How to effectively use Minecraft in Education

In this UsingTechnologyBetter Show, we talk about about how to effectively use Minecraft in Education. Below you will find the recording of the video and the show notes. If you would like to receive an email invite to our next UsingTechnologyBetter Show click HERE.

Video Recording:

Video Highlights:

0:00:58 What is a Minecraft Camp and Workshop?
0:07:49 Two different Minecraft Servers for teachers
0:11:28  Minecraft server demonstration
0:17:50 Best Way to Get Started with Mincraft in Education
0:23:45 Using Technology Better Conference and Minecraft
0:25:00 Ways to Play on Minecraft Server
0:28:26 Essential strategies of for using Minecraft in the Classroom
0:31:20  Using Minecraft to encourage writing and literacy and World of Humanities
0:36:35  Ensuring your success of minecraft in education

LINKS FROM THE SHOW: → download the book! = the i.p address for Tim’s server = keep up to date with what Tim is up to Using Technology Better Conference Contact us: tim[at] Mike[at]


Mike:  Hi everybody.  Thanks for watching today’s recording.  Sorry you couldn’t watch it live.  Google had, for some reason, deleted all of our events.  So I have still have managed to do a hang out with Tim.  As you can see on the screen, Tim is from a company called Think Fizz, and he’s actually on a road trip, at the moment and has taken some time out.  You might notice he looks like he is in a bit of a different location but that’s all good. Think Fizz does a lot of work in schools around bring your own device, around game-based learning, but I guess what Tim is really known for is his work around Minecraft, in the Minecraft camps and also workshops that he runs for students.  So I guess my first question for you Tim, is tell me a little about these Minecraft camps and workshops that you’re running. Tim:  Sure.  Hi everyone.  I am here on the Sunshine Coast, at the moment, and that’s a green screen behind me.  I am not really in a tent.  The Minecraft camps, there’s two different sort of things I do at the moment and one is Minecraft camps, which is sort of for the kids, on the weekend, I hold a full-day event and the kids come in and we have a structured Minecraft session. Minecraft education workshops are where I PD teachers on how they can use Minecraft in the classroom to reach educational outcomes.  I should say that when I do those PD’s that I always insist that kids are actually present and I’ll get into the more a little bit later but that’s around a leadership component that I’ve got through all of the Minecraft stuff I do whether it’s camps or workshops. Mike:  Right.  So the difference between a camp and a workshop is a workshop you bring teachers and students together and teach them but a camp is more along the lines of like a weekend that a school would bring in and then invite students in and you’ll spend a day or two with the students, is that right? Tim:  Yeah.  The camps don’t necessarily involve a school.  Camps are more about kids having fun and about them starting to experience Minecraft in a more structured environment and I introduce a lot of kids to multiplayer, which is where they’re going to start to collaborate and behave themselves. The camps are done on weekends and holidays.  I do them with and for schools during the week however mostly they’re done weekends and holidays.  The education workshops are specifically so teachers can get the skill set that they need and the information they need to get started with Minecraft in the classroom or through the school. Sometimes it’s actually around starting up a club, schools want to start like that sometimes.  The reason I have kids involved is because first for two reasons and the first, three actually, the first is that it grounds the teachers and I find the teachers get a much more deep sort of experience from it. It’s that the kids are great coaches.  You couldn’t get better coaches really.  That’s of a benefit to the teachers.  They get to see the kids in action.  They get to learn from the kids but also the kids get that coaching and leadership skill set that come from what they need to do in that role. Mike:  That’s really cool.  I think you’re right.  Sometimes students can be the best coaches especially for teachers and staff around technology.  I think that’s a great thing. Tell me how did you get into Minecraft?  I am always interested in how people come to land on a specialty.  What was it about Minecraft that attracted you I guess? Tim:  Man, it’s funny.  I was working for the Department of Education in the Northern Territory training teachers in innovative technologies and so I first came across it where someone threw the idea out that we should trial some games-based learning, focus within the Department of Education, someone thought.  I had heard of Minecraft and mentioned it and so we eventually – we basically looked up the guy in Australia that knows the most about Minecraft, at that time, that was Steven Alford, who is based in Sheppard in Victoria.  Steve is in the school up there and does a lot of really deep work with middle school students around Minecraft. That’s when I first heard of it.  Steve came up and gave me some basic training in how to set up a server and run a server.  I helped a couple classrooms introduce it and like a lot of things in the Department it didn’t have drive say from say the leadership in the schools or from the leadership in the Department so it just sort of didn’t really go anywhere as far as that project went. But what got me fired up were a couple different things.  The first was that my son at 7 had started playing it and I hadn’t taken a lot of notice.  I didn’t think much of it.  He was trialing all sorts of different games at that age but this game he kept coming back to it and he very correctly transferred from a mobile device across to the computer, which he hadn’t done with any other game.  I started taking notice of that. But then he called me into the office, you know, into our office area one day and said, “Look at what I’ve built.”  He showed me this huge castle.  If you know Minecraft you’re there 3D days so we were walking through doorways into rooms and he was explaining this is your room, Dad.  I put a TV on the wall and there’s a fire for you to keep warm and here’s the bathroom and this is where we’re going to have meals and every area, like he was able to really describe why he had done everything and that’s when I started to ask then how did you do it?  Actually, no, I’ll take a step back.  Initially I didn’t think he had done it.  Initially I thought he was just taking me somewhere that someone else had built or that he found but then he kept saying, “Dad, I’ve built this” and then he showed me how he had actually done that. At that stage, I started to take the game seriously.  What actually got me involved in a business sense and really started to drive my passion and my work in schools was that I left the Department of Education and started an education consultancy and I really wanted to do something in games-device learning but I didn’t know what. I had listened to Wes Fryer.  I listen to a lot of podcasts and I was just listening to Wes Fryer who is a fantastic educator in the states and he had recorded this thing called a scratch camp.  Scratch is a coding, a really basic coding sort of piece of software that is a drag and drop sort of thing so the kids can learn how to get started in coding and he was holding this cam and scratch and what he did is he just recorded what was going on and I could hear, the noise was overwhelming and the energy was high and positive and he was explaining to the kids, he didn’t even explain to us, everything that he was saying to the kids was self-explanatory.  This is why we are doing it and this is what we’re going to do next. I just had a bit of one of those moments, a light bulb moment, where I went oh wow.  Minecraft is massively popular and surely it will transfer across to the same sort of things what Wes was doing so I rang a mate, that was a principal in the school, and within three weeks we were running our first camp.  It was using, at that stage, Minecraft EDU, with the blessing of the creator of that model. Mike:  It would be great if you could just share your screen and just show us some of the things that you’re doing around that.  I’ve got a 9 year old and an 11 year old and they are right into Minecraft, both on computers and iPads and so on.  We just bought Ben a book in the holidays, my son who is 9 and it shows him how to construct all these things and what you need to do to create. Tim:  Yeah, those Mojang books are really good value.  Just before I do take you for a quick tour, there are two different sorts of Minecraft really, as far as the teachers are concerned.  The main one that teachers will use is called Minecraft Edu and the reason I say that is that it has a graphic user interface that’s really easy for teachers to get their heads around. When we’re teaching, for example, we may want to freeze everyone so that we can get some explicit information out and Minecraft Edu allows you to do that. Minecraft Edu also allows you to run a group or a LAN so you’re able to network and it allows you to run that offline.  Now the reason I mention that is in schools, I’ll give you a couple of examples, schools in the Northern Territory, in Queensland, for example, it’s very difficult to convince the department to unblock a port.  Minecraft, to go online, needs a port open, a specific port 25565. In Victoria, now we’re talking in Australia here, of course, and Victoria being another state, in Victoria it’s up to the school.  So if I got to Victoria, we can play online.  We can join servers that are online and we can play online by ourselves or join other kids.  It’s very, very easy.  In the Northern Territory, in Queensland, we simply can’t do that so Minecraft Edu becomes the only option for Minecraft because we can play it offline. Mike:  Yeah, good. Tim:  So I thought I would just mention that before I show you.  What I am going to show you is a server that I’ve created.  As I got my camps up and running in this Minecraft education workshops, I started to see things that I wanted to have that Minecraft Edu weren’t providing.  I knew Minecraft Edu was going to be an awesome solution for most teachers because no one really wants to become an expert at everything.  You want to become good at what you’re using but you don’t need to become an expert.  Minecraft Edu allows that. But I did want to become an expert in that area so I started to study Minecraft and I built a server that will allow me to have, for example, I don’t want to have swearing running on my server.  I had a kid the other day that used WTF and there were quite a few kids on the server that were offended by it and it got my attention so what I was then able to do was to go into a plug-in or an area and actually type that word in and now that word can’t be used.  When someone uses that word, in chat, in the game, the word flowers comes up instead of WTF. Mike:  Wow, that’s cool. Tim:  I am able to manipulate the game and modify the game to allow it.  I’ll just do a bit of a screen share now.  What you’re going to see is the server.  The server actually has 16 different worlds on it and you can just have a quick look and see how many kids are on there or people.  At the moment we’ve got 11 kids online. This is the hub and this is a place that everyone comes to and from here those purple doorways you can walk through and they take you to different worlds.  Now what I am going to do now, Mike, is I am going to take you – there’s all sorts of different worlds.  I am not going to explain all because they’re not necessarily of educational value or if they are, the people that are watching this can come and suss it out for themselves. I actually have four worlds that they can come and check out for free.  The thing is if you’re a teacher and I can verify you’re a teacher, then I am going to let you come in and have full access to the server because it’s a great place to learn about Minecraft, in a really safe environment.  But do be aware that I vet every adult that comes onto the server just to keep it safe. Mike:  That’s a good idea. Tim:  What I am going to do is take you to a world called Quest.  I’ll take you through a portal, if I can remember where it is.  I am going to take you to a world called Quest because Quest are challenges.  This is the doorway, challenges in Quest you can do to earn money.  We have an in-game currency that allows you to improve your inventory, improve what you’ve got and what you can do.  Here I am in Quest world. What we’ve got is a group of different people here that offer us different challenges.  So we’ve got a house designer here called the.  We’ve got carpenter, Reggie.  We’ve got the majors apprentice, we’ve got a miner.  We’ve actually got someone here that’s from Greening Quest Landing so they’re an environmentalist.  Actually when I click on them, I think I have to have my hands empty.  So here I am in the world.  This is me.  I am in this world called Quest. I am going to right click on Joe and that will allow us to – I’m just going to get rid of that chat actually.  There you go.  So right click on Joe and Joe said, “I’ve got some jobs for you.  I want you to either plant some trees, sow some grass or go and get some bone meal.”  Now bone meal is a natural fertilizer.  They’re reasonable things for an environmentalist to ask for.  I think that’s going to cancel.  Those are moving too slow.  I’m going to type in cancel.  So right click on Joe again and this time I am going to choose plant trees. Type number one and it says you may only have one Quest.  Give me a sec.  I’ve obviously got a Quest open.  Right click on Joe again, press number one, then it says there needs to be more trees planted around the outside of the city.  You want to earn some money?  Yeah.  I need to spell it right.  It says the Quest has accepted plant trees so I’ve got to go out and first of all I have to break 50 leaves. Now I know, as a player, there’s a reason for that.  You might not as a new person.  The reason to break leaves is to get saplings so you can plant more trees.  So basically anyway Joe has given me the quest to plant some trees.  I have to go out, break some leaves, plant some trees and once I’ve planted these 10 or 15 trees, I’ll get a message saying you’ve completed the quest go back and see Joe and Joe gives you your reward. I guess the reason I want to introduce this idea to you is that the next stage of what we’re going to do in this Quest world, is we’re going to start introducing an academic factor.  For example, when you come into Quest land here, you will actually have the option to go into the art area or the math area or the English area and you’ll go up to someone like Joe and right click on them and they’ll give you a quest which might be, Mike, have we got time?  Can I give you an example of the quest? Mike:  Yeah, man, go for it.  This is really cool. Tim:  One of the quests, I’ll give you two really short examples.  One of them would be, if it was in math and it depends, you know, it depends on how much time I’ve got to set this up I guess but let’s say it’s an early childhood sort of primary or elementary session and you want to cover multiplication so he goes to see Joe and Joe asks him to set up three paddocks and each paddocks needs to be seven meters by eight meters and each block represents a meter so once you’ve completed those three paddocks, you go back and see Joe and he congratulates you and gives you the in-game reward. Then the next, because you have stages within these quests, the next stage of the quest could be that you then need to go and find and put seven horses into each paddock.  You then would need to represent, when you add them all together, when you do 7 times 3 is 7 groups of three, you need to represent your answer and kids, in my mind, at least, and the way I teach, kids can represent it in many, many different ways.  They might do it in game, they may actually create a book and write the answer.  They may write the number 21 in blocks and then take an aerial view of it.  They may write it down on a piece of paper or send me an email. For me, it doesn’t matter how I get the answer, as long as they can show that they’ve reached the outcome.  The beauty of Minecraft is that kids can take screenshots so you’ll often get them taking screenshots of the different stages it takes them for them to reach their outcome and of course you and I being Google guys we encourage the kids and teachers to use let’s say Google sites to provide that digital evidence of their learning. Mike:  Yeah, right. Tim:  I hope I am not talking too fast, man, because I start to get pretty excited when I cover this sort of thing. The other thing I’ve done with this and that I am going to introduce is, for example, if a teacher says I want a specific book and I want to have outcomes from that book and it will need to be in English and it need to be at year five, for example, one book that I’ve done, I’ve worked with a teacher on in Minecraft was called 27 Stella Street.  Someone will correct me on that I am sure but it’s something like that.  It’s a number and Stella Street. But what we did is we got the kids to split into groups of five and we designated an area for them in each world and I guess in the Quest world what we do is Joe will give you the quest to say you’ve read 27 Stella Street, no go out and replicate that street with four of your classmates. You go out and you replicate that.  The kids will then need to build the street the way they believed it to look from what they’ve read in the book.  Once that’s done, then they come back, click on Joe and they get a reward.  I think what’s really something there is Joe can then introduce a new stage where he can then ask you to go and rebuild the street the way it will look in ten years time. This is a city.  Now I didn’t build this city.  I found the city and I’ve made sure that I have acknowledged the person that built it, on the website that we’ve got.  One of the quests, some of the quests are around banking so you get into the economy side of things.  You’ve got to come in here and do jobs for the bank, for example, which is what this building is. Mike:  Yeah, right.  Obviously if you were going to start from scratch, that’s going to take you a fair bit of time to set all that up.  Is the best way for a teacher to get involved in this to find a server like yours or can they get on the Minecraft Edu server and is there things already set up for them that they can just set their students free? Tim:  No, there’s not.  That’s a really good question, Mike.  Most people that can see the engagement and want to tap into it, their first question is how do I go about it and then where can I tap into it. At the moment, as a teacher, I encourage you to find the server that’s reasonably safe and a server that has other teachers on it. My server is called The Buddy Verse and there’s currently three teachers that are on here pretty much every day.  We’re on here because we moderate the site.  There’s a lot of kids that come and play here and we want to make sure they’re safe but we also like to do teacher talk and around that is the desire for us to build an academic component into our server.  So if someone wanted to come and practice here and have a play that would be fine.  If someone wanted to come and help out and help us get the academic side set up, that would be fantastic. You might, as a teacher, might approach me and say, “Tim, I can access Minecraft online and I might need a bit of help with getting accounts and stuff set up, but could I – would you be able to help me set something up that we can access online?”  The answer to that would be yes. What I would probably do is set up a separate world for your kid.  So when they go into that hub, so I’ll just go back there, go to through the purple doorways, we just create another purple doorway that would be – if you open, how we say here in Australia, might be 5R, so year five classwork for Mr. Reading.  This might be 5R’s doorway and 5R could then come to the hub and go through this doorway and you’d have a specific area that only they are able to get into and only they are able to build in and the teacher can give specific guidelines. So that’s how you can get started without having to build stuff yourself and I think that’s what is slowing a lot of people down is that where do you start. If you’re left to your own devices and you’ve got to start reading up and build things from scratch, it can be really daunting. If you are going to go down that track, Minecraft Edu is the way to go.  Minecraft Edu is pretty easy to set up.  You do need to do a little bit of research on it but what you’ll find is that kids know so much about Minecraft now.  They’ll ask you for all sorts of things.  They’ll ask you for mods and they’ll ask you for when can I have this and when can I do that? What I encourage teachers to do constantly is just to say, “Look, Minecraft Edu is their best bet at getting Minecraft into the school.  So you’re going to need to chill and accept whatever we put in front of you.  Are you happy with that?”  Most kids would put their hand up and say yeah I’m really happy with that. You just need to be aware of how to get that message across to kids otherwise they’ll, if you don’t set it up like that, they’ll often throw their hands up in despair and say this is nothing like Minecraft that I play.  If you can sort of beat them to the punch and say this is not going to be Minecraft like what you play at home, this is going to be educational modification, work together, make sure we can have Minecraft in our school.  If you start like that, that’s wise. Minecraft Edu is a nice easy way to start, if you’re willing to do a bit of research and you’re willing to make mistakes.  There is a really good and big Minecraft Edu community out there.  There’s a fantastic Google group on Minecraft Edu. Minecraft Edu themselves have a really thorough Wiki.  If you go to, that’s a good start.  One of the benefits of Minecraft Edu is they actually provide a server.  You don’t have to build it.  You basically just download it and start it.  That then allows kids to join into this one world that you’ve created. Mike:  Yeah, right.  I’m assuming that if students are on it and they know how to use it, I guess you could give them the responsibility of building it, in a sense.  Would that come back to that leadership module in a sense that you could say the students – you guys need to have some level of ownership over this, in terms of creation, in terms of managing and soon?  Would that work as well? Tim:  It would.  I don’t – I’ve tried both.  When I first introduced Minecraft into a classroom, we went with a leadership model first and foremost.  The problem with that was that there was some very like really cluey, almost hacker type kids in the class and we had to stop and start again because they got control of stuff before we knew what we were doing. A lot of kids will be fine with that but we just had a couple kids that were – that’s the way they wanted to play the game and it spoiled it.  That spoiled it for a lot of kids. What I’d do is I get my head around the concept.  You don’t have to learn that much about Minecraft.  You just got to have your head around how it works for you as an educator.  I am almost the opposite of a control freak in the classroom but with Minecraft you go in and start with some sort of control. What I’ve learned is that when you are using Minecraft and you don’t have structure, and you don’t have that form of control, there will be tears within three minutes easily.  The kids that have that desire to sort of have power over others in the game will find ways to frustrate, annoy and what’s called grief other kids. So if you set a structure up and it just has to be a basic sort of structure and the kids understand it and they understand the game is going to be taken away if we don’t all play right and also show them what’s coming.  Show them.  Here’s the leadership model that I want to introduce.  Here’s what I where I want you guys to fit in.  This is how I want you to be a part of it.  It will take no time at all for you to go from that point A to point B but I really think as the teacher you need to take some responsibility for knowing about the game and how you want it to look. Mike:  That’s going to be really good.  One of the things that we wanted to let everyone know as well as that in September and beginning of October this year we’re running a conference called The Using Technology Better Conference and the conference is going to be built around the whole concept that you pick a strand and you stick with it all day and this is a perfect example of why we’ve designed a conference like this. Tim is going to be speaking at both of those conferences, the one in Sydney on the 29th and 30th of September and also in Adelaide on the 2nd and 3rd of October.  You’re going to get five hours, four and half five hours, to sit with Tim in a small group and just get this stuff sorted. Step one, right through to the end, understanding how servers work, how to avoid all the pitfalls and so on.  It’s just highlighting to me once again only just the slightest understanding of how this goes.  You certainly piqued my interest but I guess my initial response is gosh it sounds so good but I don’t know where to start.  We’ll put some links into the show notes.  Obviously not everyone can attend that conference but I would even say to people overseas like September is a beautiful place to be in Australia and it would be worth coming over and have a wake over here and spending a couple days with us.  I guess we’ll put some links into the show notes and certainly send that out in the email.  If people wanted to get a hold of your server and just have a play around, what’s the easiest way for them to be able to do that? Tim:  I try to have a chat initially. They can email me.  tim [at] I am pretty tapped into most social networks so they can find me through Twitter, etc.  If they know what they’re doing, if they’ve got a Minecraft account, they can actually just jump onto the server.  It’s  If that’s gibberish, then just email me and say, “I heard what you are talking about.  It interests me but I’ve got no idea where to start.” What I’ll do is I’ll help lead you through what you need to do because you’ll need to get an account.  What I run is a legitimate server so there’s no non-paid accounts.  Minecraft require you to buy an account for $27 Australian.  I need to help you get that sort of set up.  Go through email.  That will be the easiest way. Mike:  Yeah, right.  Then come and have a look at your strand at the conference, right?  That’s going to be really cool. Tim:  Man, I’m really excited about the – I’m calling it UTB.  I am really excited about the UTB conference and the reason being that I actually did a – I was at a Google Apps for Education summit and I did one of those one-hour sessions on Minecraft.  I’ve done lots of different sessions at the GAFE summits.  The one I did on Minecraft people were flowing out the doors.  It was just that much interest, which I thought there would be, but it was for an hour, man. All I did was pique people’s interest and probably like what we’re doing now.  Just getting them interested enough so that they can ask more questions but at that UTB conference, man, we are going to drive there.  I’m going to bring computers along. I’ve got 24 laptops so anyone that wants to actually jet – the idea will be is that we’ll actually do some stuff in the game. I am going to show them, we’re going to walk around my server because it’s really cool, but we’re also going to fire up Minecraft Edu and we’ll have a look at that because it is different and what we’ll do is we’ll have a look at how to get it set up but we’re also going to like plan lesson together and I am also going to teach a lesson so they can be the students and master it that way as well. So we’re really going to drive down into it.  Ask questions all day.  I actually think that this is going to be the optimal way of getting a head around Minecraft in education. Mike:  I am really excited about it and keen to have you along.  Obviously there’s not much interaction.  Normally we’d have a Q&A app going and we’d have Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus and kind of split my personality eight different ways to keep on top of all the questions that are coming through. We’ve got some questions from people who filled out the form so just to let you know every time we get you to register for this it’s because we want to be able to engage with you and be able to send your recordings and also to make sure that we have the opportunity for you to ask us questions before. So Carolyn in New Zealand has asked a couple of really good questions and you’ve kind of talked about it a little bit but I guess this one talks more around time and so on.  She says, “How are teachers using Minecraft in their regular classrooms.”  We’ve talked about that a little bit but we have a handful of computers and a limit of time so this whole concept of maybe I’m not a one-to-one school.  Obviously time is of the essence.  What sort of strategies do you have around that? Tim:  How they’re using it in a regular classroom, most of the schools I visit thus far haven’t been schools that have a heap of laptops or the classroom can have access to.  Some of them have computer labs so they can have everyone on a computer but more often than not we actually need to pair up.  I’m wishing for the day where we don’t have to do that. Sometimes rather than actually pair up on the computer at the same time, which is a bit old school, what we do is we just actually do what most modern teachers do and we actually run different sessions at a time so if, for example, we were doing that English component that I was talking about before, say we had a grade five class and you were getting them to replicate the 27 Stella Street, what we might actually do is get – you got access to five computers or six computers and you split the kids into groups of five, actually just get one group to go on and do it at a time. That one group is doing – five of them are doing their street together. I think it’s important that if you can get them to work together, that collaboration in this game.  Until you see it for yourself, there’s just no way of getting the message across.  Like every time I have a teacher, I have an open door policy at my camps and I’ve always begg teachers to come in and have a look because the moment they get in and they see how the depth to which kids or how deeply they’re collaborating, how connected they are and work together, it’s stunning. Anyway, they work in small groups, that’s how I do it.  How else do we do things?  We’ve all got limited resources.  I’ll often have one group doing perhaps a journal around it.  Another group might actually be doing an animation or a Claymation, if you’ve got mobile devices.  That’s how I function in the classroom. In fact, I would go so far as to say it doesn’t really benefit you to have everyone online at the same time anyway.  The other aspect of it, sorry, Mike, we have Minecraft Edu, like I said, it’s not real easy to have an online component.  If you were I would tap into something like my server and you can actually have kids doing work at home. Actually they’ll do way more at home than you would have expected and they’ll actually humbug you at night and before the start of the next day for you to go in and have a look at the work they’ve done.  That’s what has been my experience with it.  That’s one way of overcoming time is to tap into an online environment. Mike:  Yeah, right.  I bet you, man.  If a teacher had put homework for my son on Minecraft, he’d do it.  No problems.  You need to just work out.  That would be funny. Carol also asks teachers in 7 to 9 year olds using to motivate reluctant writers.  So around that writing literacy side of thing, I understand the maps and the geography and so on.  What about writing and literacy? Tim:  Yes, two aspects to that, that I’ve seen become really successful and the first is quite naturally for them however they’re normally doing their writing in the classroom, if you’re linking it into Minecraft, if you’re – say for example, you want them to report on something that they’ve done, you want them to build a recipe or list what they’re going to do the next day or create a story around the reasons for what they did in Minecraft. Whatever it is, whatever genre you’re looking towards, if connecting it to Minecraft and you’ll find that alone engaged and encourages them to write more than what they may normally do, however, there’s another aspect and it’s not handwriting and I understand how important handwriting is to our kids, but when it comes to literacy, you can actually create books in Minecraft and kids can create stories. Now if you start doing that, you’ll find that kids that don’t normally write will go nuts and they’ll create page after page after page of writing.  In fact, what I’ve discovered is I’ve started with kids – one thing I didn’t mention, Mike, is the amount of work that I do with kids on the autism spectrum. We can go into that in more detail later or on another occasion, but I’ve seen kids who don’t usually write that are on the spectrum that I start with almost complete gibberish on the page and over time that transitions into stuff that we can actually read.  You can actually write books in game and I often get kids to write journals just what they were doing throughout the day. I do that in camps.  They can take screenshots of their journals so what they do is they can actually put the journal in a chest, in a central location where either you can go and check on them.  I never had time to do that so I ask the kids to actually take screen shots of the pages and then deliver them to me either through USB, email or through the Google site, if they’ve got one. Mike:  Nice.  There’s a question coming from Pierre, I think that’s how you pronounce his name or her name from England just saying that they are using Minecraft in humanities, which is working really well. Tim:  In the world of humanities? Mike:  Yeah, world of humanities. Tim:  That’s a world that was created by a teacher in Kuwait, an American teacher who is teaching in Kuwait and that world of humanities it’s like, I haven’t stayed in touch with it but at one stage, at least, it was eight different civilizations that this guy had created so you could go and explore the Greeks.  You could go and explore the Babylonians, the Vikings. I know he has definitely expanded on it since then but it didn’t just go to a place of land where it said we are the Greeks.  He created all these different lesson plans for you to do so that your kids could go from not knowing much about it through to having a really solid understanding of that particular group.  So that’s what they are referring to.  The world of humanities is really awesome. Mike:  Wow, there you go.  See, I would have never known that.  So I guess your people would just go and do a Google search for it.  They’ll find something around it and then – Tim:  They can learn more about it through – it’s predominately through Minecraft Edu.  I haven’t seen it used anywhere else so I am assuming that’s the only place you can use it.  He has done it all for free, man.  He offered it out and it continually updates it.  I know when I first saw it, I just went “wow” that is just something I have got to be a part of and then I realized there has going to be a little bit of work.  you’ve got to do a bit of research.  Get your head around it and then once you do, then the kids take over.  The kids will be asking you for which lesson are we doing next.  Pierre was talking about the world of humanities. Mike:  I think he is in the U.S.  I love it when people in the U.S. stay up and we do apologize.  Rhonda sent me an email just before we started, it’s 1:00 in the morning in the U.S. and she stayed up and wanted to be a part of the show live and then Google went on to delete the thing so we apologize for that.  We appreciate it.  So Vicky, from the U.S. also, says, “Are you going to share anything about the Minecraft multiplayer app?”  Do you know she’s talking about there? Tim:  Sort of.  It’s Vicky, right?  Hey, Vicky!  Thanks for the question.  Because you used the word app, Vicky, I am assuming you mean mobile device.  I’ve definitely used Minecraft on mobile devices in the classroom.  Multiplayer again if you haven’t used it yet, Vicky, I’d encourage you to try it and really try to read some more books initially because if you try to go the whole hog, you try to go ten kids at once, it might get away from you. I also need to fess up, I don’t know a heck of a lot about it mainly because I just find that the education outcomes I can reach through a computer just far outweigh those mobile device but I do understand that there is a lot of you who that’s all you got access to so rip in.  Get the Minecraft PD, popular edition version, but have a play with and just get some structure around it.  Like you put anything else in your classroom. Mike:  I want to finish up with this question here, it’s from Sarah in New Zealand.  She says that she is using it and I am just going to paraphrase the question.  Basically she has said there was a lot of effort that went into playing the game as opposed to learning.  She says to be fair, their creations did show what was required, but she felt that there wasn’t really much deep learning going on, on the topic.  She’s asked this question, which I think is a question that lots of teachers would ask.  She’s going how do you, or do you need to walk that fine line between gamification for the sake of gaming and that engagement side of things and the learning. Tim:  What was her name? Mike:  Sarah.  I mean is it gaming for the sake of it or is it learning? Tim:  You know what, it’s the question.  It’s not a great question, it’s THE question. Look, I don’t think you need to walk a fine line.  I think that it has been a really common part of what I have spoken about this session, it’s structure.  If you take your kids outside to play and you’ve got no structure, what happens?  They run amuck.  It’s exactly the same in Minecraft.  If you’re going to take the kids into a Minecraft environment, you need to have some structure. You need to know what outcomes you’re working towards and you need the kids to understand that this is a lesson.  If they want free time, they’re going to get it at home or you model out some free time at school.  I’m not necessarily for that.  I think you use it as an educational tool.  Have some structure around that.  That’s going to lead away from the play for play sake and if you use that 27 Stella Street, as an example, that session went for two hours and we did not have like even one minute of free play.  It was all around that lesson and the kids loved it. Mike:  The whole thinking is knowing your outcome, have a structure and it’s not like go build this and then we’re mark it at the end.  You actually have to put in some structure in place. Tim:  Isn’t that the same in everything we do in education?  If you just throw it out there and hope it happens, those are the results you are going to get.  Minecraft is the same and because the kids are so, so entertained and so fired up and engaged, it’s actually really easy.  You’ve just got to be really strong about what it’s for.  This is for us, I know you love Minecraft and I know you want it in the school, so this is how it’s going to be and you’ll be right. Mike:  That’s been really good.  It has been a great discussion.  To be honest, I didn’t really, like I understand that my kids play it, but I didn’t really understand the educational benefits of it.  Like I’ve heard about it, I just haven’t had the time to look into it to ask the questions, to have those conversations.  I’ve learned heaps.  I’d love to sit through your session in Sydney or Adelaide and just figure it out. Tim:  You’re welcome to.  Just make sure you book in. Mike:  I might just have to say cancel my strand or something and come and visit yours. Tim:  Listen, if anyone wants to continue the chat, if anyone wants to ask more questions or find out more, they can do it through Twitter @WicksTim on Twitter.  I’ve got Google Plus, what is it  It’s and I’ll tell you, if you were to have a look at some of the stuff that I am doing with camps, that will give you an idea of some of the leadership stuff I am doing and some of the structure, go to the Facebook page. It’s and that will – go down through the stream because I also advertise my camps there.  You might see a bit of advertising and just go past that.  Go past it and have a look for some of the videos of the stuff that we’ve been doing in the camps.  That  Facebook page is really cool. There’s one other point while we’re talking stuff up, man, is I go to  That’s a site I set up initially for educators just to get – for schools to get an idea of where Minecraft can fit in with education. I set that site up so that the schools can get an idea of how they can utilize me but also there’s a book there for download that desperately needs revising but it’s called the educator’s guide to Minecraft that myself and Sean Firth wrote and it’s still worth a read but definitely does need editing.  If you download it, you will, at some stage this year, receive an email from us asking you to go and download the revised edition. Mike:  Nice.  I’ve put your email up there on the screen so people can certainly shoot you an email and then from there they can find you on all the social media bits and  What was the name of that server that you said that you created?  Was it mc. – Tim: Our page address is Mike:  All right, done.  That’s been really good.  So if people want to register for the conference just go there, shoot Tim an email.  Look him up on Google Plus or on Facebook or on Twitter or LinkedIn.  I don’t know, find him somewhere. Tim:  Listen, if anyone wants to catch up with me, I go to some bizarre sort of – I feel a lot of regional areas, so this may or may not apply, but I am going to be in the Sunshine Coast this weekend.  Next weekend I am in Cairns in Northern Australia.  Then the week after that I am Gove, which is in Northern Australia as well sort of half way between Cairns and Darwin.  Then I am in Alice Springs, back in Cairns so over the next month or so I am sort of in the northern part of Australia.  If you’re from around there, feel free to give me a holler.  We might be able to touch base and have a cuppa. Mike:  Excellent.  Hey, Tim, I really appreciate your time today mate.  I appreciate you taking time out of your schedule and out of your road trip and stopping by. Tim:  Anytime, man. Mike:  In a couple of weeks time, Blake will be back from holidays and we’ll be kicking off with another session and hoping to do that session around coding for kids so keep an eye out for an email about how you can register for that one as well.  Until next time, have a great couple of weeks teaching your students and if there is anything we can do to help, by all means, please just shoot us an email or hit us up on social media.  We’ll see you in a couple weeks time.

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