As I’ve said before, Minecraft is a fantastic game for many reasons. Not least of which, is the way it sparks the imagination, creativity and inquisitiveness of all players, young and old. I’m not getting paid to blog about the game, but that hasn’t stopped my last batch of (irregularly updated) posts to focus Minecraft. I’m afraid it’ s going to get worse.
After realizing the deep, meaningful connection the game had made with some of my former students, I just had to introduce it to a new batch of kids.But this time I wanted to do something a little bigger. Already, I had used Minecraft to engage a small group of students who came to me for literacy support. Minecraft was the ideal game to let their imaginations and writing abilities go wild. From strategy guides to avoiding Creepers to documenting their scientific inquiry into the results of lava-water collisions, the results were impressive. I had to do it again. But this time, I really wanted to put the multiplayer into the game. This time, I’d have one new world but 30 students, from across 3 different schools: A Multi-School Minecraft Server.
I was going to need some help. Thankfully there were plenty of good people around to add their much-needed wisdom. First up was Diana Maliszewski, gamer, award-winning teacher-librarian, blogger, tweeter, wikier and much more. Diana brought along Denise Colby, a fantastic teacher-librarian (now Literacy Co-ordinator) with the TDSB and a hardcore gamer in her own right. While neither had played Minecraft, they were both eager to try it out for themselves and their students. They agreed a multi-school server could be fun, so I put together a test server for us to play on and the GamingEdus Server was born. We even created the GamingEdus wiki to document our early plans and discoveries.
The idea for the multi-school server was taking shape: We would have 3 schools all playing and building on 1 shared world. Each school would run an after school Minecraft Club, where 5 – 10 students would meet once a week to play and document their findings in a wiki shared by all three schools. From time to time, all three schools would meet in world for shared building activities. We put together a proposal (.pdf), pitched it to our principals and they agreed.
The final step was to find hosting for our server and we are honoured to have that come from the fine people at the Experiential Design and Gaming Environments (EDGE) Lab at Ryerson University. They have graciously offered us server space and bandwidth for the duration of the project.
With all our pieces in place, we are excited to get started to say the least. Our aim is to have the clubs started within the next week or so. After that, the fun and the learning is all up to the players.
I can’t see what they create, destroy, build, blowup and learn!