevance. I would have to screen the resources first to pull out several key clips, but I could put them in my own playlist and then send out the link to the playlist to my learners.
As far as permissions go YouTube has the advantage that everything published out on a public licence is freely available to link to or embed in to your own resources. Educational resources in private channels can be used as long as you consider the ‘fair use policy‘. Without going in to a wealth of issues surrounding copyright law and how it differs in each country, UK law basically states two things for Educational use:
- Quote your source
- Ensure fair use
Quoting your source is simply a matter of referring to where you obtained the material from. It acknowledges that you are not the creator of the piece. Ensuring fair use is a bit trickier, but again, in very simple terms, you agree that you are not going to make direct commercial gain from the resource and that it is being used to teach people in an educational context. (Somebody will no doubt comment on this as the subject is a lot more complex than that).
- My preferred resource for this subject is YouTube.
- It does not require people to have a log in to view
- The majority of the work is available publicly under creative commons and fair use policy.
- I evaluated the resource using with 3 key criteria in mind; Availability, sharing and licencing
- I decided which resources were worth adopting by watching the videos and creating a playlist which I could share.