29 Jun 2016

Developing Citizenship Through Minecraft

I have just finished the second term of Minecraft for developing citizenship with my 3 year 9 Social Studies Classes.  Each class had about 12 eighty minute periods over the two terms engaging with their classes Minecraft world.
Spawn Tower



The basic ideas I followed were different in Term one and Term two.  Term one was a world without order for all the classes, they got to go and do whatever they wanted with the directive of develop and explore your citizenship skills. Two specific aspects of the gameplay became big issues for the community here the first was the aspect of killing another class members player and stealing their inventory and send them back to the start tower. The second was the ability to change your name at a whim and become anonymous in your actions.  In Term two I did three different things one for each class.



  • With Alpha I pursued inquiry in the form of looking into the issues and problems the community was facing with a goal to solve them.
  • With Bravo I took them into a new world where I had set up a Capture The Flag game and split the class in two.
  • With Charlie I facilitated a discussion around vision and the sort of community they wanted to have.


Overall the feedback from the students and what I observed was that the total freedom in Term 1 produced a very chaotic community that was difficult and frustrating to be a part of.  However there were some good reflective comments that came from the students during this time.  They were dealing with issues of mindless vandalism, gangs, wealth to the powerful, poverty, theft, privacy issues, etc, and they couldn’t see a way forward to a positive community.  Well the ones in the gang could and they couldn’t wait to get power over the whole world.  It was incredible to see how quickly and naturally some students slipped into this world view.

Student Reflection
In the game me and a few friends decided to make a group. Our name was YOZA group. We made the group so we could recognise us all as one community. I was outlaw_yoza. We created a group headquarters where we could meet and do stuff like that. We were so dominant that other people started stealing names or naming themselves EC_yoza or psyosa and tried to join or tried to kill us so we changed our name to power and called the house power house. We are the most dominant group in the game and we wrecked people.  We made our own community to smartly outdo the opponents and create peace in a small section in our world. I learned the work of team work and working together so much that we became the best group in school.  We could build more bases and expand our land until we have so much that everyone will listen to powers commands and we could create a community.  Teaming up is not challenging at all the only challenging thing is that some people might not pull their weight and might betray the team.  A message to anybody in 9B or the school. If you think your group or yourself can take us on come to power house and we can arrange something to happen (?v8) because we are the best in the whole school and you don't sand a chance so try us.  Im making this statement to prove we are the best POWER HOUSE!!


For more detail and student reflections check out my reflection on how Term 1 went in this post. Minecraft - World Without Order.

For the really keen check out my posts from the first three sessions and how the Minecraft World Without Order began.
Session One
Session Two
Session Three


Each class had a different experience in Term 2.  Ill talk about them each separately in more detail now.


Alpha had a great inquiry in issues such as, theft, privacy, big group management, community events, and identity theft.  Their inquiry involved identifying the problem and researching real world examples of this problem and how people have solved it.  They did this alongside continuing to experience the world as it was.  This resulted in some great in depth inquiry and less time to apply their learning as the inquiries took most of the term to complete and then present to the class.


Bravo had a super fun and engaging time play Capture the Flag (CTF).  The had several periods to build defences and gather resources for the battle.  Then the actual game took about 30 min before a team won.  Their outcomes were very controlled and predetermined.  They talked in their reflections about teamwork, roles, doing their part, etc.  While this was a great context the learning outcomes were controlled by the rules of the games and the freedom to make genuine life reflecting choices was limited.

Charlie was the best example I thought.  We spent one big lesson and couple of small reviews after developing what was essentially a treaty about what sort of community they wanted and what sort of culture they wanted.  They wanted a town with the normal town stuff in it, shops, houses, church, jail.  Their culture they wanted was the really good discussion.  Here they talked about government and democracy vs dictatorship, they talked about roles and responsibilities, and privacy and right.  They created their own laws and the consequences that go with that.  All this stuff is what Alpha did as well and probably more in depth through the inquiry but Alpha didn’t really get the chance to implement their treaty and develop it and use it.  It is the application of this that I feel the real development of citizenship comes from.



Overall Term 2 was a far richer learning experience for the students.  I put this down to including the element of Purpose in each world.  This came from my reflection on my practice when developing my curriculum for 2016 read that post from the start of the year. What Would Students Do If They Could Learn Anything?  When reflecting on Term 1, in preparation for Term 2, I identified this element that may have been lacking and hence the plans for Term 2 arose.  With purpose being created in each class their focus changed and so did their behaviour and actions and the results of that were communities that were far more positive and collaborative.  It put the power in the hands of the students.

Some of the best examples of Student Reflections From Term 2

I learnt from this Minecraft session you have to be organised and know what you need to get done ( I struggled with that for working on my shop). I can use this in later life or in anything I need to do in the future like for example if I have an assignment due I can plan out how I want it and what I need to do which will help me with getting it done.

I learnt that helping people is easier and is good because you get the job done faster and you might get a treat from them. I learnt how to build a awesome as house that is big enough for 5 people.

I learned that if you are having problems with something you should have a talk with the people involved and make an agreement which makes things better. I can apply this to my everyday life by making a treaty in my cabin that everyone agrees with.

I also learnt that it is good to follow the treaty and rules that we have done because if you don't there could be major consequences coming your way.

The treaty does work however, but there are times when the police are fighting a losing war, they need more power so that they can defend the normal people. This is a useful thing to know because as a community, we have to be able to ensure that we can keep the peace. We can't always rely on cops, we have to rely on each other as well.

Minecraft may just be a game, but it helped me develop my perseverance and motivated me to keep going.

Minecraft has helped me realise that if you have a big group of people everyone has to cooperate with one another to get something done without it taking a long period of time.

One of the important skills I have learnt was sharing and teamwork because it shows us in minecraft and the real world that when we help each other we can achieve a lot more than working by ourself.

I also learnt that when you are in a team you wait for the whole team not just go when ur ready because that's what I did and I got killed from it.

I learnt that I am making some strong relationship in my class and the more time I spend with them time with them better they will become.

I've learnt to just go straight away with the job like just do the job and mucking around can come later because of you start the job straight away your more likely to finish

No comments:

Post a Comment