November 5th, 2014 By colingally Categories: Minechat, Minecraft

I was delighted to be able to schedule a Minechat with most of the authors involved with our “Minecraft in the Classroom” book. Special mention to David Lee, James York, and Dan Bloom who couldn’t make it. Thanks to Stephen, Adam, Eric, Shane, and John.

Don’t forget you can get 35% off the Minecraft in the Classroom book by using the code MINECLASS on the Peachpit Website.

I also have a code for a free digital copy of the book if you tweet out the book and website link! Winner will be chosen at random.

 

More Minechats coming soon…

October 24th, 2014 By colingally Categories: Minecraft

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Available at PeachPit Press and Amazon amongst others.

Well, it’s been a long time coming and probably the worst kept secret around the Minecraft in education community but our book on Minecraft is just about to be published/available!

From the time Cliff at Peachpit Press contacted me back in March 2014 it’s been a whirlwind of planning, getting in touch with some fantastic teachers around the world and getting them on board, editing, editing, and more editing (thank you Robyn for your guidance!). My respect for authors has grown exponentially.

This all wouldn’t have been possible without the willingness and openness teachers around the world have with regarding sharing what they are doing in Minecraft and it all stemmed from my Minechat series on Youtube.

Thank you Shane, Dan, André, Adam, Stephen, David, John, Eric, and James. Thank you to Robyn, again, for the momentous task of editing all the chapters from people in many many timezones! And thanks to Cliff for getting it all kickstarted.

If you’ve read this far congratulations and have a reward! I can get you 35% off the book, just DM me on Twitter @colingally

October 10th, 2014 By colingally Categories: Minechat, Minecraft

It’s been a while since I last dived in to another teacher’s Minecraft world!

Thankfully James York has been constantly evolving his kotobaminers.org Minecraft server to expand upon his language learning experiences. His most recent addition is to create a quests area where NPCs are dotted around an area asking questions (in Japanese) and giving quests.

James is leading the way with innovative uses of Minecraft and language learning. Put your feet up and watch what he’s getting up to.

 

October 1st, 2014 By colingally Categories: Procrastination

I’m just finishing up my second week back at work since coming home from a fantastic week  at ICS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
I don’t know if you have ever been away from school for a week with a solid focus on best practice…but it’s really hard to get back in to the swing of things at everyday work. Call it jet-lag or call it something else. It’s jarring to the senses.

Learning 2.0 Africa

From getting off the plane this conference was the model of organization and support. Being part of the leadership team I had had many months of communication before the conference dates and everything was smooth sailing once in Addis Ababa. Kudos to John Iglar and team.

We spent roughly two days together planning and prepping before the attendees arrived for the main conference.

I want to talk about the major challenging aspect for me in these two days. As a Learning2 leader, you must conduct two 3-hour workshops, a mini-keynote called a Learning2 Talk, and a condensed 1 hour session of the 3 hour workshop. You are kept busy!
It was the preparation of the Learning2 Talk that changed my approach to public speaking. I never thought I would come away from a conference with any advancement in my public speaking abilities! I usually create slides to prompt me and get on with it. I never structure anything too much. It has worked in the past…*cough* TEDx *cough*

So firstly, you are required to run through your Learning2 talk before the organizing committee; the very lovely people that are Simon May, Madeleine Broookes, and Kim Cofino. I was my usual casual and rambling self with a little bit of dry humor thrown in for good measure. Feedback was mostly positive but a few notes to structure more and to, perhaps, tone down some commentary that might offend certain teachers(!) I agreed and went away to structure some more.
The next day we ran through a sound check of our Learning2 talk in the main hall with about 6 people there. I bombed. It was brutal. I searched for the words, and the delivery of the talk was all over the place. Simon noted that I had lost the humor from the previous day amongst other things. Kim and Madeleine said not to worry as it’s hard to get a vibe from an empty hall. It would be fine the next day. I had lost something in my half baked structuring of my presentation. I was caught in the middle of casual presentation and scripted monologue.

I had a pretty restless day and night. I came away from that second rehearsal adamant that I would know the structure of what I was going to say on each of my slides. I stayed up way too late reading through a script of sorts and I kept adding things I thought were either humorous or funny or somewhat informational. The presentation ended up being way more structured than I had ever done before.

The following morning I was the last of 4 presenters. To say I was confident of what I was going to say would be a lie. I had experienced this previously speaking at TEDx when I knew I knew what I was talking about but my brain just couldn’t get going until up on the stage. I began to trust myself and keep calm.

I got up on to the stage and it all melded together well. I remember talking about something on stage and thinking to myself at the same time “Yeah, this is good, this is going well”. The jokes were right, and the content was pretty solid (not world changing). Nothing high brow but relative enough for the audience that was there. I had a lot of people come to me during the conference to say how much they enjoyed it. Which was nice.

My formula for any presentation from now on will follow these guidelines*:

  • Plan to a point; but plan for your own voice to be heard above the script.
  • Integrate feedback in my preparation for my presentation.
  • Involve humor but assess the crowd for type of humor that will work.
  • Pay attention to wording. Amend, revise, and sound the sentences out.
  • It’s okay to be nervous. Use it. Invite it in. It sparks some reactions that may work for you.
  • Be yourself; don’t change once you get up in front of a group of people.

Here’s my talk:

 

*probably

May 26th, 2014 By colingally Categories: About Me, Minechat, Minecraft

Yowsa, time flies and all that. The last batch of Minechats I uploaded here on my blog went up to Episode 22. We are now up to Episode 25! With Episode 26 being filmed (on location!) this week.

So whats new in Minecraft world? Well, the entire country of Denmark was created recently. And was promptly attacked and vandalized by..the kind of people who do this type of thing week in and week out around the world on Minecraft servers. I wonder what mass vandalization of a country is called?! It’s less than war but still destructive…hmmmm…

I’ve been busy using Minecraft with our Grade 1 and 2 students within their respective curriculum units but I will write up another post about that soon. I have to think about that one. It was fun though, I will say that!

I will be presenting at the Digital Education Show Asia in Kuala Lumpur at the end of May. I’ll be hosting a round table with Adam Clarke about Minecraft  in education and also presenting on how we leverage Google Apps for student portfolios at my current school. Come September, I will be making my first foray into Africa with the Learning 2.014 Africa conference. There I will be leading an extended session on Minecraft in education (or actually two of them I think).

Anyway, on to the Minechats we have to catch up on!

Minechat Episode 23: John Miller
John has a great project going on in his school. His students learn about the Tang Dynasty and so what better than to learn about it creating appropriate ancient Chinese buildings in a Tang Dynasty Minecraft world. Adding on to that, students place information blocks outside each dwelling describing life inside and outside the building. Really engaging, really appropriate, and really relevant.

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Minechat Episode 24: Nick Patsianas et al

Nick is a Grade 11 student in Australia who got his STATE’s Department of Education to open Minecraft for every school! He saw the need for teachers to learn about how to use Minecraft in education and has built a world to talk with and teach teachers.
We were joined by two of those teachers; Suzie Feodoroff and Vivienne Tuckerman.
Nick is a fine example of a self-directed and passionate young adult who enjoys nothing better than showing off what he loves to do.

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Minechat Episoe 25: Andre Chercka

Andre is a teacher based in Denmark who uses Minecraft in teaching with special needs students. It was really great to see and hear what Andre was doing.

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Mincehat Episode 26: David Lee

David Lee has started out his Minecraft in Education adventure by using Minecraft PE on iPads (we’ll hear more about that in the future I’m sure) but now he has made a world in regular old Minecraft.

His world is made to help teachers understand and learn about Minecraft. His world also has a recreation of a project he undertook with Minecraft PE about volcanoes and layers of the earth. He also has a electronic circuit area where he runs an after school club.

 

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