Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Teaching Minecraft. Sigh.

Actually, it's more like a double sigh. Or just two long days of sighing.

I am a fan of game-based learning and in my ambitious desire to meet students where they're at, I thought, "Ah, a Minecraft enrichment course. Perfect." Um... Not so perfect. The concept is perfect, but the process is far from it. I spent so many hours on the computer trying to get all of the students' MinecraftEdu accounts connected to one central server that, I'm quite certain, my eyeballs were spinning.

The idea that MinecraftEdu has taken a popular game and modified it to make it appropriate for classroom use is brilliant, if only I could get it to work. There are a multitude of videos, wikis, blogs and sites dedicated to helping people like me configure their account quickly and sans hair-pulling-out. Sadly, between firewalls, "unable to connect" messages and a loss of patience, I left the school with slumped shoulders and a frown. Fingers crossed that tomorrow will result in jumping for joy and celebratory high-fives. Wish me luck! And send advice if you have any!

P.S. - For any MinecraftEdu aficionados, I installed the MinecraftEdu Classroom and was able to successfully get on the server, but after installing the client on school iMacs, I just kept getting a message that it wasn't able to connect to the server. I was using the offline mode to avoid any firewall issues but it didn't seem to help.

P.P.S. - The IT guy was out sick today and I am hoping and hoping (and hoping some more) that 1) he'll be back tomorrow and 2) he'll snap his fingers and it will all work perfectly. It's generally the case that his mere proximity makes tech issues magically vanish. It's the whole the-car-works-perfect-when-you're-at-the-mechanic syndrome.


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